What American Catholics need is some backbone, some true grit. This article from a while ago talks about it: Rooster Cogburn Catholicism.
What if we took our Catholic faith even just a fraction as seriously as we took our athletics?
What if the priest was a bit more like the coach or the drill sergeant? It wouldn’t do us any harm.
Why is it that we will beat our bodies to a sweat in the gym but we won’t fast on Fridays?
Why are we willing to humiliate ourselves by jogging in the street in ridiculous clothes but are too shy to give witness to our faith?
Why do we spend loads of money, time and pain on botox and boob jobs but we take no effort for our souls?
The athlete, soldier or artist trains, takes instruction, sucks up criticism, disciplines his body and mind to achieve his goal.
Do we imagine that it take less effort to become a saint? No it takes more effort. Becoming a saint is the most difficult thing in the world. It is the greatest goal and the highest calling. It is the greatest adventure and the most risky of all enterprises for everything must be risked.
Our problem is that we’ve swallowed a lie of Satan: we’ve accepted his sugar coated, self help version of Christianity. It’s all sweetness and light and traipsing down the yellow brick road with our friends until one day we get to the Emerald City.
You know what its called: Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism. Moralistic: just obey the rules honey and everybody will like you. Therapeutic: Religion will help you be a nicer person and help you with your self esteem problems Deism: God is out there somewhere like Colonel Sanders–constantly smiling down on us but not really interfering too much.
Asceticism is that historic discipline in the church which helps us toughen up. It requires study, attention and commitment.
I don’t know about you, but I could use a good drill sergeant.