Matt Archbold graduated from Saint Joseph’s University in 1995. He is a former journalist who left the newspaper business to raise his five children. He writes for the Creative Minority Report.
I am the broken pieces of what was supposed to be Matt Archbold. I know this. I have fallen short of the man I am called to be.
Charged with following Christ and spreading the gospel I shudder to think of my wayward path over the years. And I hesitate to consider how many times I have, when faced with a perfect moment to spread the gospel, instead opted for biting sarcasm? Or even cowardly silence.
I don't know if it's in my nature to jump to sarcasm or to opt for silence but I do not come to Christ for validation of my fallen nature. I require correction. I beg for it. I need that steady campfire to beckon me back from my mad midnight charges into the wilderness.
I wonder when so many of us started looking to religion for validation? I wonder if it was when "I'm OK, You're OK" became a cultural ethos. Because here's my secret. I'm not OK and I suspect you're not much better.
I think too often we seek confirmation that we're ok just as we are. We seek out parishes, publication, or even faiths that cater to us, that tell us what we want to hear. Worse, we seek out parishes and publications precisely because we won't hear what we may need to.
What good is a faith that agrees with me 100 percent of the time? Christ calls us to be what we are not yet. He asks us to recall what we were supposed to be. It's almost like having a memory of the person you should have been. I know it doesn't sound like it makes sense but I believe it's true.
I think behind the defenses, the humor, the excuses, and the justifications we know that we are not who we were meant to be. I'll speak for me. I'm not. I don't even know the man I'm supposed to be. So instead of looking inward, I look to Christ. I model myself on Christ.
I look to the sacraments. The bread and wine are made into the Body and Blood of Christ. Transformation is the heart of Christianity. Just as the bread and wine are transformed, so must we be. We must look to the sacraments to remind us of who we are not but are called to be.
When we seek out a Christianity we can agree with all the time, we are losing the transformative nature of the faith.
I know that I am fragile. I will break. I will shatter. The sacraments help me pick up the broken pieces and build me back into who I was supposed to become. My prayer is that Christ uses even my brokenness to lead others to Christ and his Church.