Tuesday, December 30

Bumper Sticker Seen

Our family encountered a bumper-sticker laden car before Christmas.  Most of them were earth-loving, tree-hugging, pagan ones.  (Specifically, one did say she was a pagan and that she voted.)

One particular sticker caught my eye because it was true, true, true!

"If sitting in  church on Sunday makes you a Christian,
does sitting in a garage make you a car?"

What a great bumper sticker!  Naturally, the answer to both parts of the question is NO.

Going to church on Sundays does not make someone a Christian.  What makes you a Christian is the belief in Christ AND the following of His teachings.  I tell my girls that assenting to the Holy Mother Church is vital if we are to be a part of it.  I can go to Mass daily, pray a Rosary daily, and live a life that, to all appearances, is a Catholic one.  But if I do not follow the teachings of the Church - no matter how difficult they might be - I am not Catholic.  If I have sinned and don't repent of it, I am not Catholic.  If I go about saying things like, "I am personally opposed to abortion, but I'm going to support expanding abortion rights and striking down existing restrictions," then I am not Catholic.

There are some sins I've committed that are grave.  Some that can't even be un-done.  But I've repented, confessed them, and received absolution.  I have sought out ways to do penance for them.  The biggest struggle I have is to forgive myself.  

Now, before this repentance, I went to Mass on a regular basis and appeared to everyone as a "good Catholic."  But I was not.  I was sinning, big time, and even receiving Communion at Mass!  

I. Was. Not. Catholic.

I called myself one, and for a while believed that I was.  But I was living outside of the Church, and offending God by my actions, especially in receiving Holy Eucharist in such a state!

Thank You, Lord, for the gift of Confession!!

It's unfortunate that we Christians do not act like Christians.  It's unfortunate that we call ourselves such, but that declaration is the only way some people know we are Christians.  

There should not be a doubt as to whether or not we are Christians without us ever saying a word about it.  The best evangelization we can have is to LIVE the life, WALK the walk, and truly follow Christ.  Carry our crosses gladly and without complaint.  Forgive one another.  Live in humility, knowing that we do nothing to deserve the gifts of grace that God bestows upon us.  If we live as such, no one will have to ask this kind of question.  And we will change hearts (and the world in the process) by our love.  

Until we do this, though, we'll still have non-believers asking:

"If sitting in  church on Sunday makes you a Christian,
does sitting in a garage make you a car?"

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