For perhaps the first time in my life, I'm reading the Acts of the Apostles
. Alison gave me the fantastic Ignatius Catholic Study Bible for Father's Day this year and I've been working my way through the Gospels and other books of the New Testament. I wrote earlier this year about how I've been reading the Bible footnotes
along with the actual text and how much richer of an experience it is.
While reading Acts, I noticed something quite interesting. Considered as stories happening within their place in history, the early Christians were truly counter-cultural. We've heard that we're supposed to be counter-cultural ourselves, but the early Christians really took it to heart. Everything that they did was basically the complete opposite of what the rest of their culture was doing.
We're the salt of the Earth, but we've become rather bland. Polls and statistics
show that we mirror the rest of society in divorce rates and that most of us agree more with societal preference on social issues than with the Church's teaching. Said another way, we've become so ingrained in society, we've lost that which makes us special.
It's time to re-engage. The Church has always sought the betterment of people, true freedom of conscience and action, and to care for the poor, weak, and vulnerable. The fact is, we have the tools that make us truly counter-cultural. We have the Eucharist, the Sacraments, and a base of theology and philosophy so strong that no man, idea, or empire has been able to topple the Church since Her founding.
We need to return to Mass. Less than a quarter
of Catholics go to Mass on a weekly basis. Sunday Mass is an obligation because the Church knows how much we need time for rest and nourishment. The Eucharist is the fuel of our lives and the more frequently we receive, the more graces we have to live a holy (and happy!) life. We need to get rid of our pride. Pride will kill a person faster than anything else. By recognizing, in humility, that the Church has a treasury of wisdom and by seeking to understand Her teachings, we can understand what She actually says, not what someone told us She says.
Being called a hypocrite isn't the worst thing in the world. To be human means to fail. It also means that when we receive new information, we can change. That's not hypocrisy, it's maturity. Through a spirit of constant renewal, we can work every day to become better people.
The early Christians were truly set apart from their peers. As a result, people were inspired by their lives and flocked to their fledgling Church. It's time for us to mirror their example. Go to Mass, learn the Church's teachings, and live a life that makes you truly free.