Paulist seminarian Tom Gibbons reflects on his formation experience and his life as a seminarian right now. Along the way, some questions will be will be answered, and a lot more will come up.
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What do YOU like about your faith?
In today’s media environment, we invariably hear the stories about which things go wrong. I guess it’s human nature to focus on the negative, but the focus of news organizations do have its place. I think that when issues like the sex-abuse crisis continue to unfold, we do need to be reminded of it so that we don’t turn our eyes away from it, lest we conveniently skip over the lessons that we may have to absorb as a Church. I remember during Benedict’s visit a few years ago, a Catholic commentator was on television claiming that the Church sex-abuse crisis had been put behind her and now we could all move on… 18 months later it exploded again in Europe. Sadly, negativity has its place in the world.
That being said, I realized after writing my last post which focused on the letter a friend of mine wrote to me concerning the sex abuse crisis, it might be important to take a step back and share what I like about the Catholic Church. Because I can get stuck focusing on the wrongs of a person or the failures of an institution as much as anybody. I am more than capable of expelling gobs of self-righteous energy over issues that include (but are not limited to) the failure of McDonald’s to provide breakfast after 10:30 a.m. But the danger is that while I can get so stuck on the negative things, in the process I can frequently miss the Quarter-Pounder with Cheese through the fries.
So for this post, I’d like to open up a conversation around this question: what do you like about your faith? This is a conversation in which anyone and everyone is welcome to participate and it can be for whatever reason; the reason you share can come from the depths of your soul, or it can be just a fun factoid of your life that others outside of your tradition might not get to participate.
For example, if you are Wicken, you might feel a certain sense of ownership the rest of us don’t feel for the Harry Potter franchise. If you are Jewish, you might get a special thrill out of seeing the jealous faces of all of the other kids who DIDN’T get the day off for particular holidays. You might not have even practiced your faith in a long time, but there are elements about it you either miss or really appreciated… that’s fine too, join right in! Whatever the reasons might be, feel free to leave a comment, as long as the comment is affirming of your own faith and does not condemn another faith tradition or group.
So I’ll start. I know that one reason I liked being Catholic growing up was because we were not allowed to eat meat during Lent, so my family always went out for pizza on Fridays. During the rest of the year, dinner on Fridays was a role of the dice. Dinner could be burgers (yum!) but it could also be corned beef and cabbage (not so yum). Fridays during Lent, however, usually meant PIZZA. And not just any pizza, but Scotto’s pizza. Of course, that’s my fun reason. Another reason is that my Catholic faith has exposed me to the needs of others in ways that I might not have otherwise having grown-up in my comfortable middle class environment of Northern New Jersey. My faith has challenged me to look at the person who is asking for a dollar on the street in the same way I might look upon a family member in need… and has also provided me with forgiveness during the countless times I have failed to do so.
Of course, there’s even more to my faith than that, but that’s a good primer for now. Start your commenting!