Friday, March 17, 2006


Holy Water
White Dresses
Ready-made, Formal Prayers Committed to Memory
Kneeling to Pray
Church-yard Sunday
St. Patrick’s Day
Ash Wednesday
Good Friday
First Communion
15 Year Old Girls coming of age (Qinceañera)
Picture Blessings
Animal Blessings
Medal Blessings
Automobile Blessings
“Last Rites”
Sacred Heart
Immaculate Conception
Jesus of Prague
Church Wedding
Ten Commandments
Bible Stories
Catholic Schools, Colleges and Universities
Catholic Hospitals

Now isn’t that a rather impressive list of Catholic THINGS? I am sure that I have missed several.

There aren’t too many other religions that can make a list that heavy with religious stuff of their own. Not only do Catholics have all of these things, we even have our own Independent Country! So there! We are Catholics and we’re proud of it.

We’re so proud of it that even when we haven’t the slightest idea of what it means to be a disciple of Christ, we still brag, “Yeah, I was Baptized Catholic.”

It’s hard to let go of all that stuff. Even when Faith isn’t there to sustain it and make it mean anything. There are many of you reading this right now who know what I mean. You know who you are.

Lent is drawing to a close. Easter is coming. New Catholics are going to be baptized and will be joining our community of faith.

Are we ready to be with them? Are we ready to share true discipleship with them? Or are we sitting here wondering if they “believe” in everything that is on that long list above?

I know that some of us are wondering if they have been taught the ten commandments, the commandments of the church, the mysteries of the rosary, the act of contrition, the apostles creed, the eight holy days of obligation, the rules of fasting, both large and small, the rules for abstinence, the names of the 14 (do you believe in 15?) stations of the cross, the three temptations of Jesus in the desert, the names of the 12 tribes of Israel, the name of the Pharaoh’s daughter who rescued Moses from the rushes in the Nile, etc…

I’m here to tell you, NO. They will learn that from us as part of the Catholic Tradition of Religious Practices. Do you know why?

It’s because right now they have more Faith than they have Religion.

Notice I haven’t capitalized any of the names of these things? That’s because they are Intellectual Religion Objects, parts of the list above.

Here is a challenge to us all to prepare ourselves for the renewal of our baptismal vows at Easter:

Use the Gospels (all four of them) to find at least five “commandments” (Commissions) (Directives) that Jesus directs to us as the means of our being accepted into His Kingdom. Once we have found five that we can live and die by, in and with the Church as His Dedicated and Avowed Disciple, engrave them in our heart and soul and never let go. That is Faith. That brings Hope. That creates Love.

From there we will find Grace and Strength in our life every day. From there we will discover Saints and Heroes who will inspire us to reach ever higher levels of Friendship and Discipleship with Our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. From there we will reach out to the world and be a true sacrament of God’s presence to His people (John, Chapter 4)[1]. From there we will live the baptismal gifts of Prophecy, Kingship and Priesthood to their fullest. THERE, with eyes wide open (John, chapter 9)[2] we will find ourselves already in the Kingdom of God.

THERE we will be true Catholic Disciples of Christ, and THEREfore only one thing really matters, the relationship in faith between us and God. All the rest will fall into place and we won’t have to memorize it, it will be given to us.

I guarantee that if we are all successful at finding true discipleship through faith, no one will have the slightest temptation to cry at my funeral.

(Click here to view the rest of the many wonderful articles that await you in, America's Catholic Lifestyle Magazine)

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