Last Sunday’s homily really struck a chord in my family. The priest talked about the “time in between”—essentially where we are now as a Church. We NEED priests. We NEED to raise faithful children. But look around at most parishes, and only 7% of parishioners are actively involved and statistically, they’re between the ages of 40-75. Being in the age of social media, I see revolution and hope in our Church every day. His concern, however, came from a military standpoint where the Army has only 70 Catholic Priests, with 20 of them retiring this year due to the military’s age limit. That means there will be 50 priests for 52 military instillations worldwide. Therefore some posts will not have a priest…yet every post has about 25-35 Protestant ministers. He went on to give some sad statistics of prayer and Mass attendance (especially of young adults) which I am sure you have all heard before.
I thought about my own journey [back] to Catholicism and realized that the root of my assumptions about the Church were wrong or severely misguided and that I was really too lazy to do anything about it. It wasn’t until I attended a Baptist church with friends in high school that their youth leader challenged us to research what he was saying—find the Biblical roots. He told us that God, like a good parent, never requires something of us without reason and wisdom. During this time, I was still required to go to Mass with my mom so in my college years, I began researching aspects of the Catholic Church that I didn’t agree with or understand as well. Because, if I was going to leave the Catholic Church, it would at least be fair to have all the facts, right? Well learning about the Church became sort of addicting.
Then Liam and I got engaged and while thinking about our wedding, we both realized that we weren’t going to have a half-assed Catholic marriage. Why would we? Have you ever started a project with the mindset that you are going to only half-try? Or begin a race or sports game knowing that you will only put in maybe 50% effort? Not many things in life are black and white, but this is—either you are Catholic, or you are not. If that makes you feel sad or uncomfortable, there are plenty of other sects of Christianity for you to choose. You can walk away from the Church—I honestly think you should leave if you consciously choose to be sloth-like and lukewarm. But put in just 10 minutes of prayer and research before you do.
Our faith needs to constantly evolve. We need to constantly grow in holiness. If you do not feel this need, I suggest you pray-pray-pray, and reevaluate your life. God does not want or need this for His benefit—He knows we need it for ours. I had a wonderful conversation last night with a fellow blogger (well she’s actually a podcaster so she fancy) about differences within the Church and how the first step to unity is discussion—not inward judgement or eye-rolling. To grow in holiness is humbling and scary and awe-inspiring. Yesterday my mom told me that I inspired her to a closer devotion to the Rosary. My prayer life encouraged someone who has always encouraged my own faith and that is how it should be! I have talked to many mothers who began veiling after watching their daughters be transformed by the practice. Moms are not immune to spiritual growth (we may need it more than any of you…) and it takes a good dose of humility to see that at times.
My next series of posts will expand on what my family has begun to do to deepen our faith whether it’s at Mass or home. I write not in the spirit of vanity but that in hope that it will bring you back to Mass, the Bible, the Catechism or even Google to dig just a little bit deeper in why you do what you do as a Catholic. What works for me and my family may be way off for you in this season (or forever) and that’s okay. We all grow just as the Lord wants us too. But ask yourself, what is holding you back?