You Have To Do To Be

2 Aug

“Anyone who thinks sitting in church can make you a Christian must also think that sitting in a garage can make you a car.”  ~ Garrison Keillor

When I saw the quote above, I was immediately swept back to third grade, hearing, for the first time, about “Faithful Freddie”.  The Sisters used to tell us the old adage, “Faithful Freddie thought he would get to heaven by going to church on Sunday; but, Faithful Freddie went to hell for what he did on Monday.”  This was the Sisters’ not-so-subtle way of reminding us — young and impressionable as we were — that church attendance was not the only thing that we needed to do in order to please God.  We actually had to put the faith into practice.

That, as you can well imagine to a young person, was disappointing news.  Sitting at Mass and warming up the pew was one thing.  Being told that we had to be kind, forgiving, and loving — even to our siblings?! — was just more than we wanted to hear.  Yet, there it was.  If we were to be called “Christian”, we had to live as Christians and that meant more than merely attending church on the weekend.

That rule has certainly not changed.  If anything, it needs to be vigorously reinforced more often.  There are too many people out there who think that they are doing just fine going to Mass at Christmas and Easter.  They think they are doing just fine avoiding the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  They are deluding themselves and, sadly, they are taking others with them down a dark path, especially their children and other family members and friends.

There are people who claim that they do not need any Church, any organized religion.  They call themselves “spiritual”.  Yet, spirituality without any real guidance or practice can quickly lead a person astray.  One of the reasons we worship together is so that we can have the knowledge that the faith means something to more people than just ourselves.  When we gather with a large group of people, praying and worshiping together and taking Communion together, we remember that we are a part of a larger family, the family of God.

Families have been under fire for quite some time now.  Extracurricular activities have split up many families even to the point where they rarely do anything together, not even partake of a common meal.  Even in church, it is common to see some family members attend one Mass, others another, and still others a third.  Those families cannot even seem to find the time to worship together.

The more we try to practice our faith, the harder the world will work against us.  The world, being steeped in sin, is not our friend.  The world wants us to forget about commitment and responsibility and to care only for self.  The world tells us that it is all right to be non-committal when it comes to the practice of any kind of faith.

Don’t let the world win.  We cannot be part-time Christians.  It is an all or nothing reality.

FAITH ACTION:  Make sure that your words and your actions today are proof to those around you that you are a follower of Christ.