Wednesday, March 9, 2011

a la carte (catholic)

In the lead up to Lent, I focused more (at least in the blog) on the looming "sacrifice" than the religious imeptus behind it.  Unfortunately that only highlights my concern that I've become a little bit of an "a la carte Catholic."   By that I mean that I don't go to mass nearly as often as I used to, and the church and I disagree on some key points (especially the roles [un]available to women). I worry that I'm trolling buffet-style through my religion and cherry picking the parts I like (instead of educating myself on the tenets of other religions).  But the bottom line is, I find myself selecting from the "buffet" the majority of the things Catholicism has to offer, and that's why I keep going back.  Nevertheless, it's time to be a little more active (i.e. going to church regularly). 

So today Allie and I went to Ash Wednesday mass, and I'm already getting all sorts of funny looks due to the ashes remaining on my forehead (I imagine the look will only improve after yoga tonight).  I really appreciated what the priest had to say in his homily--aside from a funny comment about how the church hadn't been so full since this time last year, his words were refreshingly absent of criticism for those of us who are less than regular attendees.  Instead, he emphasized that this was the perfect time of year to "get your house in order with God."  For someone often plagued by "Catholic guilt," that is a welcomed sentiment. 

That said, I'll never be an evangelical Catholic.  I find religion an intensely personal choice, and I don't feel compelled to persuade others to make it a part of their lives.  So I hope this doesn't come across as preachy--I just wanted to recognize the fact that Lent (for me) isn't just a convenient excuse to try and change some specific behavior.  Instead, it's a chance to get my house in order, so to speak, which I hope will come to mean more than just cooking more often. 

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