Journeying Together in the Mystery of the Trinity
It can be difficult to be a college campus minister in today’s complex society. I have so many competing demands on my time and attention. How do I accompany each student when they are all in such different places? How do I balance my responsibilities to comfort as well as to challenge? How do I find common ground and create a safe place for my students to share the very different experiences of, and attitudes toward, faith? How do I find spaces for healing for those who have been hurt by their faith communities and encourage those who have conviction in the Church to make space without feeling pushed out?
Seeing the Church strengthen its commitment to synodality in recent years has given me a new lens through which to understand my role as campus minister – to gather, listen, and give justice to the voices from different perspectives and backgrounds, especially those who have not historically been heard.
I will be the first to admit that it is often easier to attune myself to the voices of those who share my experiences, opinions, and practices of faith and ministry. But then the ministry becomes centered around me rather than on Christ. The fullness of Christ is only known through the celebration of the many becoming one without sacrificing the gifts that make each of us who we are.
Participating in this synodal model through “Journeying Together” thus far has helped me reflect on the discernment I must undergo to understand how I have been shaped by my culture, so that I can move forward in bringing together, lifting up, and walking side-by-side with those with whom I do not share as many experiences and worldviews.
This synodal model of “Journeying Together” is a reference to, according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website, “a process of dialogue and encounter focused on the Church’s ministry with youth and young adults that fosters understanding and trust within and across cultural families toward a more welcoming and just community of faith.”
Even within my cultural family, we have quite different perspectives. Through our intra-cultural conversations, we learn to intentionally dialogue with and challenge one another, so that we can have mutually engaging and empowering dialogue in our inter-cultural conversations.
I must learn to balance between uniting in shared experiences (of culture, faith, or beliefs) and appreciating the distinctions of each person’s life and experience. Holding the shared and the unique in tension is like living with the mystery of the Trinity: to know and love the one God and to seek relationship with each Person.
In the paradox of the Trinity, the more I come to understand the uniqueness of each Person, the more I feel the unity that exists within. I pray that, through our Church’s experience of Journeying Together, we may find the same mystery of unity in our great diversity as the Body of Christ.
To learn more about “Journeying Together,” go to the following website: www.usccb.org/committees/cultural-diversity-church/journeying-together