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March 29th, 2003

A Beach to Figure Out

Why You Are Where You Are

 
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The sun beating down on my face. The ocean waves crashing in.

Just hanging out with friends. With a care-free attitude and laziness that is usually reserved for employees at the DMV.

I love being on vacation. This is the life. So I’ve gotta ask: “Can anyone remind me why the hell I live in Minnesota?”

And after an hour or so of contemplating this question (I would have come up with an answer sooner, but I fell asleep), the final verdict is:

I grew up in Minnesota. My family’s from there. My friends are from there. I’m able to have some sort of gainful employment there. So that’s home.

Kinda lousy reasons, though, don’t you think? It doesn’t seem like much of a conscious effort on my part. But it’s just too much work to change.

Like father, like son

So looking at the bunch of us laying around the beach, 3 things occur to me:

1. My buddy Jimmy has now turned a shade of red only a little less than that which you see on a tomato.

2. We were all born and raised in Minnesota.

3. We’re all the religion we were brought up to be.

I’m Catholic–because that’s how I was raised
He’s Lutheran –because he was raised that way
He’s, well, some odd denomination they made up in the 60′s–because his parents were hippies and thought it was a groovy church.

The list goes on and on…we’re in the faith our parents raised us in.

And now that some of my friends are starting to have kids of their own, they’ve gotta raise their kids with some religion. Just seems like the right thing to do, apparently. So those kids won’t have much choice in the matter either, as far as faith goes; they’ll be what their parents raise them to be.

Guilt, a pope, confession, and fries with that
Now, seriously, personally I’m Catholic for a reason: I’m a big fan of guilt.

Well, there are a few other things that go into it, as well…

After years of study and prayer (basically, trying to find a way out), the Catholic faith just makes sense to me intellectually–and feels right spiritually.

I guess I buy the whole, “You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church” (
Matthew 16:18 ) thing. It does seem rational to me that Christ would continue to guide His Church—so when all else fails…I trust in the Church. Even when it isn’t easy, because I think it’s right.

(Plus, I wouldn’t give up confession for anything. When you make as many mistakes as I do in the course of a day, that Sacrament of Reconciliation is something other churches just don’t offer.)

Something’s better than nothing
Maybe that’s not a great answer. But when I ask my friends what brought them to the faith they are, it seems like no one has a very good answer. “You’ve gotta be something,” one of my friend says, as if he’s unlocked the secret to religion.

“Gee,” I think to myself, “he’s actually got a point for once.” And this guy ain’t exactly splitting atoms for a living…he can barely spell atom. Or is it Adam? Anyway…

We’ve gotta be something. Even if we decide to be nothing, that’s still something.

I’m Catholic because it makes sense to me. I assume each of us has come to our faith for a reason. So what would you say? Do you know the reasons you are whatever faith you are?

Not like you have to answer to me, of course. Because I’m a guy who’ll soon leave this beach for the 10,000 frozen lakes of Minnesota. Not exactly the most rational decision in the world. But when it comes to faith, we should try to make clearer decisions…

 
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The Author : Lino Rulli
Lino Rulli writes from Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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