The other day I found myself in a heated discussion and I slipped up and said a four letter word, and it wasn’t love! To which the other person replied, “What a good Catholic!” It was meant as a jamb, said sarcastically, a way to get a rise out of me. And let me tell you, it worked! I continued to yell in frustration, I can’t even remember what I said but I needed to get the rage out… I was drunk with rage. I was in a bad state. I wasn’t being a good Catholic. Then it got me thinking, what is a good Catholic?
I have a friend who once told me that her mother said she was going to go to Hell because she lived with her boyfriend before they got married. Was that a good Catholic?
Over coffee the other day with some ladies one suggested that all child molesters should be given the death penalty. Is that a good Catholic?
A husband cheats on his wife who he has been married to for 20 years and they work things out, their marriage ends up being better than ever! Is that a bad Catholic?
A young mother has turned to prostitution in order to provide shelter & food for her two young children after her boyfriend ran out. Is she a bad Catholic?
So where am I going with this? The one, of many, beautiful & comforting aspect of Catholicism is the fact that I do not have to pass judgment! Thank you God! Talk about a relief! There is no way I could live with that kind of pressure, that kind of burden, day in and day out.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29
I am so thankful that my job is to love and pray for ALL souls, sinners & saints! And speaking of sinners, guess who has two thumbs and is a sinner, this girl!!
Yep, I am a sinner. Does that make me a bad Catholic? Jesus’s was crucified so that EVERYONE’S sins could be forgiven. He wasn’t crucified so that only some people’s sins would be forgiven. But there is a bit of a catch. See, you can’t just say, I accept Jesus as my savior and be done. There is this miraculous thing called confession. I tell ya, it is like a day at the Spa for the soul, it feels phenomenal! Nothing compares to acknowledging your sins, repenting, asking forgiveness, and receiving God’s grace. But I know I don’t go to confession near enough. Does that make me a bad Catholic?
There is also the Act of Contrition but again, I know I don’t do that near enough either, perhaps I am a bad Catholic?
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Now this is a tricky one. See, it had me thinking about the person who got this whole mess started, the person who made the comment originally, about me not acting like a good Catholic. And what I have realized is that people make their own assumptions. And because I take my children to church on Sunday, because the Eucharist is my main driving force, because I pray the Rosary with my children that somehow makes me out to be someone who judges, is hypocritical, who thinks they are perfect? I am not certain how this assumption came to be but I don’t think I am alone in feeling the repercussions of such assumptions. It does hurt badly when someone says that you think you are perfect and better than someone else especially when you think NOTHING of the sorts. And the hardest part is having to forgive them for they do not know what is in our hearts, but GOD does, God knows our intent and we must find console in that and forgive those who trespass against us.
If you have come in contact with someone who calls themselves a good Catholic, I am sorry, and please pray for them. If you have a friend or family member who is judgmental and Catholic please don’t make an assumption that all Catholics are that way, and again, please pray for them. Catholics are humans, we are flawed, we are far from perfect, we make bad decisions, we are sinners, we are forgivers, we are thankful, we are givers, we are not better than anyone else, we are charitable, we are all equal, we are loving, we are fun (FYI-our festivals include gambling & beer…told ya, not perfect!), we are broken, we are recruiting, you interested?
The conclusion I have drawn after carefully analyzing my own behavior and what Catholicism stands for I realize that there are no good or bad Catholics, just Catholics. God knows we are all a work in progress. He has given us free will, what a magnificent gift yet we do not always make the best choices which are why he sent us his son and why his son was crucified so that our bad decisions & sins could be forgiven. We are all good people but sometimes we make bad decisions.