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Are your spiritual needs not being met?

I'm reading a book right now called "Everyone Leads: How to revitalize the Catholic Church." It's written by a business guy who has suggestions about how to get folks who are in the Church excited about the Faith, and bring more folks in.

I can't say I agree with all of his thoughts, but he does have a few ideas worth pondering. However, at one point, he talks about the reasons people give for leaving the Church. One of the leading answers is, "My spiritual needs were not being met."

My eyes rolled so hard my head sounded like a slot machine.

First, (and maybe you are aware of this, so forgive me) the Church does not exist for you. Yes, Jesus loves you. He died for you. He has made Himself present in all the sacraments for you. But get over yourself. There are a billion Catholics in the world. At any given time, someone is gonna feel like their "needs are not being met."

You know how when we were growing up, Mom made one meal for dinner? You ate that, or you were hungry. It's kinda like that. Some nights you feasted, and some nights you fasted.

Second, I wonder if those who've left because their "spiritual needs were not being met" ever gave much thought to the responsibility they have to sustaining their own spiritual life? Yep, YOU have a responsibility to feed yourself - not simply wait for someone else to feed you. We are not featherless baby chicks stuck in a nest waiting for Mom to come back and regurgitate worms for us.

Everyone past the age of reason has the responsibility to grow spiritually. And yes, I realize this is easier to do in some parishes than others. (Really, don't get me started.) But even if you belong to a parish where Father has not given an original homily since Ed Sullivan introduced Elvis (Go look it up, sweetie), there are marvelous things called books. Also, purchase a book of Catholic prayers. If you don't know how to say the Rosary, learn. And then say it. Every. Single. Day.

Examine your conscience. Go to confession. Read about the saints. Ask the saints to intercede for you in prayer. Pray for your priest - even if you don't like him. (Especially  if you don't like him.)

Look for good religious communities of brothers and sisters and go make friends. Volunteer for your parish or diocese. Join the choir. Join the Knights of Columbus. Heck, start a Tuesday morning knitting group and pray for the folks in your parish as you knit 1, purl 2.

But DO NOT LEAVE.

Yes, parish life can be unsatisfying. It can be infuriating. It can make us grouchy. It can also sustain us and empower us and feed us.

Maybe you're one of those folks for whom parish life is unsatisfying. Before you leave, do this: take 3 months. Every day of those three months, pray the Rosary. Read the Mass readings of the day and ponder them prayerfully. Give thanks before every meal, even when you're dining out. Go to Mass every Sunday (bonus points if you go more often!). Read the life of one saint.

Then, at the end of those 3 months, if you still feel like leaving: go talk to your priest. Have a heart-to-heart. Tell him everything you've been doing, and that you're still not feelin' it.

But DO NOT LEAVE. We need you. You need us. And get over yourself. Worry less about your spiritual needs being met, and more about the needs of your brothers and sisters. You may notice a remarkable change in your spiritual life.

Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” (Jn. 6:67-69)

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