By Sam Aitchison
The Church is Alive!
It is 6 a.m. and the alarm clock goes off. I head to the gym for a quick workout, grab a cup of coffee and breakfast and get ready for the day. By 8 a.m., classes start, emails begin pouring in, assignments pile up and task lists seem to grow. Once again, I feel as if I am “digging out of a hole” from a multitude of things that must be attended to and completed during a day.
Does anyone else feel this way? A lack of control over the day, feeling constantly busy and, although many things are enjoyable, they seem like tasks to be checked off the list? This is my reality, daily! It wasn’t until a few weeks ago, in one of my theology classes, “Catholic Intellectual Heritage in the 1st Millennia,” that I better understood how to approach my days.
We were learning about the Bible in the early Christian world and the early Christians’ understanding of Scripture. They believed the Bible was the living word of God, during a time when the secular world around them viewed Christianity as convoluted and unnecessary. After the persecution of Christians ended in the 4th century, the affluent Greco-Roman cultures perceived the humbleness and simplicity of Christianity as socially “below” their elegant culture.
Jesus, the Christ, died a humble death on a tree. The Apostles he chose were 19- and 20-year-old poor fishermen and despised tax collectors and other simple, seemingly mundane people. Nonetheless, God worked wonders through these people and Christianity blossomed in a society that initially deemed this new religion unneeded and peculiar.
Learning about the inception of Christianity against such insurmountable odds gave me hope for two reasons. First, the Holy Spirit can work through anyone, no matter how unlikely it seems. Imagine Peter, Andrew, James and John. They were poor, uneducated fishermen. These simple people initiated a religion that has been infused into every facet of culture and life — they have become venerated saints against truly great odds. Although it often seems scary, overwhelming and hopeless when we see so much suffering and evil in our world, it is necessary for Christians to maintain a positive attitude and work to build up the kingdom in the ways we can. Through the Holy Spirit, great things can be worked through us — for our Church and our world.
Secondly, the Apostles didn’t have to do everything they did on their own. The Holy Spirit inspired and guided them. Similarly, today, we don’t have to bear our tasks, responsibilities, burdens and joys on our own. Scripture constantly unveils itself to us in new ways through the Holy Spirit; we can let Christ speak through us in our daily actions and encounters. The hustle and bustle of our day-to-day existence becomes less of a burden and more of a gift when we shift our paradigms and view our lives as important and valued, knowing that Christ can work through us.
The alarm will still go off earlier than it seems like it should. Life will still be busy. However, allowing Christ to work in us more than we work for ourselves is a challenging opportunity but one that could have bountiful results.
(Sam Aitchison is a sophomore at Saint Louis University. He can be reached at email@example.com.)