An older retired lady at my parish recently came up to me at the gym while I was exercising and was prompting me to do something. I grinned and told her that someone else in the parish suggested the exact same thing to me, so the Holy Spirit must be working here. Then, she said something that has stuck in my head ever since, “You know, the people over there are watching out for you.”
It took me by surprise, but if you’ve ever experienced God speaking to you, I knew in that moment it was Him speaking through her.
"Yes, yes they are," I thought.
I reflected on her comment a lot after our exchange. This is how a Catholic Church should be. The Body of Christ caring and watching out for one another. Prompting one another to action in the direction of the Holy Spirit. Praying for one another. Suggesting to them ways they can improve their life and faith. Being an encouragement to one another.
We’re not just bodies and strangers inside of a church on Sunday. We are the people of God and all of us need nurturing to reach our true potential as disciples. We aren’t just there to serve the poor, the sick, and the needy -- we are there to inspire, encourage, and build up one another too -- so that our impact is broader, wider, and deeper as Christ’s people.
While I am grateful that I have this in my church, unfortunately, this is my first experience of a church that actually does this well, that is a living, thriving Body of Christ whose influence I can see in my life and community.
But know that even if your church isn’t like this, you can be. You can be the one caring and watching out for someone else in it. I’m a person that believes in the power of the ripple effect. You just may inspire others to do the same by your own example.
It starts with one. Be the person that watches out for others, and watch as your example starts building a living, thriving Body of Christ around you.