Say Goodbye to Mediocrity
The First two weeks of the Christmas season is a good time to consider what changes we plan to make in ourselves for 2004. It takes about six weeks for a new practice to take hold in our lives and about twelve for a bad habit to die. So now is a time to not just make a New Year's Resolution to lose weight also to develop a new mindset and to eliminate the manifestations of the old one.
The New Mindset: Reject mediocrity. Embrace the Christian vocation fully, the Pope and other giants of holiness often exhort us to this. They also warn us to get rid of the American habit to accept the lower standards of faith. Get rid of all practices associated with anything less than seeking to serve Christ excellently. Mediocrity is killing us as Catholics.
Remember last year's Easter Vigil when each parishioner holding a candle helped bring more light into the Church. Imagine that scene when you are thinking of an electric sign filled with bad bulbs. 'HELLO' looks like '!!FI_ )'. Each unlit bulb changes the message until it makes no sense. That is what a Church filled with mediocre believers is, a group of dim bulbs that put forth an unintelligible message.
Therefore, this is a good week to consider the need to say goodbye to mediocrity. How do we do this? We see where we compromise our commitment to the gospel with worldly values and where we need to change.
Start with the creed. Do you believe every tenet? If not, why not? The creed is the basic list of beliefs we as Christians maintain. If you do not believe in the Virgin Birth, then you cannot be a dynamic Catholic. Pray and ask God to help you understand how Mary's virginity makes sense. What about the resurrection? Did you decide to listen to the Jesus Seminar tell you that Jesus did not resurrect bodily from the dead, but that he resurrects in his spirit? You do realize that this means Jesus is no different than George Washington or Benjamin Franklin. You also realize that you call St. Paul a liar when you read 1 Corinthians chapter fifteen the oldest eyewitness account of Jesus' resurrection.
Now look at how much your beliefs affect your life. How much of your day is spent watching television and which programs do you watch. Are you careful about the fare? Do you really think major Hollywood producers share your values? You deceive yourself if you do. Do not compromise your beliefs by spending hours in front of a television absorbing the ideas of a handful of a few media moguls who reject Christ along with the law and prophets. Be selective and watch only the best programs which, you will soon realize, are few and far between. Otherwise you are literally wasting God's gift of time.
How do you spend your time? You know, you do not have to join the Cistercian order to serve Christ. In fact, God calls you to live your faith where you are. (Provided you are not a member of COYOTE or any other union of immoral workers) Do you live Christ enough that your existence challenges non-believers? Do people even know that you are a Catholic? Are you reading the best of spiritual and secular books?
Do you take seriously your vocation to marriage? That means more than just being faithful. I have seen dead marriages where neither spouse is unfaithful. Do you spend quality time together keeping the flame alive? Do you love your children enough to parent them and not have them parent you? Do you pray together as a family? Spouses, do you pray together?
If you are single, how is your prayer life? Do you realize that your present marital status allows you to develop a unique relationship with Jesus Christ that will assist you in your daily vocation, and if so called, in the vocation to marriage?
Finally, parish priest: Do you take time to be alone with God and enjoy his presence? Do you rejuvenate yourself in prayer? Do you use the breviary as true prayer instead of a required burden?
This is a good time to ask ourselves, as we look forward to life in 2004, how we will cast mediocrity from our lives. Remember, our vocation individually and as a community is to preach 'Christ Lives', not '(!!Fi^I _i/uS'.
Archdiocese of Boston
http://www.catholicismanew.org MA, US
Fr. Robert J. Carr - Parochial Vicar, 617 542-5682
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