Goodness, discipline and knowledge

By  Patrick Colangelo, Catholic Register Special
  • February 8, 2009
{mosimage}Editor’s note: this is one of four honorary mentions for the Friars Student Writing Award contest sponsored by the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement and The Catholic Register. Patrick Colangelo, 16, is a Grade 11 student at St. Michael’s College School in Toronto.

Throughout the ages, Christians have been subjected to anguish, affliction and adversity at the hands of autocrats as a result of their faith and devotion in Christ. These martyrs of the faith are worthy of praise and recognition for their valour, pertinacity and fortitude during these despondent times.

But salvation history has also revealed to us many efficacious eras for the church as well. From the leadership of the Apostles to the resolve of their catechumens, from the discipline of the missionaries to the will power of the  evangelists, from the guidance of the clergy to the obedience of its laymen and laywomen — the church has always been a wellspring for goodness and a mainspring for social justice.

But as we now evaluate the Catholic Church’s past as members of its present state, we can discern one palpable disparity that has emerged over the years — Christian unity.

Through our diverse doctrines, divergent beliefs and dissonant traditions, we have come to be regarded as a multitude of Christian denominations. But we need not despair over our flagrant dissimilitude. Love for one another, manifested in the form of discourse and dialogue, is the answer to our disunity and Pope Benedict XVI has been a shining example of this notion through his travels in the past. From Germany to Turkey, from Spain to Poland, from Austria to Brazil, and from Australia to France — Pope Benedict has united people all over the world into a union of love through his divine discourse and spiritual dialogue.

As followers of the faith we all share a common unity in our love for Jesus Christ and His infallible and unremitting love for us. As said in the Bible, “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16). Truly and simply, Christian unity will only be achieved when Christians become agents of goodness, discipline and knowledge, spreading their message of love to the four corners of the Earth.

Patience, tolerance and compassion are the traits we must possess in order to take the first step toward Christian unity. Catholics, Baptists and Lutherans, to name a few, must find each other through appreciation for one another and these sentiments can only be expressed through cordial words and charitable deeds.

It is made apparent through Scripture that we are called by God to enter into a fellowship free of bigotry, intolerance and ultimately disharmony: “That they may be one in your hand” (Ezekiel 37.17). In this biblical passage, God is calling on us to join hands in unanimity, putting aside our differences to walk together as one unified body in our voyage to our transcendent and imminent Lord God.

And so we now arrive at the dilemma of where to start. This massive undertaking need not be a stressful task, but one carried out with passion, dedication and altruism. In the words of Mother Teresa, a contemporary hero for Christian unity, “Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.”

Expressing unity in our rich diversity is the ultimate ennoblement for us as Christians. It is only through our commitment to love our brothers and sisters regardless of our disparities, that we may take the first step towards concord within the many Christian denominations of our day and age.

In our endeavours to achieve Christian unity we must commit to memory the fact that kind words can be effortless to articulate, but their echoes are truly endless.

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