Saturday, April 2, 2016

Maximizing Begins at Home

Steve Skojec has updated and reissued an article under the title LOW EXPECTATIONS CATHOLICISM. It is very well done and gets to the heart of what is wrong with a contemporary approach to things which is often labelled "Catholic Minimalism" (CM). To my way of thinking, CM is a politically correct way of referring to what boils down to iconoclasm. Contemporary iconoclasm not only distorts and defaces images (statues, paintings, frescoes, stuccoes, etc.) but it strips down and reduces the visual generally to a minimum. It is diabolically counter-intuitive when you think of Disney's Magic Kingdom, Las Vegas, and all the animation on the big and little screens which overstimulates our senses. 

The advantage, however, of the expression CM is that it covers the whole spectrum of deconstruction going on in certain sectors of Catholic life. As important as the restoration of Catholic worship, for example, is, we live in a world where the presence of God is not to be found in too many homes. Everywhere I go, I encounter the reality that at home children do not learn their basic prayers, Sign of the Cross, Our Father, Hail Mary for starters. Contemplation begins with quiet and a shared look and talk with that sometimes crabby or happy baby at Jesus on the Cross or at a lovely picture or statue of Mary the Mother of God there at home.

The leading to and flowing from the Liturgy have another or many reference points. Charity is certainly a biggie, but simple moments of recognizing the power and presence of God in Jesus Christ in my personal life, well, it just about sums it up. Cry as you will about children not knowing basic catechism, but the motivation to know, love and serve God in this life, so as to be happy with Him in heaven starts with adult discovery of Christ's company and sharing that simple experience with a few words and a smile or a tear at rising and going to bed, at table and more: a touch or a nod to that Crucifix in the hallway on the way to the kitchen. Parents as the first and best teachers of their children in the ways of faith says the Council; it was always done in the past and quite naturally. Call it culture; call it being simply Catholic; call it love with a supernatural reference point; call it ineluctable.

These days we lament liturgical abuse, the lack of vocations to priesthood and the religious life, but sadly we do too little to draw with bands of love to the power and presence of Christ in our lives. Why is something so simple such an unreachable goal? You tell me! I am convinced that it is not. The Word of God is close; we need but choose to recognize Him in our midst.


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