Monday, February 07, 2011

Pumping Iron at God's Gym

Something I've noticed over the years is the number of people who demand that the Catholic Church conform to their ideas, rather than follow what the Church teaches. This not only represents disobedience, but also absurdity. The Church cannot conform to everyone's will. It can only, logically, conform to one will, and that is the will of God.

The Church is like a spiritual gym. Through prayer, fasting, almsgiving, reception of the sacraments, living a life of personal holiness by practicing humility, patience, and love, a person hopes to come closer to Jesus Christ. The Church offers the way to become spiritually fit, in a far more important way than a gym does for the physical body.

Imagine if someone went to a gym and said the following:

"Hi there. I want to work out, but I don't really think it matters if I can't make it every week. Maybe I will just come in once a month, or possibly twice a year at the most important gym dates. Also, I don't want to lift heavy weights, I mainly want to just stick with the 5 or 10 pounds, the light stuff. I don't want to change my diet at all, because that might involve some mortification, which went out with the dark ages. And, why is everyone always sweating, how is that necessary? I think if we all just sat in a circle and talked about feelings, that would feel better."

This person would obviously not lose any weight. They would remain fat. It would also be absurd for someone at the gym to believe they knew better than the trainer who had spent his entire life working out when they themselves know almost nothing about fitness.

Now, obviously spiritual growth is not the same as working out. But the parallels are there. Both involve consistently seeking improvement and using time-tested techniques.

Most of the time when someone criticizes a practice in the Church it is due to their own ignorance or their desire to make things the way THEY want them, instead of humbly accepting the teachings of the Church which Christ established.

Jesus never said "your own personal opinion will lead you into all truth", he said the Church would do that. He established a Church to teach and guide, he didn't give each person the ability to form their own church based on their opinions.

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