This photo of a young traveler exiting a cathedral brings a number of fascinating thoughts to mind, so here’s a little meditation on how this is a great analogy for being a Catholic Author.
First of all, he’s a traveler. We’re all truly travelers, and doing the best we can to create a Heaven on Earth – without losing sight that this isn’t our true home. It’s when we lose sight of that, and decide that ‘this is all there is’ that we frequently create a Hell upon Earth.
Second, he’s not ‘writing’ from within the cathedral. He doesn’t ‘live’ in the cathedral, he lives in the world. He comes to the building of the church to renew, along with his community, his devotion to the rites and rituals God has established. Once entered into the sacred mysteries, the Catholic/author is to go back out into the world, as the God’s missionary/agent.
God can act miraculously to bring about events. But as Catholics, we know that we’re not getting to Heaven by ourselves. What we do, how we do it, and how much love goes into it defines our relationship to God. The more love for God, the greater our love for our neighbor. For most of us, our neighbor/friends/family are the face of God that we can look for every day.
For those who hope to write from the Sanctuary, from within the safe ‘walls’ of the Faith, don’t expect folk to read what you write. Good fiction, especially for our audience today, can’t be saturated in dogma and replete with apologetics. It has to be a real story, with real people, brokenness and sin, otherwise how else is any exploration of redemption possible?
Lastly, this young man heading back out into the world, filled with a renewed Faith and invigorated by the Sacraments, is doing everything under the auspices of the Saints. These great, now almost mythical beings who transcend space and time, who mediate for us before the Godhead, our Patrons in the Halls of Heaven who are channels for bringing particular graces and events from God, they are our cloud of witnesses.
He’s not alone, even if his eyes tell him so, and an empty room presses on his senses, or a crowd seems indifferent or antagonistic. As Catholics, we must cultivate the awareness of angels and saints, who do absolutely nothing except watch us, pray for us, inspire us with suggestions for right action and the avoidance of evil.
Invoking their help, we must each do what we can with the gifts we have been given to make colonies of Heaven on earth, each one another victory against the hellgates – which cannot withstand the power and grace of God, as much as those fallen beings bluster and lie.
So, all that being said, what do you think? :)