I returned to Minneapolis yesterday evening after three days with the Conference of Catholic Legal Thought, this year hosted at Catholic University Law School. (We alternate the location each year among west coast, midwest and east coast participating schools.) This has become a very special gathering for me each year – academics from law schools across the country who have formed a community to foster our joint effort to explore what Catholic thought adds to our discussions of law and public policy.
The key word is community. We come from different institutions. We are at different stages in our academic careers. We have varying political views. We have different levels of theological and philosophical knowledge. We have different notions about what this project entails. Some are closer friends than others. There are differences, many of them, but we see ourselves as part of one Body of Christ. As united with Christ to labor as best we can on this task.
And seeing ourselves as part of one Body of Christ, as co-laborers with Christ, affects how we deal with each other. I’m not saying one of us never gets irritated with another, or that we don’t have disagreements. We do. But there is a generosity of spirit in how we are with each other. A willingness to try harder to see the other’s giftedness at moments when those gifts seem hidden. An effort to give another the benefit of the doubt, to try to see something someone has said or done in the best possible light rather than the worst. A willingness to be supportive of another where there is no gain for the self.
So I come away from this gathering feeling very blessed, filled with gratitude to God and to those with whom I’ve spent these last couple of days. And I pray that we may grow this community and continue to more fully embody Christ to each other and to all those with whom we come in contact.