Why Is Catholicism So Irritating?

2023년 7월 30일

Why Is Catholicism So Irritating?

<  Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Tine  >

 As a teenager, a friend of mine was given the option by her parents of becoming Catholic like her mother or Protestant like her father. She attended a Mass, and later a Presbyterian worship service. She chose the Protestant service. Why? “Too much activity in the Mass: stand, sit, kneel, genuflect, bow.” Only later in life did she appreciate what the Mass was all about: transforming bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ so that these, in turn, might be transformed into us. Once you realize, not just what the Mass is about, but Who, you cannot help but bow, kneel and stand in God’s presence. Jesus doesn’t just want to be near you or with you, he wants to become you, so that you might become like him.

This is the pearl of great price we hear about in today’s gospel. Consider how pearls are made. A tiny grain of sand gets inside the oyster and irritates it. In struggling with the irritation, the oyster secrets a shiny liquid to cover the sand. It keeps doing this until, over time, the irritation stops. It doesn’t go away but becomes a beautiful pearl—inside the oyster. The lesson is: no irritation, no pearl. So too in life, we face countless irritations and annoyances. Our faith gives us the power to cover it so that, over time, it too becomes a beautiful pearl.  The “irritations” of the Mass and of Catholicism are preparing us to face all life’s problems and challenges and turn them into valuable and beautiful pearls. We bring these all to the altar and offer them to the Lord that we might make of ourselves something beautiful for God.