Ecumenism is something that I hold dear. The ways that Christians can learn from one another by way of really different practices are powerful and hold such potential for growth and dialogue (which is important when we remember that we are all seeking the same end goal). Though raised Catholic, my childhood and young adulthood were heavily influenced by evangelical Christians who continue to inspire me in their prayer lives, witness and readiness to engage in conversation with others. I love the richness of each relationship with God that I witness. It's a beautiful thing to behold and I hope that I have adopted at least some of these characteristics.
I make no secret of the fact that years ago I nearly left the Catholic church for some of the reasons mentioned earlier--evangelical Christians are compelling (and invitatory)! However, I was wisely challenged by more than one person to truly engage the faith I was ready to scrap before making this decision. As a 'cradle Catholic,' I had not engaged the practice of my faith or traditions of my church.
I was called out.
This last ditch effort of rediscovery was likely the most important investment of my time or my heart that I have made to date as it re-directed my life. I went to Mass, prayed, read books, went to talks, set up meetings with our priest to ask the questions that challenged me. I dug into the required Theology classes, even minored in it. I was catching up for years of not paying attention, or simply getting a taste of what being one of the engaged faithful might feel like.
There is more reason for inter-faith dialogue today that I ever realized at the time of my rediscovery of the Church. Certainly our relationships with those of other denominations can build us up and help us to be more knowledgeable about one another, but these relationships also serve to break down barriers--and stereotypes. We need each other and there is real richness when we accept that--despite that nagging impulse to do it on our own.
Oh, how we need each other!
I am reminded of this constantly-- in my newish role as a stay at home mom and the network of other SAHMs in my world, I was reminded of this when I saw the multitude of reasons women marched today, I am reminded of this when I help with a women's group downtown, when my kiddos are digging into something new, and when I relax into the chair of my spiritual director's office to sort through the significance of the gifts and challenges I have been handed.
I'm going to let my Catholicism show a bit today and offer this gem that I have come to treasure especially as of late--the book of Wisdom (part of the Apocrypha--seven additional books included in the Catholic Canon). I have come to treasure its words because they are balm to my spirit and, in my experience it would be a foolish thing to ignore anything having to do with wisdom.
When the world seems to be turned on its head, I sit with these words, pour over them and let them nourish me.
Maybe you marched today, maybe you are feeling at a loss while discerning a difficult decision, perhaps you are feeling lost, maybe you're angry/lonesome/anxious/frightened about something, or thrilled for a new opportunity. On the vigil of this Sabbath day, I invite you to sit with these words and see if they don't resonate with you in your heart of hearts.