In the most hallowed holy places in the world – St. Peter’s Basilica, Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia, Montreal’s St. Joseph Oratory or Mother Teresa’s orphanages, each year hosts more non-believing visitors than believers. It’s an interesting thought for these houses of worship and social justice. You might debate this point for some locations but I believe firmly that there is a Catholic difference that our doors are open receptive to the possibility that a gawking tourist could actually have a spiritual moment lighting a candle for a cause dear to their hearts.
Mother Teresa certainly made a legend of her ministry to the predominantly Hindu population in the lower castes of India. These inclusionary practices are praised to the point of Sainthood even though conversions credited to her might be relatively few. These open door policies open Christianity up to the outside, a true expression of John XXIII’s vision for the church after the Second Vatican Council. We open our doors ambitiously – we build huge oratories and huge orders at the service of others.
Reflecting on the Year of Mercy as I stare at St. Andre Bessette’s portrait by my own apartment door, I resolve in 2016 to be just as open and sensitive to the needs of those around me. The holiest door a friend might walk through is the one at your office or your apartment. My archdiocese ran a campaign for reconciliation a few years ago called “The Light is On”. On the week of St. Andre’s feast, it’s appropriate to think that the theme for this year is “The Door is Open”.
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