At Mass yesterday, the priest spoke about our Catholic faith, and asked us, the congregation, whether or not we were happy with the things we do as part of being Catholic. You know — go to Mass, pray (including praying the Rosary, novenas, etc.), getting our kids baptized, getting confirmed, getting married in church, praying for and blessing the dead at wakes and funerals, and everything that comes with the “requirements” of our Catholic faith. He challenged all of us to think, “Is that really all there is to it, to our faith?”
Well, my answer is no.
There’s more to being Catholic than “just obeying the rules,” and “doing our obligations.” Father said the same thing yesterday. We can’t just say, “OK, I’ve done my part by attending Mass. Now I can enjoy the rest of my Sunday by going to the mall, hanging out with my friends, etc. etc.” There is definitely more to it than that, dear friends.
Three things that totally stuck with me from the homily:
First, when it comes to our faith, it’s more than just “membership,” i.e. it’s not sufficient to say that we’re Catholics and do “what’s expected of us.” It’s also about ministry. How do we serve others? What do we do to live out Jesus’ commandments to love God and love our neighbor?
Second, having faith doesn’t mean simply receiving God’s grace through the sacraments and other things that we do — it’s about reciprocating that grace, too. It’s about giving and sharing His grace with others.
Last, but definitely not the least, we should not “cheapen” our faith by convincing ourselves that fulfilling our Sunday “obligations” and meeting the “minimum requirements” of being Catholic are enough. Every time we are tempted to think so, let’s look at what Jesus did on the cross for us. His sacrifice, suffering, death (and resurrection) — all these came at a HUGE price: His very own life.
The question now is: What are we going to do with the life that we have been given? How can we truly live out our faith?
I’m no saint (that’s for sure!) but I do hope and pray every day that through my current ministry of motherhood (which includes blogging about it when I can, ha, ha), I am able to live out my faith and what God wants for me.
I plead with God every day that the people whom He has called me to be a “missionary” to — no longer people in another country, or people in different parishes and groups and places, but my own husband and children (and whoever reads my blog, and other articles elsewhere) — will be blessed by what I think, say and do (and write).
I beg Him daily that, despite my faults, failures and weaknesses, my children especially will learn to love Him and put Him first — and not feel that they’re just fulfilling obligations when it comes to our faith: “I only pray because Mama said so,” or “I have to read my Bible devotional because Papa asked me to.” This may be true in the beginning but I fervently hope that their love for Jesus will become their driving force to do all these (and more!), because they want to have a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him.
This is my prayer, not just for my kids, but also for myself (and my husband) too.
It’s also my prayer for you.
When the day comes for the Lord to call us Home, I only hope that He finds us faithful.
How about you? What are your thoughts about your faith (Catholic or otherwise)? Come share in the comments. And don’t worry — this is a judge-free zone. 😉