A Creation Story Lisa Farese
Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done.
“Thy will be done.” It’s an action. Being a Catholic, was never meant to be an edict followed by the just. It was never meant to be a prescription of duties or obligations. The rituals were never created to build robots without reason or will. It was always meant to be active. My faith in Christ is a creation story. The creation of love.
As a child, I was born into a Catholic family with opinions on life, love, and duty. I attended mass for years without ever attending to the mission injected into the words. I recited prayers; I completed CCD; I even chose a Catholic college. To many, I was a good Catholic. But it wasn’t until my faith was in question that I realized I got so much more from my active relationship with a Creator that I got to and continue to define.
In 2002 I traveled outside the USA on a pilgrimage with thousands of other faithful Catholics. We prayed together. We talked together. But the conflict came from a person that questioned my seemingly scripted life. I was exactly what everyone expected from a 20-something-year-old Catholic. But if you had been keeping current in American news, especially in my home state of MA, you know that the Boston Globe had begun scripting its own articles regarding the priest sex scandal. So on day two, I was approached by a reporter. With the excitement of attending mass with Pope John Paul II, my light-hearted energy stuttered to a stop.
“Good, morning! I see by your badge that you are here for World Youth Day. Where are you from?” “Boston.”
The immediate shift in his gaze created an uneasy feeling on my skin. It was as if, despite the July heat, ice enveloped me. “How can you be here? How can you be Catholic? How can you do this, when for decades, priests have been allowed to ruin the lives of so many young people?” I paused.
The silence was filled with anger as the reporter searched for answers to something that was outside the creation story I had been working on my entire life. I had known for years that my love for God and my religious practice were deeply personal and I had never considered that my choices had anything to do with anyone else. But was that selfish? Was that just my way of hiding from the pervasive truth that many had used their religion in a series of actions to perpetuate evil? Did their stories change mine? Would mine, could mine impact them?
“Well, I learned long ago that my faith is in a Creator that has given me the space to choose love. I put my faith in God, not people.”
I walked away knowing I had not answered the questions according to any script. The prayers I learned were not written to defend a world religion. But rather, those words that I had repeated were always meant to be lived. The reporter was making a connection between my faith in a God that I had created out of love and the terrible actions of so many people. What I realized was that my faith had always been calling me to creation. Creating love. Creating justice. Creating light. And luckily I lived in a country that, through the words of its constitution, created a space where that story could be written. That story could be lived. That story was mine.
© Lisa Farese. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.