Be Nice

October 5-19, 2014 is the time frame for the Synod on the Family, called for by Pope Francis and taking place in Rome.  I would love to be there; how about you?  Sadly, I did not receive an invite so I must be content with reading as much as possible about it.

In preparation for the Extraordinary General Assembly a document was put together based on responses from a set of questions given to the Bishops and responded to by both clergy and laypeople in the Church.  In reading the document “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization,” I am struck by many comments.  Some comments are beyond the sphere of control or even influence as laypersons.  Some are not.

For example: #15 states:

“the reason for much resistance to the Church’s teaching on moral issues related to the family is a want of authentic Christian experience, namely, an encounter with Christ on a personal and communal level, for which no doctrinal presentation, no matter how accurate, can substitute.”

Are we helping provide an authentic Christian experience?  I try my best every day to do so but it isn’t always easy or even popular and I work in a parish.  One would think that working in a church for the Church that you are surrounded by like-minded individuals asking themselves how to help people experience Jesus. Maybe surrounded is too much to hope for, but at least not rare.

The last few months I have noticed a sharp decline in people I come into contact with not being nice.  I know it sounds a bit whiney and trite to say this.  I want to start a campaign of “Being Nice.”  Be nice, even when you are tired, angry, hungry, rushed, frustrated, or just plain tired of being nice.

I think if all of us “Church people” did this, there would be more authentic Christian experiences happening.

Are you with me?

Copyright 2014, Deanna Bartalini