The Books of Beginning is a children’s fantasy trilogy by John Stephens that includes Emerald Atlas, The Fire Chronicle, and The Black Reckoning. The series is about an ancient prophecy that states that three siblings must find three magical books, which controls time, death, and a person’s soul. Each book centers around one sibling’s journey finding their bonded book to keep it safe from an evil villain.
The Books of Beginning is a fantasy with humans, dwarves, elves, giants, dragons, trolls, etc., which must work together to defeat evil. A lot of the conflict centered around the different groups having trouble working together. They understood they were allies with one clear evil opponent, but had difficulty moving forward with a plan because they were too busy fighting among themselves. A common theme in fantasy is dwarves and elves do not get along, which this book continued. It wasn’t until the characters stopped stereotyping each other and focused on their joint mission, defeating evil, before they could accomplish good.
We see this theme a lot in human history, placing someone into a group, and refusing to work with them because of that group even when we have a common goal. It seems lately, as a society, we have created more groups to place people in and more reasons to see somebody as ‘other.’ We are all members of the human race, and yet we are divided.
With my children, I would remind them that in Christ, there is no division. Jesus Christ is the Universal Covenant. Jesus died for all genders, races, occupations, political parties, nations, and religions. At Pentecost, the Apostles received the Holy Spirit to call people from “every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5). Even when society encourages seeing someone as an ‘other,’ they as Catholics, must see them as a person Christ died for.
We can only do this by encountering Jesus first. Benedict XVI in God Is Love, stresses three ways we encounter Jesus: 1) the word of God, 2) celebrating the sacraments, and 3) through others via the ministry of charity. He said, “These duties presuppose each other and are inseparable.”
We are called to bring Jesus to all we meet in how we live our lives, and we must also see Jesus in every person we encounter. We don’t need to worry about their’ group.’ In Mathew 25:31-46, Jesus states, “all the nations” will gather before the Son of man, and He will separate them. It is not our job to determine the sheep from the goats. We only need to give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick and those in prison.
As Christians, we need to be the first to be united. Pope Francis asked at the 2018 World Council of Churches, “How can Christians proclaim the Gospel if they are divided among themselves?”
We should meditate on what St. Paul said.
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
I have already blogged about the unity of Christians here.