Anastasia Holleman

My identity is defined in Christ

By  Anastasia Holleman, Youth Speak News
  • February 27, 2015

“What are you?”

That is a great question — and it is not one that I am asked much. Honestly, I am glad people do not ask this of me often, because I rarely know what people want to know when they ask.

I am a Roman Catholic by the name of Anastasia (pronounced with short “a” sounds on all “a’s,” even the third one). I am a Polish Dutch English-Canadian, a 19-year-old, a university student, a (student) journalist, a feminist, a woman and a whole other long list of things.

These are all important aspects of my identity. Indeed, many people can attest to how sanctimonious I can get when people get one of these elements wrong — usually when I’ve explained that element already. However, apart from the title of “Catholic,” I don’t feel that any one of these titles or labels can define me.

In his letter to the Galatians, St. Paul says: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). This encapsulates the Catholic life: regardless of who you are, you belong to God.

This is not to say that other elements of identity are not important. In his other Epistles, St. Paul describes particular roles for particular people, such as his instructions to husbands and to wives in Ephesians. What the verse from Galatians appears to mean is everything earthly is nothing in comparison to Christ. It does not matter if a person is a man or a woman. One’s state in life does not stop one from serving God.

Granted, a certain role that a person takes on can modify the way they serve God and His Church. For example, my tasks and duties as a writer for Youth Speak News are often different than my tasks and duties as a writer for my university newspaper. I am able to serve God in both states though.

Defining a person by earthly labels is limiting. Even if a person can be described using a list of words longer than his or her arm, it is still bound to be limiting. The things of the world are finite and changing, and a desire to be encompassed by the finite will inevitably leave a person wrung out and unsure of himself or herself.

However, God is infinite. People, by nature, are turned toward the divine, to the infinite. When people realize that Christ can give the sense of identity that the world cannot, these people will run to Christ and embrace Him and His Church.

This is why I embrace my Catholicism above all other parts of my identity. Other titles and labels will pass away with the world. God, on the other hand, will never die, and He will never change.

Our identities in God are stable in an ever-changing world.

(Holleman, 19, is a second-year student at MacEwan University in Edmonton.)

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