The Church Needs You
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I write to you from a bed and breakfast in Portland, Maine. It is 7 am, and I am in that lovely time between waking up and sitting down to breakfast (which is my favorite meal).
Maine is not typical for me – I’m on a weekend trip with my dad to celebrate his 60th. There’s something about traveling that gives me a fresh perspective on who I am and where I come from that I just love. I become more aware of how people and experiences affect me, and how I influence a place or a community, how I can leave a mark. How often I take these experiences for granted when I am at home! How often I doubt my ability to make an impact in my daily life, my community, my Church – do you doubt the same?
When I read John Paul II’s Letter to Artists, my heart was filled with so much relief. I was struggling so much to see how the Church wanted me as an artist, let alone (as St. John Paul so lovingly points out in his letter) how it needed me. The idea that, as an artist, I reflect a particular image of God, who is the Divine Artist, was totally new to me. How incredible. Our God is all goodness, and to be an image of Him, of any of his qualities…wow. It was a moment when I realized that my value as a creator reflected the image of The Creator. I realized that an image of our God always has an inherent, unique, and indispensable value, even if other people didn’t see it or understand it.
This realization for me shed light on my role as a woman in our dear, beautiful Church. If the Church needed me as an artist, which is only one small part of my whole being in Christ, how could it not need me as a woman? Male and female He created them… womanhood embodies the image of God in an intensely unique and personal way.
Sister, at this point I would reach across the table (laden with coffee and freshly baked muffins) to take your hand and tell you that your Church needs you. And it needs you now! Not the “you” five years from now, not when you land your dream job, not you when you lose 10 pounds, not when you discern your vocation, not when you are holier, not when you’ve gotten life “figured out.” We need you now, in all the glory of Who you resemble. It is Christ’s Church, and you are the kind of woman He desires – not just for himself, but for his Church.
It’s been lovely to share my morning with you. Breakfast served here, and I am in need of more coffee, so it’s time to say good bye. Know you are in my thoughts and my prayers, sister.