Sunday, Bloody Sunday
As a child, Sundays meant three things: annoying my sister, Mom’s pasta with meat sauce, and going to Church. Church was a non-negotiable. We all had to go, every Sunday — one of the joys of having a Roman Catholic Italian family. I often say attending mass is some of the best discipline a child can receive. I think a part of me even enjoyed it, since as I sang in the children’s choir and attended youth group meetings every week.
It’s interesting how there’s a moment where it all changes. I think college is the culprit. Those early Sunday prayers are not quite as attractive as a few extra hours of sleep to nurse last night’s hangover. Besides, none of the other kids are going, because, well, church, formality and discipline just aren’t cool. (As “Not Cool” by Greg Gutfeld explains.) And you don’t want to be that kid who goes voluntarily.
And so, I must confess… I am a closeted Catholic. That’s right. I often go to to Church on Sundays. I recite the prayers from memory, always put some money in the collection plate, and yes, I even sing along with the cantor (it’s my favorite part.) But I don’t dare tell anyone how I spend my mornings, because I don’t want to be judged for it. You see, practicing Catholics seem to get a bad rap. Most have this idea of sheltered or extreme God fearing folks who do little else but judge those who are unlike them.
I, however, choose to show people that I am a Catholic rather than tell them. Actions speak louder than words, and stick for much longer. Besides, attending mass is something I do for me, not anyone else. I’ve never had a poor experience with church, and attending reminds me of my family and happy times. Plus, it’s free therapy – a time to reflect, feel grateful, and focus on those who need help the most.
In today’s sermon, the priest brought up a particularly interesting idea about church attendance and humanity. The United States claims a higher rate of weekly mass attendance than the Philippines, but our abortion rate among teens is much higher. (He used actual percentages, but my mental notes escaped me.) One would think that people of faith would see less terminations. Of course, there can be numerous socio-economic reasons for the statistics being as such, but the priest made an excellent point – one that speaks to today’s culture. If we fail to respect the human life that surrounds us, how can we expect respect for life before it is born? It is one thing to say you attend mass, to quote bible passages or preach the good word, but to practice it, to live in holiness, graciousness, and kindness is much more difficult — and much more effective. My Sundays serve as a reminder to value and effect humanity in a positive way.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the state of the world (especially when you work in the news) but hope is not lost. Even for those who don’t pray or believe in God, there is still goodness in the world. We just have to choose to look for it and live in it.
Now go eat a bowl of pasta and complain about Monday.
(speaking of my childhood. so good.)