I’m still thinking a lot about this.
I need to correct one, itty, bitty line from a former entry. I was trying to make a point about Jesus not coming to this earth with labels for everyone, in a way that distorts the uniqueness of each person by saying, “I know for sure he didn’t come to this world to free of us eternal death with the word ‘catholic’ printed on his swaddling clothes.” (Eighth paragraph down, excluding the opening line.)
It only took a cigarette break and a brighter moment later to realize that yes, yes, Jesus did come to us with universal written all over him. What I meant in that particular comment is that Jesus didn’t come with labels. He didn’t come with prejudice. He certainly didn’t have some kind of Miss America-type banner across his little baby chest announcing his presence in the kind of shameless self-promotion we get away with today.
But if you want to get right down to it, strip away the images one might conjure up with the mention of the mere word “catholic”, you get the Middle English, Latin, and Greek evolutions of the word for “universal.”
Yes, I know. You’ve heard this before. You were rigorously trained as a child in catechism. You have really good friends who are Catholic. Or maybe you’ve just heard it somewhere in all the information to come hurling at us through the digital dump ground that is the internet or in pieced up random bit conversations any given day. But you know this word is supposed to mean “universal” and that, maybe, it’s just the church’s way of making themselves sound like every other church who claims to have the rights into heaven.
But it really is that simple. Jesus was born to this world with a very universal message. He was and remains universal. By that very notion, and because his life and resurrection were a testimony to that universalism, anyone who follows him is part of this universal truth. I don’t even need to get sidetracked with arguments about divisions in the church and who believes what and which is better. We all know, whether we are Catholic or Protestant, we are striving to achieve holiness under the blanket of calling Christ our savior. (Yes, we are constantly striving to work on ourselves, but that, again, is another entry for another time, and will inevitably include a few or more super deep discussions on faiths and works and universal truth.)
I truly believe it doesn’t stop there. Knowing as little as I do about non-Christian faiths, I cannot possibly fathom that any religion whose true, purest form is to achieve peace within and with others, can be judged as anything less than true, noble, and infinitely a part of a universal, global, worldwide plan. Who is anyone to tell another how their faith is to be lived? And furthermore, I can no more judge on which religion is THE one or better any more than I would want to be judged, because the faith that I have is such that out of love for my Savior, who created all peoples, I love who He loves: all of his children. It comes from that same universal truth that underlines peace and faith, trust and works: divine love. The law which governs all of us, regardless of our accordance.
Now, that doesn’t get mean I don't get angry or that people don't chap my ass, but I’m not coming from the angle that I’m perfect and preaching. I’m coming from the viewpoint of someone who can celebrate her humanity and still be striving for the ultimate afterlife. It's a process of purification. Eventually, I'll be able to not use swear words in my blog entries. Eventually, I will stop smoking. Eventually I'll quit thinking so much about what people think. But for now, I'm not going to kill myself trying to live above my own life.
There are so many tangents I found from some of these thoughts that could take their own whole blog, but because I am a relatively simple person (don’t laugh! I am!), I’ll leave this as is for today and perhaps tackle some of the other offshoots at another time.