By Juliana Valdez
At some point or another throughout our lives, we see ourselves in different roles. These roles change from time to time and can take the form of characters of fantasy in the land of make believe, where we are superheroes, villains, aristocrats, rulers of countries or powerful leaders with the wherewithal to bring about change that would make a difference in the lives of others.
Some of these fantasies may be meaningful while others can also be downright hilarious!
Sharing these thoughts with some friends, we had a riotous time laughing at the images these fantasies provoked, but the commonality among us, regardless of the costuming of the particular role, was that we all saw ourselves as agents of positivity, changing the landscape in the areas of moral and spiritual values in our society.
All this came about after I viewed EWTN’s Mother Angelica Live Classics. She shared with her live audience and viewers, a birthday card she received from a viewer.
It featured a drawbridge, moat, and a knight in shining armour whose helmet flap, when lifted, revealed the face of Mother Angelica. She stood there guarding the entrance with lance in hand and the words in the greeting said, “Joust to wish you a Happy Birthday!”.
She was quite captivated by the card and in sharing it with sisters in the convent, she asked them what costume they thought she would wear in Heaven and they all agreed on a suit of armour. This she said she didn’t mind because she saw herself as a defender of the traditions and teachings of the Church.
Daily we face the reality of many crises we face as “Church”. What is our response? How do we defend this faith which we profess as followers of Christ Jesus in this One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church?
Our basic Catholic doctrine defines for us the importance of living lives as we are called to do by our witness. In so doing, we are all placed in the role of defenders, trusting that it will be the encouragement and motivation needed by those seeking to draw closer to God.
Ephesians 4:1–2 reminds us, that our life’s vocation as followers of Christ should be to be obedient to His statutes and commands to live in love with peace, kindness, compassion and selflessness. This then is our way of being the defenders of the faith since in obedience, we are practicing daily what we believe.
In the Gospel of St Luke, 9:26, we are reminded quite clearly about what our reward will be both as defenders and non-defenders of our faith in Christ Jesus. I shudder to think of the consequences of being in the category which Jesus further speaks about in Luke 10:23, and like Mother Angelica, we should all choose to be gatherers rather than those who scatter.
The challenges we face daily are not easy, but the question remains, where do we see ourselves in the whole scheme of things? Are we defenders of the traditions and teachings of the Church or do we find ourselves giving in to the misinformation and distortions of the truth that confront us?
Admittedly, there are many dark clouds hovering over the Church, clouds of uncertainty, doubts, fears and other unresolved issues, but we need to prayerfully seek the answers. As Fr Alexander, one of our priests who visits our parish from Grenada from time to time always reminds us, someone who does not profess our Catholic faith cannot give us the answers we seek about our Church. We continue to be loyal.