I am privileged to teach catechesis here at Mount Royal Academy. I am even more privileged that I have been able to teach (and learn) with the same group of students for three years in a row. We are able to dive more deeply and quickly into discussions, to offer one another more critical feedback in an honest manner, and to truly experience the joys of helping one another along the path to heaven.
In Catechesis III (eighth grade) we just finished our first unit. The featured themes of solidarity, family, common good, and community were striking. We contextualized these topics from the point of view of our own domestic families, sports teams of which we are members, our grade level class, and of course-- our larger Mount Royal Academy community. We are all members of many different communities. We need to be purposeful regarding how we act within these communities, and mindful of God’s purpose for them.
All of which made a recent podcast by the Catholic Stuff You Should Know priests even more relevant. In discussing the beauty and rigors of community life Fr. John Nepil invoked the wonderful metaphor of “A Life in Peloton”. (A word I had never previously heard. A peloton is the term used for a group of bikers riding together as part of a race.) He describes our natural (flawed) inclination towards autonomy. To bike at your own pace. To set your own speed. To go where you want to without consultation of others, nor being “dragged down” or held back by members of your group. Ideas continually reinforced by contemporary culture: Be faster. Be self-sufficient. Look out for good, ole #1.
Now contrast that with reality, wisdom, and research. On a flat stretch of road, wind creates 80% of the resistive force felt by a rider. When riding with others-- in a peloton-- this drag is reduced to only 40% or 30%. Consider that fact again: When riding with others, the pull against you is reduced by more than half.
Here at Mount Royal we are on a journey together. United in common mission, we help one another by pedaling together. This makes our journey faster, more efficient, as well as enjoyable. Can you imagine tackling this task alone, with twice as many forces poised against you? Or without companions to enjoy the views, share the sorrows, and savor the triumphs?
“Nobody would attempt to win the Tour de France by themselves. Cycling is a team sport… it’s individual people, but you are working together as a team-- everybody has a role” (Fr. Nepil). As St. Paul said (1 Corinthians 12:12), “As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ.”
Thank you God for giving us the gift of one another on this wonderful journey.
Most sincerely in Christ,
Amy Sansone, Academic Dean