Skip to main content

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)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Secret Santa!!

Too old for Santa? I think not.

Yes, there are discussions as to whether we should "lie" to kids and tell them that Santa brings them gifts vs. We can't lie to the kids; it's wrong.

There is also the "Christmas is about Jesus" vs. "But Santa is magical!"

You know, we have so few magical and joyful moments, and less and less as we get older. Santa is fun. And the kids usually figure it out, and no one I know was ever scarred for life for believing that Santa brought them and every child everywhere a toy for Christmas.

It's the magic of looking up at the sky on a clear December night, thinking "I'll wait up to see Santa" and later, as you fell asleep at the window, being in your daddy's arms as he carries you to bed.

It's the magic of putting out cookies and milk (or beer, because Santa does like beer) and maybe some carrots for the reindeer, and then checking in the morning to make sure the food was all consumed.

It's…

Advent Brokenness

It was a lovely May evening, the kind we in Michigan savor like honey. After the brutal cold of winter, flowers blossomed, grass greened, mosquitoes flocked. School was almost done for the year - just the formalities of 8th grade graduation were ahead.

Why not saddle up the horse and go for a ride? Why not, indeed. So my sister and I did. I took Prince out across the road from our house, to romp through the weeds on a path my father mowed for us. The view from horseback on a spring night - well, nearly Heaven.

Until Prince bolted. He spooked. I fell. And my arm broke. Compound fracture.

My dog, a collie, had followed us out. He was not particularly trusting of Prince, as Prince would never allow himself to be herded, and this vexed my collie. My dog, channeling his inner Lassie, ran home without me.

My sister had been in the yard with her boyfriend at the time, Gary, waiting for me to come back. Instead, it was just the dog loping across the road. That didn't seem right, so my si…