By John De Gano
Growing up in the public school system, my report cards almost always included the phrase:
“He has an active imagination.”
Now depending on how one interprets these words, I was either a daydreamer, a troublemaker or somewhere (or someone) in between.
And the truth is they were probably closer to the truth then I would like to admit. Often times the ‘extra credit’ work that I enjoyed so much was merely busy work to keep me from disturbing the other students who needed additional assistance with math concepts, grammar and punctuation.
My mom confirmed that analysis years later while sitting around the dining table one Thanksgiving, reminiscing about favorite teachers and the like.
I was so excited about learning new things that I never questioned their motives. Not even when I caused a disruption in third grade by ‘publishing’ several joke newspapers for my classmates. The teacher merely moved me to a seat by the pencil sharpener and I became the de facto pencil sharpener ‘monitor’ for the month (I got to empty the shavings at the end of the day).
My active imagination flourished in high school (and later college) due in large part to being channeled through the choice of electives offered, including Music/Band, Art, Sciences, Typing (yes, on a typewriter!).
And, for better or worse, my active imagination continues to be a part of who I am and how I respond to the world around me.
In a similar way, we, as Roman Catholics, are supposed to view the world differently than those without any faith tradition. We look through the lens of Christianity, asking “What Would Jesus Do? Or Say? Or Want?”
We believe in a God of Love. A God of Joy. A God of Hope. And a God of Mercy and Forgiveness.
And so we are challenged to conform ourselves as disciples to live ‘active’ faith lives; to bring the Kingdom of God here on earth; and to express the deep feelings of our hearts so that we may reflect God’s light and life to those who need Him most.
We do this by using our Catholic imagination to come up with new ways of seeing, new ways of presenting God to those who have become deaf and blind to religion. We reach out and invite, trusting that the Holy Spirit will spark the light of faith and bring back those who were lost or had wandered off.
Imagine what we could accomplish…
Imagine what we could do…
Now quit daydreaming and take action!
John De Gano is a deacon at St. Catherine of Alexandria parish in Riverside.