Our faith teaches us that the saints hold a special place within the Body of Christ. Through Christ, we on earth remain in communion with the saints who now reside in heaven. As important role in the Body of Christ, the saints in heaven join their wills to the will of God as they pray for those on earth who are still traveling along our pilgrimage of faith.
The process of declaring one a saint in the Catholic Church is called canonization. A cause for canonization begins with an examination of a person’s life showing forth the merits which they won on earth. This examination provides the Church a means in which to determine if the individual was martyred for their Christian beliefs and lived a virtuous life. With this thought in mind, I have often wondered if Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were Catholic, would he have eventually become a canonized saint? While the evidence of two miracles might have proven to be an obstacle in elevating his spiritual status, I do not believe that we can overvalue the miraculous movement of non-violent opposition to human rights that Dr. King provided to a generation of Americans. His role as a Christian leader transcended faith and brought dignity and peace to the forefront of the American consciousness. Though his non-violent movement from 1955-1968 was fraught with resistance and conflict, he remained faithful to the teachings of Christ. His belief of equality and justice for all serves this generation of youth, as well as future generations. For this reason, at St. Agnes, celebrating Dr. King’s life doesn’t pass as merely a footnote to the observed national holiday of MLK Day. Rather, it serves as an instructional way in which to teach our students about a historical figure who lived a faith-filled life of virtue.
Learning about MLK extends beyond our classrooms into an active thought process which invites our young people to reflect upon the principles of peaceful opposition to injustice. In class, our students discussed how Dr. King’s example might invite us to apply our Christian ideologies in a way which guides them toward using their value system to change the world. To this point, each year as we prepare for MLK Day, our students are invited to share their ‘dream’ on how they envision putting these principles into action. Accordingly, outside of our main office is a wall dedicated to these ‘dreams’. Placed underneath Dr. King’s quote: “We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream”, our students shared their ‘dream’ on a posted note. I thought you might enjoy reading a few of these shared ‘dreams’:
My dream is…To be friends with Jesus.
My dream is…To become the first African-American woman to be the USA President.
My dream is…For everyone to have three nourishing meals a day.
My dream is…That everyone lives in harmony as we appreciate and respect others opinions.
My dream is…To live in a small house because I will give all of my money to the poor.
My dream is…For all sea animals to be safe and that there is peace in the world.