Earlier today, I went to Mass with my Mom like we usually do on weekdays. But since my dad was home today, we got to leave all the little kids home and have a nice quiet time. It was awesome as planned, and we went and got some food afterwards. Things were looking good. But then disaster struck when we got home. The kids were screaming and pouting, so we went to our town’s Fourth of July Celebration. They had some of the best funnel cake I have ever had, not to mention the live music and other attractions. When we got home, once again, everything fell apart. Then, my dad came to the rescue with a movie he rented from RedBox, and now everything is quiet while my little sisters watch The Lemurs of Madagascar.
As you can tell, my day has been full of different emotions. Today I’ve been happy, annoyed, angry, and the wonderful feeling only a good funnel cake can bestow. But no matter how ‘m feeling, I’m obligated (privileged) to care for my younger siblings. I’m also supposed to be Christ to others, no matter how I feel about it.
As a Catholic, I promise you there will be times when you’re loving life. You just feel God’s presence all around you. Your plans seem to fit right up with God’s, all the kids seem to behave at Mass, and you couldn’t want anything else (except maybe some pizza. That would be a nice touch). And there will be times when you feel empty. You’ll look around and say to God, “What the heck Man!?”. Sometimes people will hate you for what you believe and persecute you for your faith. Unashamed Catholic had a great post about constant conversion to a more Christ-like you, and he got comments about how horrible Mary is, and how the Catholic Church is the infamous “Whore of Babylon” spoken of in Revelation. You have to be Christ-like whatever happens.
My friends know that I’m not to good at doing that when I’m angry. I can get really bad sometimes when people do stuff like I just mentioned. But to be perfectly honest, I probably do that a lot as well. I don’t say it, but sometimes I’ll make fun of what someone believes (even though the stupidity is so thick you couldn’t cut it with a just knife. You’d need like a lightsaber-chainsaw to just make a dent in it). The point is, be Christ to others, regardless of who it may be.
There are a lot of people who expect to get something out of Christianity in a worldly sense. People want to get a good feeling out of going to church or being nice to people. I’m telling you right now, it probably won’t happen the way you want it to. C.S. Lewis once said that “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”
To people who are expecting comfort out Catholicism, the problem is that you are looking for the world in the Heavens. Your expecting worldly pleasure out of God. But, like JPII famously said,
“The world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for Greatness”
However, you will get something from living a holy life. They’re called the fruits of the Holy Spirit (charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity). While some of them may sound a lot like earthly feelings, they’re not. They are something far more awesome. They are fruits because they show when the Holy Spirit lives in you. It’s basically the Holy Spirit showing through you.
Because we are so addicted to our feelings, we expect what we feel to be right to be the truth. We might really want something to happen, whether it’s for a job interview to go well, or for your sports team to win, or something even more important to happen, but it might not be in God’s plan. Have you ever really really wanted something, and told God that His will be done, not yours? I have. I did not enjoy it at all. But, as C.S. Lewis said again,
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
With the way things are going today in America, it would probably be the aforementioned time when you say to God, “What the Heck, Man!” But it is also the time when you suck it up and keep fighting the good fight, regardless about how you feel. If you’re happy, spread it to other people, take advantage of those times. If someone is feeling depressed about what has happened, or if they are being bullied for their faith, stand up for them.
A lot of people are all for that relationship not religion stuff. They are looking for a perfect relationship, but there is a problem. I hate to break it to them, but they’re not perfect! Sometimes you are going to feel down in the dumps, I personally guarantee it. But, if you follow Jesus through good times and bad, you’ll get to taste what Final Victory is like. You’ll get to see God and think, “Man, that was worth it”.
In Christ, Catholic2theMax