Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sunday Obligation, Rules, Emotions, and Me

My new schedule says I'm supposed to write something about "being Catholic" today. The first one, last week, "Ancient Style and Today's Discussions at the 'Vatican Science Academy' " (October 2, 2011), was about part of the Catholic Church that focuses on one of my interests: the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. That, and the Church's clerical uniforms: very briefly.

I don't stay focused on one topic: not easily. And that's another topic.

Desperately Seeking a Topic

This week I thought I had something to write about when I heard the second reading at Mass: Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20. That's the one that starts:
"I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need. I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me."
(Philippians 4:12-13)
Chewing it over, I remembered that I'd posted about wealth, poverty, and getting a grip, before.1

Besides, I'd be likely to start rambling about my checkered job history. I've been a sales clerk, beet chopper, radio disk jockey, office worker, and there I go: starting to ramble.

A King; Guests, Invited and Otherwise; and Being Prepared?

A few minutes after that bit from Philippians, Father Statz was talking about Matthew 22:1-14, the parable about a king and wedding guests. It's not one of those 'comforting,' feel-good parables. Not for me, anyway. There's the start of a discussion of it in footnote 1 of Matthew 22.

He mentioned, again, this statistic: 27% of Catholics (in context, I'm guessing that's Catholics in America) go to Mass each week. That's probably why we have three extra Masses on Easter and Christmas: to handle the 'Easter and Christmas' folks.

I'm glad, in a way, that so many folks apparently feel like going once or twice a year. And that's not what I'll be writing about, quite.

Church on Sunday: What's the Big Deal?

I go to church each Sunday because I have to. It's in the rules: Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2180-2183. Sometimes I go late Saturday afternoon: which the bishops in this country say is okay in their territory.

I'm a convert to Catholicism, so maybe you'd expect me to be rabidly gung-ho about the spiritual ecstasy I feel each and every Sunday. That's not gonna happen, for several reasons:
  1. I think there are quite enough gushy impression pieces about the beauties of the Mass
  2. I'd have a hard time keeping a straight face while writing something like that
    • No criticism intended to folks who write and enjoy that sort of thing
  3. I don't have that sort of glorious-visions-and-heavenly-voices 'mountain top' experience
    • Which is fine by me
    • I'd be a little suspicious if my faith was based on emotional highs
      • More than a little suspicious
I think that Catechism of the Catholic Church, Article 3 | The Third Commandment, is a pretty good place to start learning about why the Catholic Church makes such a big deal about 'church on Sunday:'
"The Sunday celebration of the Lord's Day and his Eucharist is at the heart of the Church's life...."
(Catechism, 2177-2179)
There's more: Catechism, The Sacrament of the Eucharist, for starters.

Maybe I should feel like a hyperventilating teenager at a rock concert each time we celebrate Mass. I don't know. But I go, when possible, because I'm supposed to. And because no matter what my emotions are doing at the moment: for at least a few minutes each week, I'm with my Lord at the Last Supper, and Golgotha, and beyond.

I think it's worth the hour it takes each week.

Somewhat-related posts:

1 I even had a post titled, "Success, Wealth, Poverty, and Getting a Grip." Bottom line, as nearly as I've been able to find out:
  • It's okay to be
    • Rich
      • What matters is how a wealthy person deals with it
    • Poor
      • What matters is how a poor person deals with it
  • Money
    • Isn't
      • Good
      • Bad
      • What matters is what each of us does with what we've got
  • Love of money is
A few decades ago, one of reasons folks were supposed to loathe and detest the Catholic Church was that we stole from the poor and gave to the rich. Specifically, those men in the Vatican.

As propaganda, it's surprisingly effective. Partly, I think, because St. Peter's in Rome is an amazing work of architecture, the Vatican's museums and libraries store treasures collected over two millennia, and you're not likely to find a headline about Catholics doing something nice.

Part of our mandate is to care for the poor, which the Church handles by having a few folks coordinating whatever work needs doing: and 'boots on the ground' in most places where local authorities let us in. More:
As far as being okay with the Church having St. Peter's as headquarters? I'd much rather be explaining why I didn't fuss about a fraction of 1,000,000,000 or so Catholics' resources getting spent on a visible reminder of my Lord's church in the world; than why we had the Pope celebrating Mass in a pole barn.

Good grief, this footnote is long enough to be a post by itself. And that's yet another topic.


Brigid said...

For some reason, this post shows up as having been posted yesterday.

Your fingers have a cold? "maybe you'd expect be to be rabidly"

What what? "What matters is what a poor person deals with it"

This is missing a bullet point: "What matters is what each of us does with what we've got"

At or as? "St. Peter's at headquarters?"

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian Gill said...


About the time stamp, my guess is that we're looking at a 'reader software' issue again. The date/time stamps appearing in Blogger's domain ( are the 'official' ones.

The rest? Yep. Found, fixed, and thanks.

Karee Santos said...

There's a lot to be said for a sense of duty. I know that we should cultivate a love and a passionate love for Our Lord in the Sacrament of the Mass, but sometimes my heart is cold. Without a sense of duty, I wouldn't do what's good for me unless I felt like it. And that would ultimately harm me.

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From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.