Skip to comments.Routine Religion and Cafeteria Catholicism
Posted on 12/05/2006 2:06:07 PM PST by Coleus
Jesus said to them: "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And as for you, Capernaum, 'Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld.'" Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me."
Introductory Prayer: Jesus, my Lord and my God, increase my faith. May I never waver amidst this unbelieving world.
Petition: Lord, help me to always to make good use of your precious grace.
1. Routine Religion. Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum were three very privileged towns. They had been the site of much of Jesus early preaching and miracles in Galilee. Given the tone of Jesus reproach, it is obvious that while the people there had received many graces, the spiritual fruits were disappointing and paltry. Why was that? Perhaps the people just got a little too used to miracles. Seeing Jesus cure a cripple or hearing him preach a parable had become a frequent occurrence. Instead of seeing this as a responsibility To whom much is given, much is expected -- perhaps it became routine entertainment for them. Have I myself fallen victim to routine religion? Do I feel responsible for producing fruits for all the incredible graces that the Lord has given me through the Church?
2. Cafeteria Catholicism. Routine is an enemy to producing fruits in our faith. The selective approach can hurt as well. In a cafeteria, a person can choose what he wants: He can fill up on dessert and leave aside the brussel sprouts or anything else he doesnt care for. If his sweet tooth is his only guide to nutrition, the result is predictable. The same is true in our life of grace; we risk a spiritual obesity crisis by filling up on the carbohydrates of warm feelings while leaving aside the stern, but healthy, fare of asceticism and moral demands. We need both! We need to feel loved and we need to be challenged. When the cross makes its appearance, I need to reflect: This is good for me!
3. Spiritual Hearing. Listening to the Church is vital for our spiritual well-being: Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me. Graham Greene, a lapsed Catholic writer, wrote a perceptive paragraph in one of his later short stories, A Visit to Morin: I can tell myself now that my lack of belief is a final proof that the Church is right and the faith is true. I had cut myself off for twenty years from grace and my belief withered as the priests said it would. I don't believe in God and his Son and his angels and his saints, but I know the reason why I don't believe and the reason is the Church is true and what she taught me is true. For twenty years I have been without the sacraments and I can see the effect. The wafer must be more than a wafer (cited in Edward Short, The Catholic Novels of Graham Green, Crisis, April 2005, p. 43). Let us work hard on our spiritual lives so that we dont become negative proof of the Lords words.
Dialogue with Christ: Lord, open my ears that I may always hear you. When pride and sensuality prompt me to take an easier way, when I am beginning to fall into routine, send me a spiritual wakeup call that will keep me on the road that leads to true happiness: everlasting life with you.
Resolution: I will embrace today that cross I have been avoiding.
good meditation for Advent, thank you