“It is important to be in the 'we' of the Church, in the 'we' of the life of the Liturgy.”
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
I remember years ago when the third edition of the Roman Missal came out and we all were flabbergasted at the reality that we would have to change some of our responses that we had been saying at Mass for decades. Oh for the days when these were some of our top challenges! Back then, one of the changes most challenging and challenged, at least for me, was the subtle but important adjustment from "We believe," in the creed to "I believe." "Community!" I cried! "We are one body," I exclaimed! Yet today, as I continue to try to help parishes and dioceses work on a healthy leadership culture, as I find myself in the midst of our family’s crisis with my son Peter, and as I look ahead at the daunting road our country has ahead of it, I have come to realize the importance behind that simple change. As empowering as "we" can be, "we" can’t actually happen without some "I’s." And as much as "we" might hope and pray and believe, those hopes and prayers and beliefs find a wobbly foundation without a lot of "I’s" making them happen.
As I heard the readings this past Sunday and reflected upon Scripture in general, it’s amazing to me the emphasis placed on the power of individual choices. "Here I am Lord, I come to do your will." No matter what "we" want for our Church or our country or our families, it will only be as strong as what I am willing to do. I need to consider who I choose to be and how I see myself in relationship to you and everyone else I encounter. How often in matters of faith or leadership do I miss the impact of my own choices on the collective whole? How often do I choose a focus on my rights or my preferences over my responsibilities? This week, as we look at whatever roads we need to walk and the new chapter we begin as a country, let’s remember that the Lord calls each and every one of us by name, as individuals, to constant conversion toward that which I say I believe.