Pilgrims from Florida

“Only Christ Takes My Humanity Completely To Heart”

In Rome for the audience with Pope Francis, Audrey rediscovers what belonging to the Church means for her life.

Although it’s safe to say that I am still processing our recent trip to Rome for the papal audience, there is something that became clear to me while we were there that grounded each moment we lived, whether big or small.

I have spent my life working (sometimes easily, more often as a struggle) to adhere to Christ and to the Church. I believe it is true that outside of these things I cannot find happiness, life, or salvation. Adhering myself to the Church has been one of the most important things for me. I genuinely do think that I have adhered to the Church out of love, not mere duty or fear of what would happen to me if I did not. However, in Rome, I learned that this adherence is not one-sided, nor does it start with me. I adhere to the Church, but even more so, the Church adheres herself to me. Christ adheres Himself to me. As many times as I might have felt like I bent my will to the Church’s, Christ even more often has bent to meet me. I have received the Church over and over, but in Rome it became evident that the Church has received me.

Christ has paid attention to me whenever I expressed a desire, whenever I felt a preference towards something or someone. Christ took note whenever I said “yes” and whenever I said “no”, whenever I developed a taste in music or fashion or philosophy, whenever I did literally anything at all. Christ knows that I love pasta, and Italians, and Simon & Garfunkel, and the smell of cigarette smoke, and educational pedagogy, and New York in the winter, and friends with a sense of humor as stupid and often immature as mine. He knew that I would rather lead a bunch of Europeans in singing Take Me Home, Country Roads while drinking a warm, 2 euro beer than doing literally anything else the night after a papal audience. As Giussani put it, also in St. Peter’s Square years ago, “only Christ takes my humanity completely to heart.”

With this awareness, I am more able to recognize what I have found in Communion & Liberation as a gift, a true charism in the proper sense of the word. It is a gift that has been given to me by Christ, through the Church, not only so I can be closer to Him, but so that He can be closer to me. Like any good gift, I have been given this charism (and all of you who share in it) specifically because He knows my preferences, my tastes, my likes and dislikes, the things that are important to me and the things that perhaps are not that important in the grand scheme of life, but I enjoy them - and to the Church, or to anyone that loves another, even the frivolous things matter.

I have a place in the Church, and the Church has received all of me as her own; not because I created this place myself or became worthy of being received by another, but because Christ has created a place for me, and the Church has accounted for all of who I am when she’s called out to me, specifically through Communion & Liberation. For this, I am grateful, expectant, and excited to pay close attention to Pope Francis’ exhortation to use the charism we have been given, not apart from the Church, but with it, and to see what this means for my life.

Audrey, Tampa, FL