Monday, August 28, 2017

In practicing our faith, we could learn a thing or two from the commercial world – just do it.

One of the virtues and qualities that we admire and appreciate as human beings are faithfulness and fidelity.  There is a sense of admiration and quiet respect that is accorded to people who have stuck with one job for their entire lives, and among the unspoken qualities that these people carry are stability, dedication and reliability.  Dog lovers around the globe share a deep appreciation of their dogs, citing very often that among the great qualities of dogs are their undying loyalty and faithfulness to their masters.  I have personally known of employers of domestic helpers who have had the same helper in their home for over twenty years, and amongst other qualities, trust and faith in the person had been praised and appreciated in the helper.  In one particular case, the helper became so much a part of the family that she became the Godmother of one of the children when he was confirmed in the Sacrament of Confirmation at the age of 15.  Loyalty had been in this case so well received.

Fidelity and faithfulness cannot be bought but have to be earned.  Like anything organic, they do not manifest themselves overnight.  They need to be desired from the beginning, with great intention, and as time passes, they slowly take root and begin building upward.  These very same qualities so easily admired and appreciated in the social and professional life should be just as easily admired and appreciated in our faith life.

When one is spoken of as being loyal, faithful and possessing a sense of fidelity, especially in a marriage covenant, it is taken to mean that one has been unstinting and unwavering in living out the vows one had taken with a deep sense of seriousness.  It’s the living out of the lyrics of the song “Come what may”, the song from the musical Moulin Rouge. 

If this is what human beings appreciate in other human beings as qualities of virtue, we can be quite certain that God too appreciates our acts of fidelity and faithfulness to him.  Fidelity embraces the will to do something and to live out something no matter what, and come what may.  In marriage vows, it is the staying in the marriage covenant “in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, till death do you part”.  This same sentiment has to be applied just as assiduously and conscientiously in the living out of our practices of our faith as Christians.

One of the things that I know many Catholics struggle with, especially the millennials, is the weekly Sunday Mass.  There are many who find it a great challenge to find themselves in the church pews week in and week out, when so many of their peers have far more engaging and ‘enjoyable’ ways of spending their Sunday mornings – at cafes sipping their artisanal cappuccinos, lounging in their pyjamas in front of the television, sleeping in after a tiring night out drinking and partying with friends, or exercising at gyms or participating in some sporting event.  One thing that all of the aforementioned activities share in common is that they satisfy and benefit the self in a rather self-absorbed way. 

But the choice one makes to be faithful to the obligation to the weekly Mass often sees one making the choice to be self-less and other-centered.  Our presence at every Mass strengthens the faith of our fellow brother and sister who is also at Mass.  One’s act of fidelity encourages another’s call to faithfulness to God.  One thing for sure is that when the choice to come to Mass is a deliberate one, where one has willed oneself to do something because it needs to be done, its value in terms of fidelity is increased exponentially.  Even if one doesn’t feel like it, and one does it regardless of the sentiments and feelings, one is building up the foundations of what constitutes fidelity and loyalty. 

Perhaps the biggest thing that bedevils so many of the millennials in the practice of their faith is that the underlying unspoken narrative that so many of them fall prey to is to only do things that serve themselves and put them and their needs first.  It doesn’t sit well with the call to fidelity and faithfulness where there are things in life that just should be done with a consistency that goes beyond how it benefits the self. 

Indeed, there are things that we ought to be doing, and with a consistency and constancy that stands the test of time.  Should I exercise regularly even if the couch and television look far more appealing?  If I truly believe that the long-term benefits will serve me well, I will just do it.  Should I pray even if I don’t feel like it?  If I believe with all my heart that I should, I will myself to just do it.  Should I go to Mass even if I don’t find that it interests me and my mind is running all over the place?  I believe that I should, and so I just do it. 

There is a well-known sporting giant that may have something deeper in their slogan than meets the eye.  Their well-known slogan is “Just do it”.  We will do well to apply this just as diligently to the practice of our faith.  It builds fidelity and faithfulness in more ways than we know.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Father Luke, hope you are recovering well. Just heard about your hip surgery. You will be in my prayers. Loss of health or going through physical trauma could be wake up calls for action. My sister in law collasped in the office with a brain aneurysm in June this year. I resorted to prayer as I was in shock and helpless to do anything for her. Miraculously she has fully recovered. So....wake up call possibly to me to boost my own prayer Novena there is a prayer for the sick and it ends 'if it is Your will, may they get better'...when my sister in law was recovering I went to Novena to pray for her...somehow this incident has 'woken me up' to do something for my own faith. Just do it. But sometimes we are weak and lazy...haha...the hazards of being human...