Being Catholic has its challenges.
When I was an Evangelical Protestant, I knew that I loved Jesus. If He showed up, I knew I would hit my knees. If He would have visited a neighbor’s house or stopped by my local church, I would have dropped everything to be with Him. If He wanted me to tarry an hour with Him, I wouldn’t have fallen asleep – like the disciples did.
I loved Jesus. And I knew it. And I would show Him just how much I loved Him when I was finally with Him in Heaven.
I still love Jesus. Becoming Catholic doesn’t change that. Some things are changing – like how well I know myself – really know myself.
There are so many ways to show our love for Christ in this Catholic faith. He shows up everywhere. At times, that can be a pretty uncomfortable reality.
Now I have my chance. Jesus is showing up at Mass every day at 8:00 AM. What is my response? I sometimes get in the habit of going (and I love it). But then I get sick – like two weeks ago. And I start watching movies at night and begin to sleep in until it is too late to make Mass. Life as a writer is unpredictable. Some weeks, I have time to spare. Some weeks, I am scrambling to meet a deadline – like three weeks ago when I needed to get a draft back to my editor. When my schedule lightens, I have all these gaps in my day. What do I do with the gaps?
Too often, I sit back and say, “Ah, this feels nice.” Too often, I turn off the alarm and roll over.
Some might say it is borderline scrupulous to be so hard on myself.
I know better.
It isn’t a sin to miss daily Mass. It isn’t a sign of a serious problem to watch a little television or sleep until 8:00 AM now and then.
But these are opportunities for me to show my love, and failing to carve out time regularly for Jesus Christ when I am perfectly able to do so is a sign of my fidelity – or lack thereof.
I’m doing a bit of an examination of conscience because I have a big project that is about to fall into my lap. Now is the time to get myself back to a schedule. I need to be more deliberate with my time.
If a late-night movie means I can’t get up and get going in the morning, there is a problem. I can’t let it affect my work – and I never should have let it affect my daily Mass habit.
After all, Jesus is more important than the work, more important than the movie, more important than sleep.
I know this. I have always known this.
But now, as a Catholic, I have so many opportunities to give my love to Jesus and to receive His love for me. This morning, I overslept. Actually, I woke up at 5:30 AM and made sure my sophomore (daughter) got ready for school. Then I went back to sleep.
Yes. I did. Pathetic, isn’t it?
I know what love looks like. I don’t have to imagine what I would do if Jesus showed up. He’s showing up.
And now, the response is up to me.
I know what the “holy” me looks like. She makes time for Jesus Christ. She gets in a habit of going where He goes and being where He is. And when I wear that habit like a garment, it feels wonderful. Perfectly tailored for me. My coat of many colors crafted by the Father.
A doting Father.
A life-giving Lord.
And longing replaces should. Scrupulosity is crushed. It all comes down to love. Mine. And His.
His love is constant. Always trustworthy. Always on time.
The question of fidelity rests with me.
So, there has been a little too much Sherlock. Too many nights watching Once Upon a Time. Too much of The Paradise in place of The Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God awaits.