Monday, July 27, 2009

A Joyous Catholic--Not an Oxymoron

You know--if there is one thing the Roman Catholics do is make ourselves look somber. Maybe gloomy would be a better word. I've spent a good twenty minutes (maybe shorter) sitting here wondering why. Oh, sure--there is something to be said about redemptive suffering. The church does that right.

My favorite movie line is out of the movie Dogma and it goes something to the effect of, "I have issues with anyone who treats God like a burden instead of a blessing like some Catholics. You people don't celebrate your faith . . . you mourn it." That is so true--as a generalization. Knowing what we have, with the whole fullness of faith thing, why do Catholics have to be all curmudgeons?? Oh sure, there is time for seriousness. We should not be laughing and goofing when we are in line for the confessional. That's a time for serious reflection. Even then though, I've caught myself with a grin because I know that my sins and burdens will soon be gone.

We should be excited about our faith. We should be running around, jumping up and down and acting like idiots because of what we have. Instead when you walk into a mass everyone acts like someone just shot their dog. Come on!! We have the sacraments!! We have the Eucharist--confession!! Those are some amazing things!! We have the Bible!! So sure do other Christian faiths but we have more of it!! YEA!! We have the church fathers, the magisterium. We have the pope and apostolic succession! We can trace our roots 2000 years back to Jesus not to some committee formed 100 years ago! Isn't' it ironic when the priests says at mass, "let us sing the song of the choirs of angels" (or whatever the exact words are) you get 500 people singing as blandly as possible "Holy, holy hooooly, blah blah blah blah blah." How about a little spring in your step?

I've been having a discussion with some people in regards to a "Lifeteen" mass which is basically a mass with contemporary music and I keep getting the same comments. "Who says mass is supposed to be fun?" Who says it's supposed to be boring?? Of course they get all offended if you say the mass is boring. "Anyone who fully understands the mass would never say it's boring." Oh please!! Who reading this has never, ever EVER in their life been bored at mass?? We ALL get distracted and bored at some point. If you didn't raise your hand I'm not going to call you a liar but . . .

As Catholics we need to be happy and joyous about our faith not just because our faith is the best thing since sliced bread (actually it was here before sliced bread) but we need to be joyous in order for us to evangelize. In order to spread the Good News we need to act like we have Good News. We shouldn't go around acting like we are toast!

We shouldn't act all stuffy and pious when someone questions our faith. That's a sure way to turn people off. We need to be patient. The Catholic faith isn't one that's easy to understand and or to agree with. I've struggled with some of her teachings and had to spend time and effort to learn and understand them.

As Catholics, we need to be going out into the world and making people wonder, "What's that guy been drinking because I want some!!" We need to be able to "preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words." The Catholic faith is so amazing, so wonderful---why would anyone want to act like a sourpuss. Remember--it's possible to be loyal to the teachings of the faith and to the magisterium and walk around with a smile on your face.

*-one added note. I would like to point out that this is a generalization and if you think it may be directed at you, well, maybe you need to smile.


  1. Heck, Jamie, you need to come to our church! We have our serious moments, sure, and we treat Mass with the proper respect. But after Mass (we go to the Saturday vigil), our church family gets together for dinner at a local restaurant or, less frequently, at one of our homes. Our group size ranges between 8 or 10 to nearly 30. And we have so much fun and laughter that we almost get kicked out of the place.

    (Oops... I probably shouldn't say that to a cop. You might bust us for disturbing the peach... which, I confess, we do!)

    This church family is indeed like family. We have each others' backs, believe me. But we have a tremendous amount of fun in the process.

  2. It is interesting that you quote St. Francis. St. Francis was a joyous Catholic, and most Franciscans I know (I am a candidate for the secular order) are also joyous. So, we are out there! :)