The more I walk, the more I realise that the Christian faith is about communion. Not necessarily in the sense of bread and wine but rather in the sense of relationship. What that means has been amplified for me by my current situation. I realise that we are not just in communion with those we choose but rather those God chooses. When we gather around the table we don’t do it as individuals but rather as the Body of Christ. I commune with God whilst I commune with you… and you commune with God whilst you commune with me.
Now that doesn’t mean we always agree. It doesn’t even mean we have to like each other. What it does mean is that we have to love each other. Not in a smoochy type manner. Now in the manner of “I love…” meaning “I think X is a sinner and going to hell so therefore I love him/her…” To love is not something that a condition can be placed upon. To love is ‘as is’.
So here I am as a guy with an evangelical heritage asking questions about what it means to be catholic. For the answer I have to agree with a wiser older man who comes from a much more catholic background than I who defined the term as this:
Catholic doesn’t mean being ‘high church’ it means something much more fundamental – I believe that Jesus is alive and working through the whole of the church and I need to be attentive to and listen to the whole of it! You can’t do this if you are sectarian!
Being sectarian doesn’t value those with whom we are in communion. It elevates our own opinion to a station above others who are in communion with God. This is not conducive to the common life as a corporate “Body of Christ”.
He also went on to say something about how this plays out in the common life as we relate to each other in community. Something highly important. Something fundamental to loving those in whom you are in communion!
Common life is putting a new loo roll on and pulling it ready for the next person.