Dear Brothers and Sisters

Continuing our Lenten series of pastor’s letters and homilies, we have compared cultural Catholicism to Universal Catholicism, and last week we considered Cafeteria Catholicism vs. Catechized Catholicism. This week we are looking at another defect of modern American Catholicism: Comfortable Catholicism.

Someone has said that our faith should be comforting but not comfortable. In other words, there is nothing wrong with our faith helping us through a difficult time in life and offering us comforting hope for the future, but our faith should not be comfortable. It should not be an easy chair for us to relax into.

It seems to me, however, that too often our faith is just that. We do just enough for God, but not really too much. We do our minimum duty, make our minimum commitment financially, make our minimum commitment of time and effort, and hope that will do. We coast along in our faith, thinking that everything will be fine, and our Sunday obligation is just an hour of the week that we give to God, and then we get on with the rest of our life. I realize I am exaggerating somewhat. I also know that many Catholics are very involved and committed. The church and her mission are at the center of their lives.

However, there are plenty for whom this is not the case. In parish life we refer to the eighty and the twenty. 80% of the people in a parish do 20% of the giving and volunteer work and 20% of the people do 80% of the giving and volunteer work. What would our parish life be like if 100% were 100% committed to God and his work in this place? We’d turn the world upside down!

One of the reasons the American Catholic Church is weak is because so few Catholics are really 100% involved and committed and believing and ready to serve and love God with their whole being.

Lent is a time when we examine ourselves and renew our commitment to God. What exactly did you mean when you accepted confirmation? That sacrament is a sacrament of commitment and being engrafted into the dynamic and living body of Christ–the Church. This Lent, why not renew your commitment? Ask God what else you can do for his church, decide to get more involved, then act on it.

You will not regret your decision.

Your pastor,

Fr. Longenecker