As I work on mapping out common objections to the Faith that were outlined in my last post, My Priest, My Coach, I wanted to reflect on something that caught my attention. In my own faith walk, I’ve always been drawn to something we believe in, that we are all part of one Body. The Body of Christ. As a Paul fanatic, 1Corinthians 12:12-27 jumps out at me. Let’s examine:
As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit. Now the Body is not a single part, but many. If a foot should say, “Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body,” it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. Or if an ear should say, “Because I am not an eye I do not belong to the body,” it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended. If they were all one part, where would the body be? But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I do not need you.” Indeed, the parts of the body that seem weaker are all the more necessary, and those parts of the body that we consider less honorable we surround with greater honor, and our less presentable parts are treated with greater propriety, whereas our more presentable parts do not need this. But God has so constructed the body as to give greater honor to a part that is without it, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same concern for one another. If (one) part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy. Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it.
I have a genuine and sincere love for St. Paul. He was not afraid to say things and yet, they are truly rooted in the love that Christ has for us all. This particular passage from Scripture really highlights our need to recognize that we are all different and that’s a good thing. Considering the unique nature of our faith walk, I think it’s fair to say that we needn’t look to others as a measure of where we are. At least, not through the secular lens of “keeping up with the Joneses.” God has us where He wants us for a reason. If our faith is rooted in sincerity and an earnest desire to do God’s Will, we have to trust God to help us let go of that desire to be like “others.”
Personally, I think it can be a good thing to have a spiritual “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality when we look to others, particularly when it inspires us to do more in areas where we are lacking. Rather than succumbing to the secular and empty pressure of “keeping up with the Joneses,” we can use the talents that God has given us, the examples of authentic Catholic living in the friends we make and use those two to strengthen us in our Faith, while retaining our individual personalities.
Once we recognize that our walks are all very different, no matter how many shared paths we have with other friends in the Faith, we can embrace where we are, and use those friendships to elevate our own spiritual walk.
So, if you ever feel like you are “less” than someone else who appears to be “more,” keep in mind that appearances are just that. Appearances. And always remember that God has you where you are for a reason.