26 02 2011

Some people have asked me just why should it make any difference what religion you belong to or even if you belong to a religion at all.  Many people have the ready answer that they pray to God wherever they are and they don’t even need to go to church anywhere.  And that makes everything just hunky-dory.  But it really doesn’t.  

I grew up in a standard Protestant Church.  Almost everything was based on community, whether it was the Sunday School Class or the Wednesday Night Supper or the Young People’s Organization, or whatever.    Now, there is nothing wrong with fellowship as it is called these days.  I am a great supporter of fellowship in almost all situations.  But, I do not think it is absolutely necessary that I have a fellowship feeling towards anyone when it comes to religion.  

I don’t need to be with anyone else or to join anything in order to have a relationship with God.  I have that one-on-one every day.  And that is one of the differences between the Protestant religion and the Catholic.  Catholics go to Church to revere Christ.  Period.  There is no other reason whatsoever.  They go to worship Jesus in His True Presence in the Most Holy Eucharist.  This is the whole crux of the Catholic Religion.  Anything that interferes with this worship, this reverence, this adoration is considered to be absolutely and completely unnecessary.  That is why Catholics normally do not talk while in Church.  And why they appear anti-social sometimes.  They are supposed to be busy praying to Jesus there before them.  

There are numerous Masses offered in most Catholic Churches.  That is because not everyone can possibly attend at the same time.   So everyone has an opportunity to make sure they go to worship God at least once a week.  Many people go much more often than that.  But that is the simplest requirement.

We Catholics still have our social side, of course.  In some parishes, there are coffees between the Masses. Perhaps there might be dinners occasionally or other social functions to attend.  But these have absolutely nothing to do with the actual reverence of God, the actual worship of Him. We attend Mass for that. 

Each person is responsible for his own relationship with God.  It is up to him how he lives his life and how he follows the rules to assure the salvation of his soul.  No one is going to tell him how to live.  The Catholic  already  knows what is right and what is wrong.  He knows by simply following the Ten Commandments of Almighty God what is expected of him.   

He knows the requirements of making a good Confession once a year or certainly a lot more often.  He knows how he is supposed to act in his daily life.  He can choose to live as he pleases, but he also knows that he is the one who will pay the ultimate price for how he lives his life.  He knows his responsibilities towards his parish, his family, his job, his very life.

But with a direct relationship between him and His Almighty God, he also knows the rewards for living a good life and the penalties for living a bad life.  So, you see, in the Catholic Church, it is up to the individual to decide how he wants to spend his days.  It is not up to the fellowship crowd.  It is not up to the pastor.  It is not up to anyone else at all.  I personally wanted a relationship just between me and My God.  And this is what I have every day of my life.   I am so glad I do. 

When my life is over,  it is going to be just me standing before My God.  There won’t be a committee to back me up or a Sunday School Class to explain how good a person I am, or a group to say what I did in this life.  No fellowship at all.  Just me and God.  We are going to be the only ones there, I’m sure.  I sure hope I pass the test.