Thursday, August 21, 2008

Be careful what you ask for

I've often, to myself anyway, bemoaned the fact that nothing "interesting" ever seems to happen. I always see other people with stories of assisting at Mass with a Cardinal from the Vatican, or people helping to restore a church to beauty or having people approach them out of the blue to ask something about the Church. It's the last one that really gets me for some reason - nobody ever seems to talk about anything religion-related even anywhere near me - it's almost like I have a warning sign hanging aorund my neck or something. Or so I thought.

Thanks to a very crazy schedule I took my son to his Karate class tonight, not when we normally go. I sat there for the most of class watching him and scanning through the latest edition of First Things. Then I realized the people in front of me were talking about going to church and what a relationship with Jesus meant to them and the like. Just hearing that at all put a smile on my face since public shows of religion are, as I've said, pretty rare around here. Then I heard one of them say "I can't believe they call him 'Holy Father' - don't they know nobody is holy but God the Father?" My face, needless to say, dropped.

It didn't stop there. I couldn't catch the whole of the conversation because I was trying to be subtle and not be too obvious that they'd piqued my attention. Suffice it to say other classic and now-classic anti-Catholic statements were made including the usual trope about priestly celibacy which necessarily led to and revolved around the sex abuse scandal. I was, to say the least, no longer excited to hear this conversation. But I just couldn't decide - was this the time to drop my nickel into this conversation or was it sufficiently inappropriate to butt in? Do I stand up and defend Holy Mother Church or do I suffer the indignity of having to hear their poorly informed slander and pray for their enlightenment?

What did I do in the end? I choked. Yup, dropped the ball straight on the floor. I let myself hide behind indecision and wound up doing neither. What really hurts about is that, simply, I know better. Do I pray now for their enlightenment? Absolutely, and a chance to be the one to bring that enlightenment about if it be God's will. But I also know why God hasn't dropped that type of discussion in my lap until now - I've just been not ready for it. Am I ready for it now? I don't know, but I do know that the pain of listening to people slam Holy Mother Church unopposed is something I don't want to have to go through again. Sometimes God gives us "put up or shut up" moments. I only hope I choose the right one if this comes to me again.