I was blessed to join the commencement ceremonies at Mater Ecclesiae College, in Greenville, RI. Yes, that is where the consecrated women of Regnum Christi go to college.
The day filled me with hope.
And I can use all the hope I can get, given the disappointments the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi have faced the past four years…the same four years yesterday 13 graduates spent at Mater Ecclesiae College.
The young women who graduated have lived through several rather interesting times. I’m sure that there have been many questions, sometimes doubts, perhaps a few tears.
Yet…here they were. They had four years of wonderful academic and spiritual formation – and to me they are the women of hope. For the church. For each other. For people like me who need hope so much.
The women of hope. Each of these women has brought me inspiration and hope during the past year, as I was blessed to be an adjunct professor who taught them a communications course.
Sometimes it was a challenging question – or an insightful answer. Sometimes it was a clever bit of writing. Usually it was just the personality of a consecrated woman being a consecrated woman, a woman of hope.
Now…I never had a biological sister…just one gnarly brother. But from the wonderful young women of Mater Ecclesiae, I have seen what it means to be a sister. And I’ve come to feel like I have the sister I never had growing up.
We live in a culture that needs the hope of sisterhood. Religious freedom, the mere opportunity to practice our faith, is under attack throughout the world.
In many places, the attack is violent. In fact, more than 170,000 Christians are martyred each year worldwide.
Few of us will ever fact the threat of being hanged or beheaded. But you may be marginalized. You may not be able to proclaim your faith in public. You may not be able to send your children to an openly Catholic school. You may not be able to honestly state the difference between right and wrong as taught by the magesterium of the Church. The government may try to tell you how you can – and cannot – practice your religion.
In reality, these are not things that MAY happen – they are things that ARE happening. And we are all going to have to stand up for our faith, perhaps to a degree we never expected.
Would you give up your home and possessions for your faith? Would you go to jail for your faith? Would you die for your faith?
I expect some of us will have to answer these questions in the years ahead. Lord I believe…help my unbelief. I pray if my moment comes, I have the courage to say VIVA CHRISTO REY!
I’m confident the MEC class of 2012 has that courage.