View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Breaking the rules

Deacon Angelo preached today. He is not a polished or learned speaker, but I always appreciate his down-to-earth, heart-felt style, and his spiritual depth is always evident.

Today he spoke about the Ten Commandments, and about his youthful violation of a rule in his house. He had the congregation laughing with his tale of breaking curfew for an exciting night of … driving with friends from restaurant to restaurant all night to drink coffee and eat toast. And, of course, getting caught. He talked about sometimes not understanding his parents’ the rules then, but understanding them now that he is older and a parent himself.

As he spoke I began to think of a conversation I’d had just yesterday with the good-looking one. We had gone out to the St. John’s Religious Shoppe to check on something I’d order. Even though it was not in, we ended up as usual buying some things! We then went over to the St. Padre Pio Chapel where I said a rosary and she got invited to join the committee overseeing the Chapel (they obviously recognize talent!). After that, we stopped for coffee.

As we drank our coffee (with bagel and cinnamon bun, not toast) we talked about various spiritual matters. We both admitted that we had done things when we were young that we now regret and that we now recognize as foolish and sinful. We also admitted that we had had a sense even then that what we were doing was wrong, and perhaps that sense is what kept us from going too far.

Too bad we did not follow the rules. We both ended up hurting ourselves and others. But we were young, just like Deacon Angelo, and breaking the rules had a certain excitement to it. Besides, everyone else was doing those things - one excuse we used to use. We thought we knew better than our parents and the Church, or that the rules were outdated – other common excuses. Yet too often those exciting things ended up being the spiritual equivalent of endlessly driving around drinking coffee and eating toast.

As Deacon Angelo spoke, I recalled that conversation, and then I thought about the fact that God and the Church provide us with rules, much as loving parents do. Alas, so often we break those rules with a sense of excitement or with arrogance because we “know better,” only to discover later that there was a reason for the rules. So many of them are there because God loves us like a parent, and He only wishes the best for us.

And I reflected on the fact that spiritually, I am still a child. I do some things not because I love God, but because I want to please or I'm afraid of getting caught and being punished. I need rules because I am not mature enough in some areas to make right decisions.

Maybe that's why so often I've ended up with bad coffee and dry toast.


Blogger Laura said...

When I do bad's really because I'm trying to be funny or I'm acting before thinking.
When I was young...I totally knew what I was doing...totally.
I chose it.
Not a mild nag told me it was wrong.
And I would do it anyway.
Go figure.

6:51 AM  

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