A "Safe Place" is not a Spirituality of Communion

Above image was found at Word on Fire website: prayergraphics.com

     Probably the single most quoted or paraphrased line from scripture during the pontificate of St. John Paul II, was “Go out into the deep” (Luke 5:4). From 1978 to 2005, St. John Paul II reminded us as fishers of men that we needed to “go out into the deep.”  I believe this was another way to explain what he meant by “New Evangelization”. 

     It is not for the clergy and religious to be fishers of men, but all Christians. This is not new to Christianity but a rejuvenation of what Christians are to do.  As laity, we are called to the apostolate and fish for fellow men and to bring them to Our Lord. When we hear the phrase “Go out into the deep,” images, not of safe places, but rather treacherous and dangerous ones come to mind. Consider a child when he hears the phrase. He correlates it to leaving the shallow water and going into the deep--where the diving board is!

     What is it that we find in Jesus Christ, in the Church and in our Faith, that we want to share with others?  In describing a spirituality of communion, St. John Paul II states, "A spirituality of communion indicates above all the heart’s contemplation of the mystery of the Trinity dwelling in us, and whose light we must also be able to see shining on the face of the brothers and sisters around us” (Novo Millennio Ineunte, #43). 

     Connecting this line of thought with the title of post, living a spirituality of communion is not a “safe place” as it is not guaranteed that your family, friends, and colleagues at work desire to contemplate the Trinity in everyday life.  But we are the face that they will see the mystery of the Trinity.  It is not in the overt discussion of faith or moral issues that is in our everyday conversations, but rather smaller actions and words, such as how we answer the phone when our spouse calls, leaving work to meet the family, or in attending your child’s extracurricular activity. This is not to be that overly jubilant person who is always outgoing, but rather the one whose interior centeredness presents a joy-filled smile and focus toward whatever task is in front of us.

 

     The “safe place” to be a Christian in the office is more than being alone in a small room for a prayer group, Bible study or catechism group prior to walking into your office. But to be fully Christian is to live with Christ in our hearts and minds as we meet a deadline or have a discussion about opposing or conflicting ideas on a project with a team.  Our work place, our classroom, and our homes are the places we are called to “Go out into the deep.” 

     Some may ponder this closest to us as the shallow and not the deep. Another way to think about this is when we try something new. Sometimes we avoid those closest to us because they may not like or agree with us. However, once we master living out our faith, we do not avoid others but intentionally build them up, thus “the deep” becomes the shallow. We expand our influence embracing and not rejecting others as we befriend or work with them on a project at school or the office.

     Catholic schools who are forming students as St. John Paul II states, "Before making practical plans, we need to promote a spirituality of communion, making it the guiding principle of education wherever individuals and Christians are formed…” (Novo Millennio Ineunte, #43).  A spirituality of communion should be imbedded in the culture of the school. 

     What other schools, beside Ozark Catholic Academy, offer such a unique foundation and pillar of its culture?  Pray for our opening.  Volunteer for our events and committees- Admissions and Development. Financially support our endeavor.  Send your child as a founding student.  It will be a challenging experience but one in which students will have the opportunity to build an individual relationship with Christ and life-long friendships, all while preparing to be successful in their next steps in life—college, family, and work.