Monday, October 18, 2010

Bill Clinton is Right

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton was right when he stated this past week at a UCLA rally, "When we care about something in America that's really important to us, like football, we know the facts." Of course, he was speaking about politics skewed to his particular leanings. I'd like to explore the meaning of his quotation from a different standpoint.

Is spirituality important to us? Is religion important to us? Is the Catholic faith important to us? Is God important to us? Do we know the facts?

Are Moses and Jesus contemporaries, or do they come from different eras? Why are we constantly crossing ourselves in church? Why do we stand up for a blessing? What does the Church teach about artificial birth control and why? What is the difference between discipline and dogma,  between small 't' tradition and big 'T' Tradition?

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz told the New York Times that he wants Starbucks to become a “third place” in people's lives. People have home, work and then a coffee house or bar as the three places that they focus most of their life's activities.

I'd like to think that we humans can handle a bit more than three important places in our lives. Perhaps a life is like a stove with  four burners. Two burners are in the front for top priorities, and two are in the back for important aspects of life that get less play day to day. I contend that for every believer, the Church should be on one of those burners. How can we be sure that God and the Church are priorities in our lives? 

Random Practical Ideas- Some from Mom and Dad
  • Go to church on Sundays and feast days. Discuss the Gospel and the homily with family over coffee and donuts. Many Catholics are hit and miss on Sundays- let's start there.
  • Don't shop on Sundays. Make the Sabbath day holy by going to Mass and then spending time with family at home, the park or somewhere besides the 'cathedral of conspicuous consumption.' This might seem impossible, but in most of Europe, shops close early Friday and don't open again until Monday. Everyone prepares ahead of time for the weekend. 
  • Listen to only classical or Christian music on Sundays. My parents insisted on this during my childhood. It really helps set the day apart from the rest of the week.
  • Say grace before eating a meal- even in a restaurant!  
  • Educate yourself about God and the Church through the Bible and other books. Watch religious videos occasionally.  Catholic school is not necessarily the best way to do this (sorry Mom and Dad- sometimes I think you wasted your hard earned money....but that's another post).
  • Print an easy morning and evening prayer card, place it on your bedside table, and say a prayer when you go to sleep and wake up. Nightmares averted!
  • Subscribe to a good Catholic magazine and buy The Catechism of the Catholic Church. Place both in the bathroom. Eventually, everyone will read these and learn!
  • Go meatless every Friday. Why not? Many people are vegans every day of the year. It is such a beautiful reminder of Jesus' sacrifice. And there is something a little bit....gross...about eating meat when we are remembering Jesus' death on the cross.
  • Get some holy water and use it.  Sprinkle it on squabbling siblings if you are so inclined (thanks, Mom).
  • Decide if you and your family are going to make God and church a priority. There is only so much time in the day.  Church needs to be on one of the four burners to be a priority.  --- What if the marriage is mixed? Hopefully, the kids can go to church with you. Then, come home and build a nice family atmosphere. Still refrain from shopping and try to have a sabbath.  Have a popcorn and DVD afternoon together when you get back from church on Sunday. Ask your non-Catholic spouse to participate in some 'corporal works of mercy activities' with the family- mow the lawn of an older neighbor, collect food for the food bank,  write letters to our servicemen overseas. The talents of your family will determine activities that will be interesting and meaningful to you.
 So- Clinton was right in saying that we make things a priority if it is important to us. It would be a shame if we know more about the latest celebrity scandal or sports stats instead of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church.


    6 comments:

    1. It's nice that you remember these things. Memory comes back even more when you're older. Parents are appreciated, or less annoyances as we age. I actually thank my mom for her strength...it has surely passed on to the next generation.

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    2. i missed this post-- very nice and true-

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    3. Not sure what parts of Europe you're talking about... I've lived in Hungary for three years and, while some places close on Sunday, most shops are still open.

      Great post! I like the idea of using holy water on fighting siblings.

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    4. I was in Romania and Austria this summer- most likely not in Vienna- but the village I was in closes down for the weekend.

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    5. annony11- I hope you have visited Esztergom- it's my favorite part of Hungary

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