Monday, May 20, 2013

If You Teach Catholicism is About Being Nice, You'll Lose Them...

Standing on my head:

We’ve made catechesis nice. It’s all about the sacraments and being nice and the church and being nice and peace and justice and being nice and forgiveness and hugs and being nice. That’s all very nice… but there is another aspect to the gospel which we’ve quietly forgotten. We’ve forgotten that part about, “If anyone would be my disciple he must take up his cross and follow me.” Or that part which says, “The world will hate you as it has hated me.” or “Broad is the way that leads to destruction, but narrow is the gate and few there be that find it.”

So our children aren’t dumb. They grow up and they figure that if it’s all about being nice that you don’t have to go to church to be nice. You can be nice without church. You don’t have to be Catholic to be nice. You can be a nice Methodist if you want. So if they want to be nice they just go along being nice without church, and they believe that because that’s actually what we taught them even when we didn’t know that is what we were teaching them.

Because we never told them it would be difficult and that it would require discipline and that they should have some backbone and determination if they were going to make it in the spiritual life, they learned that lesson, and therefore when it did turn out to require a little bit of grit and determination and difficult things like confession and self discipline and prayer–they went scooting off because they thought it was all about being nice and praise and worship songs that made you feel good and a warm comfy sermon from Father about loving each other more. That’s what they thought it was. That’s what we taught them it was, and when it turned out that being a Catholic required some backbone and self sacrifice and dedication they were disappointed like we are all disappointed when our expectations are shattered. Never mind that they were false expectations to start with.

If you're not talking about the soul, suffering and the afterlife...

You're doing it wrong.

Of course God provides a lot of happiness and solace.

He does it when you understand what the deal really is.

If you understand his love for you, and how you have to take up the cross, that is when you will derive solace.

You don't get it from being nice. Anybody can do that. Jesus said as much.