These pages, which are "about my church" are usually reserved for excerpts from publications, my comments and thoughts or both. However the following was sent to me and I know I could not have said it better myself. It is the thoughts of a high school senior. I shall tell you something about him after you read his thoughts on the subject.
Grandpa Don 12/29/2005
What is the Role of a Catholic in Society?
The word Catholic means universal so we have the awesome responsibility to transform the world in Christ and through Christ. Every step we take and every word we speak should reflect God in some way, shape or form. We are called to mirror Christ as there are many people in society who do not know God and His infinite love and mercy as revealed in Jesus Christ. There are many reasons why some remain unchurched and not connected with a faith community of believers. One can never assume that being unchurched implies not having faith in God. In some cases, they were never taught about God throughout their formative years. It is a definite challenge to grasp the concept of a loving Father when one has never experienced the human love of a father or mother. Some say that they blame God for tragedies and unfortunate incidents that happened in the past. They seem never to have moved beyond that stage.
As a Catholic, our faith in God makes the unbearable pain bearable. Blessed John Paul II was a living witness to the fact that although God does not cause sickness, we all share the suffering and sickness with Christ and can offer it up for the salvation of souls, which enables us to draw closer to Christ.
Although some people claim they are Catholic, they do not go to church because they say they do not have time or they apparently have more important things to do. Even though they profess to believe in God, they seem to have forgotten that it is not what you say but what you do that counts. There is no place for being indifferent in practicing our faith. In the Bible, we are told God will spit us out of His mouth if we are lukewarm in our commitment as His disciples and followers. God loves each one of us unconditionally and this is the source of our strength and hope for things yet unseen.
As Catholics who are growing in our faith, we are called to reach out to others who do not know God by witnessing, evangelizing and teaching. Yet one cannot evangelize unless one has already been evangelized. Catholics are blessed to know God as their Lord and Savior but of what value is our faith, if we do not express it? For example, if the late Albert Einstein decided to hide the gift of his intelligence and bury it deep within the depths of his mind, imagine the consequences. We may never have advanced as far in math and science without his knowledge, and a brilliant mind and life would have been wasted. What if the most valuable basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan never learned the importance of passing the ball to teammates? In a similar way, we should never be ashamed to pass on the gift of our faith or consider hiding it under a basket. We need to show the world for the sake of all humanity so that others may also gain the reward of eternal salvation. In sacred Scripture, we are reminded that if we choose not to help those who are spiritually lost, then we will be held accountable for both our sins of omission and commission. To whom much is given in terms of talents, resources and gifts, much is expected.
Being a Catholic is so much more than simply being a warm body at the end of the pew on the weekend, receiving the Sacraments and reaching out to others in need. It also involves having a deep, personal relationship with God in our hearts, mind and soul. It means surrendering and giving our lives and offering everything we treasure into God’s hands and allowing Him to use us as an instrument of healing, peace and reconciliation. Daily, it involves praying: “Lord, whatever You want me to do, I will do”.
Throughout our lives, it is only human that we will make friends and inevitably some enemies along the way. As Catholics, we should always forgive others for what they have done to harm us and not hold anything against them. In Mathew 6:15, we are reminded: "But if you do not forgive others for their sins, your Father in heaven will not forgive your sins".
Therefore, we are called not to be just another faceless person in the crowd in expressing our Catholic faith. Instead, we need to step out in faith trusting God that we may be the only Bible someone will ever read. Use words only when necessary and be transparent so that others may clearly see Christ within us. The late Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta humbly saw herself as but a pencil in the hand of God and that is both our model and inspiration as Catholics in society.
I live my Catholic faith by praying daily, reading scripture and applying it to everyday life, receiving the sacraments and attending Mass on a regular basis, studying the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church, and practicing the moral teachings of the Catholic Church. As a teenager, I am involved in a parish youth group, participated in the D.R.E.A.M.S.’ project at St. Mary’s Catholic Secondary School by building two homes for poor families in the remote mountains of the Dominican Republic, and attended the life changing ‘March for Life’ conference in Ottawa this past month. In addition, I write poetry and songs in a musical band, which spreads the gospel message. I am not afraid to stand up and be counted for my faith in season and out of season.
As a Catholic in society, I recognize the importance of leaving all judging to God who is the author of life:
Join Hands Together
Don’t judge for what’s on the outside.
Look inside for what is within.
Don’t judge me for the language,
Or the color of my skin.
Just because I am different,
It doesn’t make me bad.
Because on the inside,
I am the same as you and for that,
You should be glad.
So don’t treat me as your enemy—
Treat me as your friend,
Because we can have a friendship
That never comes to an end.
Hate is a waste,
And should be thrown away.
I hope the world will come to realize this.
Join hands together and say:
“Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those
Who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
Don Hall (Father) , Anthony Hall,
Maureen Hall, Anthony Hall,
Andrew Hall ,
Andrew Hall's words speak as much about himself as they do about the Role of a Catholic in Society and that is well because he is a witness to his faith. Such zeal is not usual in a teen but it is not new to him. One of his poems was sent to me when he was 15 years old. It has been on this web site since then and can be found at A Love One's Touch . As you may note by my comments on that page I was as impressed with him than, as I am now.
Andrew's father and I have started an email correspondence. He has sent additional poetry, information and some photos. I plan to add more of Andrew Hall on these pages from time to time. He would like to publish some of his poems so if you know of a publisher who may be interested let us know.
Although, as I said above, such zeal is not usual in a teen, I must say that I am impressed by the high values and spirituality seen in many teens. This is in evidence in my parish and in my family as well as many other places. Teens are more disposed to demonstrate their spirituality than many older adults. I hope that these teens will carry their convictions with them all their lives.
Grandpa Don 12/29/2005
This is not so much about St. Julie Billiart parish, but about the NEW Catholic Church. It may not seem new to my children and definitely not new to my grandchildren but it is no longer the same church that I grew up in and did not understand during that time. It is new and dedicated to Jesus as a result of the Vatican II council of bishops.
What is the Role of a Catholic in Society?
Andrew Hall, 2005
World of Grandpa Don