Tag Archives: challenge

No Catholic is Perfect

I have something to own up to. It seems, through all of the soul searching it takes to blog about finding God in your life and your family, I’ve discovered one very important thing. And that is that I’m not exactly a good Catholic.

The thing is, you probably aren’t either.  You might be like me. I thought I was a pretty good Catholic when I started this blog. And I don’t exactly think I am or was ever a “bad” person. I get the big things right : I haven’t killed anyone; I don’t steal or cheat; I always say I’m sorry; I pray; I give generously to charity; and I work hard to put the needs of others before my own. 

But when you get down to the nuances…there’s where things get a little fuzzy. For instance, God doesn’t want us to harm ourselves. I’m not exactly out there engaging in risky behaviors. I don’t drink, don’t smoke, have never done drugs, don’t bungy jump, jump out of air planes; or sign up for one-way tickets to Mars. But. I’m a diabetic. And I’m not exactly good at that. It’s not that I like sweets; I do, but those things can be controlled. I’m just not exactly a big exerciser, sometimes I forget my insulin, and sometimes I actually don’t eat enough. I don’t have a lot of structure in my life. That can be problematic – and maybe it’s sinful, too. After all, I did end up in the cardio unit not so long ago due to my inability to care about my health.

Once upon a time, I used to be really good at celebrating birthdays, milestones, special events. I kept Hallmark running. I sent people gifts and flowers. Sometimes for no reason other than I wanted them to be happy. I still often remember those dates. But I can’t remember the last time I sent a card. I miss parties, cancel plans, etc. Sin? Probably not. But those habits certainly keep me from experiencing joy and sharing it with others. Mostly because of laziness. I think that’s one of the seven deadly, isn’t it? The Church calls it sloth.

It seems when it comes to spreading Catholicism, we all have this idea that were supposed to be pointing out the logs in one another’s eyes, instead of discovering where we go wrong ourselves. If you don’t believe me, get a Twitter account, and start following anyone who says they’re a Catholic. Then sit back and watch them fight with each other (me included) over how much more they know about God, religion and sin. If you don’t think there are schisms in the making within the Church, you soon won’t know how it survived this long after a few tweets.

Jesus tells us all the time in the Bible and at Mass – we are all sinners. Even Pope Francis admits it. WE ALL HAVE DEMONS. Sins we fight to resist. Which means none of us are better than any other. I have issues with anger. I have friends and family who have trouble with lust, greed, gluttony, and jealousy. It’s the same struggle to be a better person under different circumstances. We should be embracing one another, differences aside, recognizing we fight the same evil in different forms.

Yet were too busy telling other Catholics their kids are too loud in Church, that they don’t give enough in the collection, or that they shouldn’t wear certain clothing to Mass. Perhaps if we took that time to look inside, we just might discover just how far we ourselves are from God.

In the last year or so, I’ve started reading my Bible, exploring Catholic literature, and referencing the Catholic Catechism. I’ve learned quite a bit. Stuff I thought I would have known after 18 years of solid Catholic education. I started making connections to my life I never made. I’ve even started saying the Rosary, which I’ve never done before.

The closer I get to God, the less important my own idiosyncrasies seem. The more I realize others have their own extenuating circumstances that may make them late, crabby, or particular about something. The more I realize that being Catholic, or the best Catholic I can be, is downright HARD!

You all know that too. That’s where people – all people – trying to live a Catholic life are special. We embrace the difficulty of life as Catholic – we don’t turn away from God because what he asks is challenging. But we are not perfect, not even one of us. It’s our job to be harder on ourselves, not on one another. There are enough people out in the world who are hard on Catholics. 

We must take an even harder road – embrace one another, differences and personal demons included, and realize we too are imperfect. And together present a united front to the world that questions our faith.

Giving it Up

My daughter announced this morning on the way to school that she was giving up ALL video games and tv for Lent. My younger daughter countered with chocolate chip cookies.
They wanted to know what I was giving up. But first, I thought it was important to discuss their choices.
Last year, oldest daughter gave up Disney Infinity. And she was successful, even though this was her favorite thing at that time. It may still be, as Grandma just produced a Jasmine character. She is a gamer at heart. X-Box, Infinity, Kindle, you name it. And she also loves tv (I know, this makes me an awful parent.)
I told her I didn’t think it was wise to set herself up for failure (and a month+ of moaning and trying to get me to buy her some video thing she didn’t give up.) So she began to qualify. She wasn’t giving up America’s Funniest Videos, cause that’s on Sundays. I told her to think about paring it down a bit more.
As for the other one, I asked when she last had a chocolate chip cookie. She didn’t know, but she told me she wouldn’t be able to have one at Max & Erma’s Free Cookie Wednesday. We were once regulars for that…..not so much since they started running on Wednesdays last September. Seemed a little too easy for her. So she suggested M&Ms. Which aren’t even her favorite candy. Let’s face it. She wants it to sound hard,but not really be hard. More thinking about what Lent is about.
I have to admit, I was like the younger of the two as a child. I was good at doing things that can’t be measured, like helping my mom or giving up gum, which I wasn’t really into anyway. These two have challenged me this year to give up my one vice. Diet cola. I think this is a good idea in theory. I have been working on cutting back, and I have, significantly. (It’s difficult and probably disgusting to discuss just how much I drink.) I’m fearful I cannot go without it.
My other idea was to give up naps. I’m pretty sure that’s impossible, since I take some meds that make me sleep. So, slight problem. (I’m convinced docs and pharma are in cahoots to produce drugs that make people rest, since we never really do. But that’s another blog.)
In my mind, I’ve always believed one of the most important parts of parenting was leading by example. I know this is true when I watch my beauties pick up on my stupid bad habits. Or, less regularly, when they pick up on the good ones. (I do have some.)
So, it looks like my beloved Diet Pepsi will be taking a little vaca. (I started boycotting Coke when they hired Michael Sam to represent them – not because he’s gay, but because he proposed to his partner on top of a Vatican building.)
This year will likely be the most challenging Lent I my lifetime. I know that sounds pathetic, but when you don’t drink, don’t do drugs and have diabetes, diet soda can become your only indulgence. (That and chocolate.)
I’m sort of excited about this. I know I can do it. I don’t know if I actually want to do it, but I think real sacrifice is the next step on my road back to the arms of God. I’ll let you know in 40 days.