First off I would like to thank you for the warm welcome and for the all too normal amount of Facebook creepin’ that must have took place to find that picture.
In the world Fr. Joe, not of it.
Tuesday evening we got on topic of people who find a church, especially in Christianity, that they attend because “it fits their lifestyle” and how that's missing the whole point. Little to no fulfillment or growth takes place when the church/religion models self, instead model self around the teachings, values, and beliefs of the religion actually acknowledging a higher power and a purpose.
As Chesterton once said (maybe twice, who knows), “We do not really want a religion that is right where we are right. What we want is a religion that is right where we are wrong.”
A religion that is right where we are right is essentially a religion of self. Where and to whom are they ultimately running too crying out “I believe, help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24
Instead find a church that tests you. Sheds light on your darkness. Challenges you. Even rubs you the wrong way sometimes in order to smooth the jagged edges. Makes you feel it when you mess up. Gives purpose to the hardest, most misunderstood parts of your life. Strengthens your weakness. And maybe makes you a little uncomfortable sometimes.
Which brings us to another point, comfort. As another great said, “If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.” – C.S. Lewis.
On the surface, living a completely comfortable life and possessing a set of beliefs you are completely comfortable with sounds great but...it might leave life a little:
We will never be pushed out of the comfort zone of God's (PTL!) but I want something that is going to push me out of MY comfort zone. Allowing the suffering I face to be joined with Christ’s to strengthen me and receive His grace. I think of the readings and homilies here lately on Job and his fidelity to God amongst this life of immense discomfort he faces living a life for Him. (God I know just said I wanted to be pushed out of my comfort zone then talked about Job in the next breath...don't get any ideas. Amen) Or something many Catholics face at every Mass that believers have had discomfort with since the beginning, the Eucharist, as we see His disciples faced in John 6:60-66.
Let’s be honest, God doesn’t make as many promises to us as the “Health and Wealth Gospel” claims but he does promise us that we will have trouble and He will give us His peace. “I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” John 16:33
So accept those challenges, expect to be pushed out of your comfort zone and know that He will be there. After all, He did warn you.
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed. I don't think I'll be writing much like this but it's been a long week and I wanted to get something up and this has been on my mind so I thought I would share.
Can’t say I didn’t get some help though…