Every issue I have posed in last week’s article has been an ongoing challenge for me and countless other people I know. We seek frequent engagement and entertainment. We struggle in prayer or at Mass because it seems boring. We might go from parish to parish looking for some sort of “Catholic buzz” to keep us entertained. Our brains, craving more and more stimulation, are incapable of finding peace.
We must realize this is not healthy behavior. How do we change?
1. Turn off the Noise.
We have to turn off at least some of the noise. Our spiritual A.D.D. is fed by our addiction to too much input from various sources. Don’t listen to the radio in the car. Eliminate most, if not all, TV time. Read more books. Get outside more often. Find time for quiet reflection and prayer every day.
2. Show Priests Respect
We need to show more respect for our priests and quit looking to them for entertainment. They are not here to make Mass “exciting.” We are at Mass to offer worship and receive the Eucharist; not to hear an emotional homily or loud music.
3. Remember what Mass is about
Mass is about the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. Have we prayed to be worthy to receive Jesus? Are we thanking God for this gift? Have we prayed to let others see Christ in us? Reverence… gratitude… humility… worship… these are the key words to remember about the Mass.
4. The Sacrament of Reconciliation
Do a thorough and honest examination of conscience. Where have we fallen short? Confess these sins to a priest and be forgiven. We will be less critical and eliminate boredom if we are acutely aware of our thinking and behaviors that lead to these avoidable sins. Seek out this sacrament frequently!
5. Get involved
Sitting on the outside and complaining is boring. Why not join a parish ministry and contribute our time and talent in a more productive way? Get involved and make a difference.
6. Quit trying to please both the world and God.
Saint John Vianney reminds us, “You cannot please both God and the world at the same time. They are utterly opposed to each other in their thoughts, their desires, and their actions.”
Feeling bored about our Catholic faith is subtle and dangerous – it sort of creeps up on you. When we are bored, we tend to be critical and seek more excitement. This is the wrong path. The world offers us false gods and tries to paint a negative picture of Catholicism that is an illusion. We have to fight through these lies. Perceived boredom may lead some to leave the Church for other faiths. Protestant megachurches often draw people by excitement and buzz. But people will learn in time that they had everything they needed in the Church Jesus founded.
Let’s reflect on how we feel right now about the Mass, priests, and the Church. If we feel bored or critical, let’s follow a sound road map to bring us back from this dangerous territory. We have so much to be thankful for as Catholics if we will only take the time to appreciate it.
The choice is ours and I humbly pray that we will make the right one.