In the past four years I have been blessed with the opportunity to attend a number of speakers, bible studies, information sessions, holy hours, and retreats put on by local Catholic parishes and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. What do you think is the one common theme that runs through all these opportunities to learn about and grow in the faith? About 90% of those in attendance are over the age of 50. Are those individuals over 50 the only ones who need to grow in their faith? The likely answer is no, in that I would venture to guess most of these adults know more about the teachings of the Catholic Church than many of their younger counterparts combined. Were all of these opportunities to grow in my faith only offered during working hours so those who are retired were the only ones who were able to attend? No, most educational opportunities are offered during the evening hours or on Saturday mornings specifically so that those who have a career can still attend.
As a society we have come to see these as “optional” learning opportunities for those who have nothing better to do with their time. We easily decide we are too busy to attend or we are not required to attend, so it must not be valuable. We have come to see Sunday Mass as our one and only time each week to learn about the faith. How much do we really take from that Sunday Mass? Are we really fully engaged, or are we easily distracted by all those gathered around us. We have decided that once we complete our faith formation courses and receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Catholic Church, we have learned all that there is to learn about the Catholic Church. Would this be something we would effectively apply to other areas of our life? Once we graduate from College do we say that we have learned it all? No, we continue learning.
Our souls are starving to learn more about the Catholic faith. Imagine how you would feel if you hadn’t eaten or drank anything since you were Confirmed. You would be weak, malnourished, and would be quick to fall into temptation. Knowledge of and growth in the faith is our spiritual food and drink. Without continued nourishment we will become weak, malnourished, and quick to fall into sin and temptation.
I will close with this thought for those who would argue that they are too busy to attend said bible studies, retreats, speakers, and holy hours offered in their local Catholic parish. If a friend called you up and asked you out to a movie or to dinner, and you really wanted to go, would you re-arrange your schedule to make it happen? Are you making time to read the latest book series that came out? Do you make time to watch that TV show you just can’t miss every week? We chose to make time for the things that we see as priorities no matter how busy our life is. We can’t stay in the same place in our relationship with God, so the activities we chose to participate in are either pulling us closer to God or pushing us away from God. Are you choosing to make time for God? He is calling you, He is begging you, and He longs for you to know Him more fully. He longs for us to race to the book store to get the latest book about the teachings of the Catholic Church, or to attend the latest bible study that will deepen our faith, or to watch TV shows that deepen our faith instead of filling our life with sludge. Our souls are starving for a deeper knowledge of the faith, how will you nourish your soul?