So often when Dennis and I are standing in front of our ninth-grade faith formation class, our goal is to not only teach our students the truths of our faith but to show them that the Church is more than its teachings, more than its buildings, more than what most of us imagine it to be.
For too many of us, Church becomes something belonging to someone else, a place we visit but don’t always choose to live. When we start to see Church not as a location but a state of heart and mind, that’s where transformation begins.
This past week Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany had a great column that tackled that very subject in such a beautiful way.
The link to the full column is at the bottom of this post, but here’s one of my favorite quotes:
…We might say that the Church is not so much a place that people come to as a way of being who we are. If we are truly the mystical Body of Christ — and that is what “Church” means, in its most fundamental way of being — then the Church is really a crystal cathedral, not a stone fortress, where the walls are transparent and our hearts go out to neighbors, since the Spirit of God cannot be locked in a chest or mummified in a museum.
Yes, the Church is all of the above — and more. Yet, it is none of the above completely or exclusively. No description or experience of it can completely exhaust the meaning of the mystery. We are always on the way of getting there and we are always more than what we seem to be at any point in time, for Jesus is always with us, within us and around us.
Isn’t that a great description? Very Thomas Merton-esque, and that’s always a good thing in my book. Click HERE to read the entire column. What does Church mean to you?