When my niece was three years old, I bought her a pair of bunny slippers, complete with floppy ears and whiskers. Delighted, she slipped them on and proceeded to march across the living room, calling out, “Bunny!” with each step. She stared at her feet while she marched, which was cute until she came close to bumping into a wall. I called out to her, “Stop!” Startled, yet undeterred, she turned around and marched in the opposite direction, again taking up the feet-focused cadence of “Bunny, bunny, bunny…”
She eventually learned to look forward while she marched. And although she is now in her twenties, the “bunny walk” remains a delightful family legend.
While I do my best to not march into walls, I must admit that there are some days when I am guilty of the metaphorical bunny walk. I can get so caught up with the day-to-day tasks that I fail to see the long view—the vision—that God has called us to see and aspire to.
Many organizations formulate vision statements to articulate their purpose and aspirations to stakeholders. Vision statements can be helpful for organizations in setting goals and objectives, and developing strategies to achieve them. Catholics are blessed with the rich Tradition of the Church, which offers many sacred vision statements.
A Guide for Catechists, issued in 1993 by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, offers a compelling vision statement for catechesis: “Catechists, therefore, should be bearers of paschal joy and hope, in the name of the Church.” In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis builds upon this vision by calling us to be joyful witnesses to the Gospel.
I encourage every catechist to reflect upon the most compelling vision statement that is taught to us by Jesus himself in the first three petitions of the Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Hallowed Be Thy Name
“By asking ‘hallowed be thy name’ we enter into God’s plan, the sanctification of his name—revealed first to Moses and then in Jesus—by us and in us, in every nation and in each man” (CCC 2858). God revealed his name to us so that we could become more like him. This petition is a call to holiness! Our purpose as Christians is to revere the holiness of God’s name through our prayer life and actions.
Thy Kingdom Come
“For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). The Church looks to Christ’s return at the final coming, while tending to the growth of God’s kingdom in our world today. “But, far from distracting the Church from her mission in this present world, this desire commits her to it all the more strongly” (CCC 2818). This vision statement clearly defines our goals and objectives: we serve to advance the Kingdom of God. Our goal is bringing about the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Holy Spirit.
Thy Will Be Done
“Our Father ‘desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth’” (CCC 2822). When one truly loves God, one desires only to do God’s will. A quote often attributed to St. Augustine underscores this: “Love God; then do whatever you want.” For Christians, love is our strategy, because love unites our will to God’s will.
Indeed, the prayer Jesus taught us is visionary and aspirational. It demands that we look up from our bunny walk of daily tasks so we can see the bigger picture. It challenges us—and those with and to whom we minister—to move ever steadily toward God’s vision for us and the world.