I’m More Catholic Than You

“It is dangerous to make everyone go forward by the same road, and worse to measure others by yourself.”  (St. Ignatius of Loyola)

Dear Fellow Good, Practicing Catholics,

Please stop trying to “out-Catholic” others all the time.

I get it, you know the faith really well.  You’ve read some (or maybe many) books and watched some faith-based shows and movies.  You’ve heard some great speakers and been on some highly spiritual retreats.  You’ve had deep encounters with God and maybe have a deep understanding of one thing or another.  Perhaps there’s someone in your family with religious vocation or you are good friends with a priest or a nun.

Maybe you are able to get to daily Mass.  Or have a daily Holy Hour.  Perhaps you serve the Church in some form of ministry.  Possibly you have a deep devotion to Mary or one (or many) of the saints.  Novenas might be a regular form of prayer for you or perhaps you never miss praying your daily rosary.

Uh-oh! I made a joke about holiness...i must not be very Catholic!

You might be an activist who stands outside of Planned Parenthood every Saturday morning to pray for the end of abortions.  Or, maybe you write letters to your congressmen on a regular basis trying to get laws changed.  Maybe you vehemently oppose all things secular or use Facebook as a platform to preach the word of God.

And, every one of those things are good and noble.  But, they don’t make you a “better” Catholic than everyone else.

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The Anti-Swaying Movement

I’ve been a youth minister for nearly 7 years and before that I attended a fairly well-known, extremely Catholic university.  Consequently, I’ve attended quite a few retreats, rallies, conferences, Christian concerts, etc.  So, it is not out of ignorance or pure opinion that I will make the following statement…I make it based on experience, observations, and, well, okay, some personal opinion.

Swaying is ridiculous.

What is it about people being together in shared faith, singing a song with a slower beat and meaningful words that makes them feel the need to throw their arms around another person’s shoulders and move ridiculously from side to side?  I feel pretty confident when I say that the vast majority of people DO NOT ENJOY THIS.

From my observations, the starting point of a sway is somewhere in the middle of a group, when a person is either inspired to share a moment with a nearby friend or they feel some sort of unexplainable outside pressure to begin this ritual.  And, others in the near vicinity feel it is their duty to participate.  Seriously, have you ever tried to be a non-swayer in the middle of a sway-line?  It’s nearly impossible.

I have also noticed that the person on the end of the sway is really in the most awkward position.  What are they supposed to do with their outside arm?  Just let it hang there?  Raise it in the air?  Put it in their pocket?

Swaying does nothing but distract people from the song that they are trying to sing wholeheartedly or words they are trying to pray along with.  And, if we’re really honest about it, we all think it’s pretty dumb.

So, will you join us as we wrap our arms around one another, lean from left to right, and fight for a world free of that awkward moment when the sway starts?

(Disclaimer: This anti-swaying sentiment does not include the swaying that is necessary for parents to calm a child at Mass or one of the earlier mentioned events.  Obviously, that is a necessity.)

And, don’t EVEN get me started on the dreaded Cross-Clap.

What is a Catholic Realist?

“Well, actually, there’s a 100% chance we’ll ALL die.”

I made this statement the other day after someone was commenting on the prognosis of another person who is fighting cancer.  Needless to say, I was met with raised eyebrows and sideways glances.  And, you’re doing it right now, too.  I can just feel it.

What?  It’s a true fact.  We’re ALL…GOING…TO….DIE!  There’s a 100% chance of it.  That person fighting cancer just has a better idea of when it’s going to happen than you or I do.

But, this blog isn’t about death…

Some people would read that statement above and say, “Wow, she’s a negative person.”  In fact, people have said it to my face on many occasions.  But, I find this really weird because I’m not being negative.  I’m being factual.  I’m stating a REAL truth.  The fact that all of us, someday, WILL die is not a negative thing.  In fact, the sooner we grasp this reality, come to terms with it, and understand that death is actually a marvelous thing (hello, HEAVEN is on the other side!), the sooner will enjoy and appreciate our life in a more meaningful way.

Again, this blog isn’t about death…

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