The short answer: because my wife said so. The truth is that if I had my way this site would probably be called www.mikelandry.ca. It’d be easier to remember and probably a better marketing tool (and I already own the domain!) But my wife – who is very wise – vetoed that as a website name for me so it wouldn’t go to my head.
I was left reflecting on what I see as my mission both as a Catholic Christian and as a lay missionary, and I realized that there is no simpler explanation than to be third.
Living as a Catholic Christian in the twenty-first century is hard. At times it can seem like the Gospel is being drowned out by all the other noise in the world: busyness, distraction, and loud voices whose message leads us away from Christ.
The beautiful thing about our faith, though, is that even in those moments where it seems to be the most difficult, our task isn’t complicated. Jesus asks us to love God completely: “with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37) and “to love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39), since it is “on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:40).
It was these commandments that Catherine de Hueck Doherty, the foundress of Madonna House, lived without compromise, and expressed in one simple statement: I am third. Simply put, this means that to follow Jesus is to embrace a life that places God first and our neighbors second… making our ultimate goal third place.
…but why a third place project?
We love because He first loved us. -1 John 4:19
The truth is it’s a third place project because my life, my vocation, and my ministry are all works in progress. As a disciple myself, I’m still coming to understand what it means to be loved by God and how that truth guides everything else that I do. Being a husband and a father challenge me daily on my ability to put the needs of others ahead of me. As I serve others, I’m learning how to invite them onto this journey – making their own lives a third place project as well.
What I’m trying to live and share is three simple truths that define my life:
- God’s unconditional love for us and our home in the Catholic Church (for more on this, see the Nicene Creed).
- That our response to His love is summed up in the great commandments to love God and our neighbor (Matthew 22:37-39).
- That we are not to keep these things to ourselves, but that every Christian has a role in bringing Christ’s light to the world (Luke 11:33).
Are you looking for answers to some of your faith questions? Would you like to deepen your life of prayer? Do you want to read more about me (Mike Landry)? Are you interested in having me out to speak or sing at your school, parish, or other group?