Called & Gifted: Following Christ

At the last Theology on Tap of our 2015/2016 programming year, a large crowd gathered at the Duke of York Pub to hear Bishop Crosby speak: ‘Called & Gifted: Following Christ.’ His Excellency is currently the president of the Canadian Conference of Bishops. A Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate, Bishop Crosby was appointed as Bishop of Hamilton in 2010.

Bishop Crosby shared with those gathered that this was the first time he had presented in a pub. But he jokingly told us that his father taught him not to say no to a nun; “so when the Sisters of St. Joseph called, I had to say yes.” His openness in accepting the sister’s invitation allowed the young adults to witness his willingness to respond when called. Bishop Crosby shared many examples of where and how Christ is present in the diocese of Hamilton, a “Christ Audit” so to speak. Included in this audit was the Brothers of the Good Shepherd Centre where drug addicts, immigrants, battered women and children come. He also visited the city jail to celebrate mass with the inmates. In all of his visits he witnessed respect and a friendly ambience and goodness in the people; he noted something special happening. In these places and many others, Bishop Crosby experiences God’s mercy. He directed the young adults present to do a “Christ Audit” in Toronto; being mindful of where Christ is present in our society, workplace, family and friends.

Crosby shared two wonderful stories that the young adults were able to relate to. The first was of a young girl on a flight. Bishop Crosby overheard the girl asking her mom “are we going way up into the sky?” The mom replied “yes.” The young girl said, “I hope we see Jesus!” Bishop Crosby was touched to witness this young child’s deep longing for Jesus. He reflect that each of us have this longing for Jesus’ love, truth, and fulfillment. The second story Bishop Crosby told was about Mary. While celebrating mass on campus, Bishop Crosby was startled to see Mary with her feet on the altar. It wasn’t until he took a second look that he realized she had no arms. Mary was a lector and turned the pages with her feet. He said she was ‘courageous Mary’; the absence of her arms did not stop her from doing that which brought her meaning and joy. Bishop Crosby called all the young adults to, like Mary, be courageous and boldly share our God given gifts with the world irrespective of the hurdles we may need to overcome.

In all this what is key, said his Excellency, is keeping a Christian attitude of gratitude. He called us to begin each day with a prayer of gratitude; thankfulness, if used often with discipline and practice, merits many fruits, including getting rid of things we take for granted in life, a sense of entitlement and misery which robs us of our joy. Generosity and sacrifice are also two other important Christian attitudes connected with gratitude. If practiced in our lives, we follow Christ and make Him present in our world and bring blessings to the lives of those we meet and touch.

Reflection by Patricia Soscia