40 Reasons For Coming Home – Reason # 40 – God is Worthy

Reason # 40 God is Worthy – OK, so I admit that it took me a little longer to get here than I thought. I’m about a week past my deadline but blogging is tough ūüôā Now here in this 40th reason we come to the one reason that trumps all other reasons: God is worthy. It is possible for us to think in a very ego-centric way to the effect that all we ever ask is some version of “What’s in it for me?”¬† This question is not wholly inappropriate but we have to be willing to accept the answer that even if there is NOTHING in it for you, you still ought to be in God’s house every Sunday. Now, as I have tried to show in the other reasons, there is ALOT in it for you. But it remains true that our primary reason for being at Mass on Sunday is that God is worthy of our praise.

Every now and then people tell me that they don’t come to Mass because they “don’t get anything out it.” or “it is boring” to them etc. Well, truth be told, it’s not about you. Somewhere in our journey we all have to learn that world doesn’t just revolve around me and my preferences; that the job of the Church or the world isn’t just to peal me a grape and entertain me. Somewhere we have to discover that there are great things beyond my limited scope of interests and that it is possible for me to grow beyond my comfort zone. The Mass and all liturgy is about God. There is an old song that advises the following: Just forget about yourself and Concentrate on Him and worship Him. In the end, I hope you get a lot out Mass and life in the Church and I know you can and you will. But there is something very healing and freeing to remember that your life isn’t about you and the world doesn’t revolve around you. There is something sanctifying about recognizing that God is at the center, not me.

It’s a good place to conclude this 40 Reasons feature of the blog by simply stating that you and I ought to be at home in God’s house every Sunday simply because God is worthy of our time, our worship and our attention. Everything you have and are is God’s work and God’s gift. Even your sufferings are a mysterious gift from God to help perfect you. God is good and God is worthy. God’s been too good for me not to enter into the great thanksgiving (Eucharist) every Sunday. If I don’t praise him the rocks will cry out!¬† Come home to God’s house, to the Church which he founded. God deserves your presence. God is worthy of your praise.

All 40 Reasons can be viewed here: http://blog.adw.org/category/40-reasons-to-come-back-to-church/

40 Reasons to Come Home – Reason # 39 – I’ll Hasten to His Throne

¬† Reason # 39 – I’ll Hasten to His Throne.¬† There is an Old Gospel Music classic called, “I Love the Lord.” and it is derived from an old Spiritual. The words are very moving and based on a Psalm:

I love the Lord. He heard my cry and pitied every groan. Long as I live and troubles rise, I’ll hasten to His throne.

What better advice in facing the troubles of life: hasten to God’s throne. We hasten there by prayer to be sure but also to our parish churches where Jesus Christ dwells: in the tabernacle. This is His special dwelling among us. To be sure God is everywhere but it is our Catholic belief that no presence is more real and more substantial that in the Blessed Sacrament. Nowhere will you be closer to God on earth than in your nearby Catholic parish. It is most truly his throne room, the Holy of Holies. Hasten, that is run, get there fast, hasten to God’s throne. A very fine reason to come Home.

Here is the Old Classic: “I Love the Lord” as sung by Whitney Houston.

40 Reasons for Coming Home – Reason # 38 – Love

Reason # 38 – Love — When you really love some one you want to be with them! A young man who loves a young woman doesn’t have to be told to ask her out, to seek to be near her. He just wants that automatically. Love craves union. And yet, to hear many people talk, people who say they love God, you’d be surprised at some of the things they say: “Do I have to go to Church?”¬†…”Do I have to go to confession?”…..”Do I have to pray? How long and how often?”¬† When a young man loves a young lady he is eager to please her. If she asks help in something he is excited to be asked. And yet when God asks us to help the poor, or his Church, or to keep his commandments rather than be eager to do so it is too easy for many to be resentful and avoidant.

Now I know that our love for God is not some sort of romantic love like the examples I gave above. But really, if I love God then I want to be with him, I want to love the people he loves (even my enemy) and I want to love what he loves (justice, mercy, chastity, and so forth). This is what true love does. Many years ago in High School I dated a young lady who loved square dancing. In my mid teens I was a rock’n’roll fan and square dancing seemed ¬†hokey! Well guess what, my girl liked it so I began to like it!¬†You see, love changes everything! I even became the treasurer for the local square dance club. Yes, love changes you. I looked forward to every Saturday night: ¬†me and my girl and a “left allemand,¬†a dosado ¬†and¬†a right-and-left-grand!”

Well now what’s all this got to do with coming home? The bottom line is this you have got to keep the home fires burning. You see, love,¬†can grow cold. The “I Do” becomes “You’d Better!&*@” And the Lord warns us about this. Remember what he said to the Church at Ephesus? I hold this against you: you have lost the love you had at first. Realize how far you have fallen. Repent, and do the works you did at first. ¬†Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place, unless you repent (Rev 2:4-5)

God wants your love. Not lip service Love but a real love that finds its way to his house each Sunday, a love that means daily prayer and¬†Scripture reading. And God wants your love to mean that you begin to love what he loves. Now don’t think that just some tepid, lukewarm love is sufficient. God wants us to fan into flame the love we saywe have. Here is another warning from the Book of Revelation, this time to the Church at Laodicea: I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot.¬† So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!¬†(Rev 3:14ff) Ever try drinking cold coffee? I can’t stand the stuff, I run to the sink and spit it out. Can’t even swallow it. Well, don’ t make God run to the sink. He likes hot Coffee and hot Christians. And hot Christians are passionate about being with God on Sunday. They look forward to being with God and let his love grow hot in them through the sacraments and the ministry of the Word. Fiery Christians keep the home fires burning and are passionate about their relationship with God. Come home now. Be careful about justifying “being away” from Church. Passionate lovers seek union with the beloved. No doubt, if you Love God you’ll look forward to every Sunday with him. He’s here people, right here at home.

Here’s a well known about love and it’s capacity to change everything. If human love could make even me love Square Dancing, then God’s love can totally change you. You will begin to love what and who God loves, see like God, act like God be like God. Understand this song in a fresh spiritual way.¬†

40 Reasons for Coming Home – Reason # 37 – Set Your House in Order

Reason # 37 – Set Your House in Order. There’s a Gospel Song written back in the 1950’s called “Jesus Hits Like an Atom Bomb!” It is a warning to be prepared for death. Here are a few of the lyrics:

Every body’s worried ’bout that Atom Bomb. No one seems worried about the Day my Lord shall come! Better set your house in order, He may be coming soon, and He’ll hit like an Atom Bomb when He comes!

Getting to Mass every Sunday is an essential component of having our house, our soul, in order. Honestly, life is about getting ready to die. Are you ready? Death may come in an instant. Are you ready? Mass is a wonderful way to prepare ourselves for that day for several reasons.

  1. Jesus makes a promise in John 6:40 ¬†that Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I will raise him up on the last day. That’s quite a promise in terms of being ready! Jesus is saying that frequent reception of the Eucharist is essential preparation for the Last Day.
  2. The Commandment is clear: Keep holy the Sabbath.¬† It doesn’t make sense to think that we can disregard one of the Ten Commandments and then be ready for the Last Day. Some argue that this commandment does not mean we should be in Church necessarily but Leviticus 23:3 says regarding this Commandment, “You shall do no¬†work and you shall keep sacred assembly, it is the Sabbath of the Lord.” Sacred assembly is “Church,” y’all. No way around it. God expects us to be in his house on our Sabbath which is Sunday. Gotta be there regularly ¬†to be ready!
  3. The Book of Hebrews says, “And let us not neglect to meet together regularly and to encourage one another, all the more since the Day draws near.”¬† See here how the Last “Day” and being prepared for it is linked to “meeting together regularly.” Gotta be there regularly to be ready!
  4. Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life in you (Jn 6:53). Without Holy Communion we’re not going to make it. Gotta receive regularly to be ready!

OK so here is an important reason to come home and to get there fast: Better Set your house in order, He may be coming soon and he’ll hit like an atom bomb when he comes.

Enjoy this video. Observe in it all the readiness preparations for the nuclear bombs that some of us who are older may remember. In a way all the preparations you see in the video are a little silly since diving under a desk wouldn’t ¬†help much if an atomb really hit! But the preparations I have mentioned above ARE helpful since God gives them to us. If the people in this video we’re getting ready with measures that probably wouln’t help much, how much more so for us who DO stand a chance since God himself instructs us!¬† Set your house in order!

Humble Pie

I had thought I’d be prolific and come up with 40 reasons for coming home to the Catholic Church, one for each day of Lent. Well, Lent is over and you can see I haven’t quite finished (but will!). And I experienced more humility when I found this:

 150 Reasons Why I am Catholic (and you should be too)

So here I am left in the dust! If you visit the site the author, Dave Armstrong, lists all these many reasons. They are primarily in an apologetical vein distinguishing Catholicism from Protestantism. That is  related to my work here but a little more doctrinally specific that I have chosen to be. Nevertheless, a hat tip to Dave Armstrong for his work!

40 Reasons for Coming Home – Reason # 36 – The Incarnation

Reason # 36 Catholicism upholds the “incarnational principle,” wherein Jesus became flesh and thus raised flesh and matter to new spiritual heights.

One of the beauties of the Catholic Faith is the way that all creation is summoned to praise God. In the sacraments we use water, bread, wine, and oil. In the Liturgy we use candles and incense. Our bodies are very involved in worship as we stand, sit, kneel, even prostrate at times. Our Churches (at least the traditional ones) make use of beautiful stained glass, wood, marble and stone. Music is rich and varied from the haunting Chant, to joyful polyphony, from the mighty pipe organ to the unaccompanied voice. For us as Catholics we expect to encounter our faith in what is, in the world around us. The liturgy is no mere lecture or just intellectual ideas and values. It is creation in action, the Word become flesh. When Jesus took on flesh God joined with his creation and elevated it. Jesus made frequent use of creation and often spoke of it in his parables.

Obviously some of the things I have mentioned above have diminished in Catholicism in recent decades as many of our older church buildings were stripped and many of our newer buildings are minimalist in their design.  But traditional architecture is making a comeback and some of our older buildings are being tastefully restored.

Why is this a reason to come home? Because faith is not merely an abstraction that exists only in our minds or a televised message. Faith is found in our church buildings, in the people who gather there, in the sacraments and liturgies that are celebrated there. Place and time are important dimensions to faith. Here there is an intersection between the good, the true and the beautiful. It is like the old family home. Our memories are not just stored in our brains but on the worn back stairways of the house, in the pictures on the wall, ¬†little trinkets that have been collected over the years, in the magnets on the refrigerator door, and at the kitchen table. Our churches are like this, the old familiar statues, the altar, the meeting rooms, the smell of candles and incense in the air, the rituals and sacraments that call us home.¬† Come home. Faith is not merely an idea, it is an old familiar place, it is sacraments and rituals that literally touch you, it is about an incarnation, something tangible, and touchable, something familiar. The Catholic Church does all this well. We may have forgotten some of it for a time, but we never fully lost it. Catholicism upholds the “incarnational principle,” wherein Jesus became flesh and thus raised flesh and matter to new spiritual heights. So come home and reconnect with Jesus, the Word made flesh.

40 Reasons for Coming Home – Reason # 35 – A Fitting Thanksgiving

Reason # 35 – A Fitting Thanksgiving – In the Book of Psalms the psalm writer asks, “What return can I ever make to the Lord for all the good He has done for me?” The very next verse of the psalm answers the question: “The cup of salvation I will lift up and I will call on the name of the Lord (Psalm 116:12-13). So God has already indicated the way in which he would like to be thanked.

For a Catholic this request of the Lord ought to seem pretty stright-forward when we think of the Cahlice being elevated at every Mass and we make our act of faith in the true presence of Jesus. As a proper thanksgiving  God wants us to participate in the Holy Eucharist.

As you may know, the Eucharist means, “Thanksgiving.” It is the perfect act of praise, thanksgiving and worship of the Father by Jesus.¬†We as members of his body participate in that perfect thanksgiving every time we particiapte in Mass. We “take up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord” just as God asks in Psalm 116.

So here is another reason to come home. You owe great thanks to God, you owe infinite thanks to God! How can you ever render your debt? He has told you how: take up the cup of salvation, attend Mass.

40 Reasons for Coming Home – Reason # 34 – Mary

Reason # 34 – Mary. We could go on for a long time about Mary the Mother of Jesus and I could spend pages refuting claims that we worship Mary (we do not – that would be a very serious sin!) or that it takes away from honor due to Jesus (It does not since true devotion to Mary leads us to a better relationship with Jesus). On and on we could go.

But here is the essence of what I want to say as a reason to come home: The Scriptures indicate that every generation would call Mary blessed. Luke 1:48 says of Mary: Henceforth every generation will call me blessed, for God who is mighty has done great things for me.”¬† Now the last time I checked we’re supposed to fulfill Scripture, not ignore it or oppose it. Thus to those who criticise the Church I can only say that we are following what Scripture says when we call Mary blessed and honor her. And then comes my question for my worthy opponent:

“Why aren’t you fulfilling Scripture in this regard? Don’t you think you ought to honor Mary?Scripture calls her “Blessed,” full of grace,” says “the Lord is with her.” Scripture says she is blessed above all women and calls her the “Mother of my Lord.” Shouldn’t a few of these phrases occasionally escape your lips? Isn’t it a good thing to fulfill Scripture and quote Scripture?”

So here is another reason to come home to the Catholic Church: We are fulfilling Scripture in regard to Mother Mary. We are obeying ¬†and repeating what Scripture says. Almost every other denomination outright refuses such fulfillment. But Scripture says we would and should call Mary blessed. Now don’t listen to all that stuff about Catholics worshipping Mary. We do not do that, it would be a terrible sin of idolatry to do so. But we DO honor Mary and we DO fulfill Scripture. Come home, it’s always good to fulfill Scripture isn’t it?