Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Minor Rant

During Lent the other priests of the Cathedral and I offered weekly lessons/reflections on various elements of priesthood for the Year of the Priest.  I addressed the history of the priesthood in two sections and then concluded the series with thoughts on living In Persona Christi.  The people asked some great questions which always left me thinking afterward.  

On one of those occasions (I cannot recall exactly what prompted my comments in this regard) I remember exhorting the people to commit their lives to something.  This exhortation is near to my own heart because shortly before my ordination as a deacon, I was afraid to make a lifelong commitment.  It seemed as though I would be losing my freedom.  In a sense, that was true.  I was making a decision not to be free to make every choice on my own.  I was choosing not to always get to do what was easiest or the most fun.  In a word, I was choosing against selfishness.  Because of that commitment, I am happier than I have ever been.  One would not expect this to be the case given how people behave, though.

It is simply maddening as we work on the We Walk By Faith Campaign.  I call and call and call, more or less begging people to attend an informational meeting.  People will not commit to going to an event even to learn about the project.  Then, they are annoyed because I call again.  For Pete's sake people!  Just come and hear what we have to say.  If you don't want to participate after that, I really do not care.  But I will continue calling you until you tell me that you are coming or until you simply refuse to participate in any fashion at all.  Either answer is fine with me.  Just make up your mind, and then do as you say you are going to do.

This same lack of commitment exposes itself in other simple things.  For instance, to date, only about a dozen people have committed to attending World Youth Day in Spain, and no amount of advertising and cajoling can convince the kids to commit to the event right now.  Some are worried that it might overlap with the first day of college classes (as if anything meaningful happens then anyway).  Others are worried that we won't be able to raise enough money.  More are simply convinced that they might miss something more fun by committing to this event so far in advance.  I wish I could shout from the top of the Church, "Commit!"  

People of my generation and younger are especially afraid of committing to anything.  It is not only frustrating in terms of minor things like World Youth Day and Steubenville North.  It is devastating in the more important areas of life.  "Why should we not just live together for a while in case we decide that we can find something better than each other?"  Or better, "I can't commit because I may not be able to do it."  Of course you can't do it.  That's why you get married and ask for the grace of God to sustain you.  I love this one: "I can't go to the seminary because I might not be called to be a priest."  How do you ever propose to find out?  "I want to go to college and discern if I am called to the seminary."  Wrong.  You go to the seminary to discern that.  An attempt to do so outside of the seminary will almost certainly be met with failure.

Commitment is not to be feared.  It is freeing.  It was so amazing the day after my ordination to realize that I no longer needed to worry about whether or not to be a priest.  All I had to do was keep the commitment I had made.  Even when I do so poorly, I do not have to question whether or not I have discerned correctly or if I have done the right thing.  I just have to do what I said I would do.

So, for the sake of your sanity and the salvation of your souls, commit to something before losing the good thing that is staring you in the face. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

I appreciate your comments and thoughts. I do not appreciate vulgarity, attacks on me, the Church, or other people who comment. Comments of this variety will not be published.