Monday, March 27, 2017

Blind Sides

We get caught up, right? It's easy to do. I do it - everyone does it. We get caught up in putting ourselves on a pedestal and putting on our blinders to all other "sides" or points of view. I read somewhere that people these days don't listen to understand, they listen to respond, and I feel that this can ring so incredibly true to anyone who's ever had a debate that they attempted to make friendly, only to have it turn into a shouting match where neither side will budge.

To be fair, we're not here to budge. That's not really what we're going for here. But we are here to try to understand. And sometimes, we get so caught up in listening just so we can respond that we forget to ask the question: why? Why does this person believe what they believe?

For that matter, why do we believe what we believe?

For those of you who haven't been told that "you've been brainwashed by 'the establishment, and that we Catholics only believe the things we believe because we've been told to believe it": I envy you. I don't know how many times this has come up in my life, but I assure you, the number of times I've had to argue against this point is not in the single digits. It may even be in the triple digits.

When I was first given this argument, I was taken aback. I didn't know how to respond. I actually had to go home feeling like I'd "lost the argument," because I wasn't sure what to say at the time. And, of course, by the time I had done my research and given it some thought and come up with a good answer, that friend of mine didn't want to talk about it anymore. But I still had my answers, and I was still able to give those answers to the next person who posed that argument.

And even though some people will refuse to accept this answer, the best response I was able to give was actually one I had stolen from a Protestant friend of mine who was getting ready to take the plunge at Easter time and join the Catholic Church. Because, you see, I had asked her why she wanted to convert to Catholicism one day, and she looked at me and shrugged as though it were the easiest answer in the world and said, "Because it's the truth,"

Not everyone will want this answer, and most people will want it explained further. But the answer remains the same. Be ready to give it, and be ready to have it challenged.

"And if wicked tongues insult and hate you
All because of me,
Blessed, blessed are you."
~'Be Not Afraid,' by Bob Dufford

Much love!
Ceci Galvin
CYM, St. John the Evangelist

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Challenge of Lent

It's a long-established understanding for us Catholics that Lent is hard. Really hard. Like..."giving-up-your-daily-coffee" hard.

It's supposed to be a challenge for us. And I could go on and on about how it's nothing compared to what Christ went through for us, etc. etc. But every Catholic has heard it all before, let's be real. It's kind of the point: to have it as such common knowledge that we barely even have to think about it. And even though our sacrifices are small in comparison, they are meant to be that reminder to us.

Here's what's roughest about Lent - we get to that age when we start to go: "Yeah, I know, but yeah, ok, I get it. I know. Yeah, mhmm..." And even when we've heard that speech about sacrifice like a kajillion times, we tend to mentally roll our eyes at it when we hear it.


We can work out to death. We can try all these fad diets. We can read self-help books and take personality tests all over the place just to find out what makes us happy, find out who we should date, find out what situations are good for us and bad for us. And we react accordingly. We can work to change our bodies, we can all but change our personalities for something we view as our betterment!

But giving up coffee for Lent is this big thing that we can't get beyond?

Maybe it's time we rethought this whole Lent thing. To remember those old talks we've been told since childhood, and update them a little to include who we've become. To embrace the new challenges of Lent.

Much love, everyone. Keep working out those spiritual selves!
Ceci Galvin