Faith comes in a variety of gradations. It is common today to hear people say, "I'm spiritual but not religious." Some clergy have a problem with that. I just see it as a person who has taken the first step on a long journey. Would I like to see them eventually end up in the Catholic Church? Of course.
Before I went from being Baptist to being Catholic I spent a great deal of time examining the matter, and I do believe after all of that study and prayer that the church is correct when she says that the Church Christ himself established is
constituted and organized in the world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him, although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure.
It is important to remember the last part. Contrary to the caricature, the Catholic Church does not believe we have the corner on truth. As I look back on my own journey, after I in my teens has fallen away from Church, I can see how I walked back down the road from spiritual to religious to Christian to specifically Catholic. These are concentric circles. And the invisible structure of the Church is much bigger than its visible structure. God alone can identify all those who are inside the invisible structure.
Every human being is created in the image and likeness of God, and therefore every human being, whether they know it or not longs for unity with the God who created them. In a world torn by divisions, if we are true to our faith, should we not look for the signs of unity? Should we not also acknowledge that some are invisible but nevertheless real? We must do two things simultaneously: continue to encourage and invite people into the visible structure of the Church, and honor the elements of sanctification and truth found outside of her.
Today let us look for signs of God's presence, sanctification and truth and look for them in the unusual places. We are all traveller on the road home to the one who made us. We are all constantly being called by God. Let us speak to one another as such. Let us offer assistance to one another as such. Let us pray for one another as such.
As I sit on my front porch writing this I see the people walking by, and ones in the cars driving by. Each is a unique beloved creation of God. Can I keep that in mind as I move through the busyness of the day and week?