by Lorraine Glace
If you have been following my ramblings on DBS, you will know that early mornings and I are not very good friends.
Dawn is not my favorite time of the day and sunrise is a phenomenon with which I am not very familiar. I am not, before 10.00 a.m. the friendliest person that you will encounter.
But many who know me, or should know me by now, choose to ignore that characteristic of my being and expect me at 6.00 in the morning to be wide awake, bright eye and bushy tail and ready to deal with the world. Please note, if I ever do rise before the sun does, it is under protest.
One writer has suggested that people like me may be practicing Zombies. He asks…..
- Is the ringing of your alarm clock each morning the most unpleasant sound that you can think of?
- Do you sit dazed on the edge of the bed for several minutes before summoning up enough strength to tackle showering and dressing?
- Does your stomach rebel at anything more than a slice of toast and a cup of tea or coffee?
- Does the morning rush hour traffic deposit you at the office tense as a tightly wound up spring?
- Is your personal midmorning energy crisis so persistent that the rest of the day finds you merely going through the motions of working?
The unknown writer says that if you have answered yes to these questions, then you are a practicing Zombie. To these five questions I answer, yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.
But to keep peace in the family, sometimes, I will let the zombie loose.
So, last Sunday morning I was up at 6.00 am. to go to Church…. Really, not the place that I should be when I am in Zombie mode.
Needless to say, after two and a half hours at the mass, I came away no less a sinner than when I had entered.
I felt no closer to God or to the congregation of persons with whom I had supposedly just worshipped in community with Christ.
This is a dilemma that I have dealt with in the past. This time, however, the sense of disappointment that I had felt on previous occasions, was not there. I had not gone with any expectations of salvation or fulfillment.
Shocked are you, that I would be so bold to share these misgivings publicly? And what will my family say, those pillars of the church? Oh hell, now I am really in for it, aren’t I. Never mind that, on this issue, I am concerned only with what God has to say to me.
So tell me, why do you attend the liturgy of the Church? Is it for the forgiveness of your sin? Is that where your prayers are answered? Are you made holy in that building? Or is it simply an opportunity to dress up, an opportunity to be seen by your neighbours as one of the faithful?
Do you attend Mass because you are a conformist, because in this culture you are expected to attend at least once a week? Does your attendance make you a better person? OK. So it makes you feel good about yourself. Whatever floats your boat.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand about religion. I think religion serves a good cause. It gives most people a feeling of security because we believe that the divine power, God Almighty, is watching over us. That he is guiding and protecting us.
For many, religion provides answers to the questions, “what is the meaning and purpose of my life?” What is my obligation to others, my family, my neighbours, the strangers around me? Religion, I understand. But I have a difficulty with the institution called “the Church”. Particularly, the long established, organized, recognized churches, with all their pomp and ceremony, their rituals and traditions, most of which no longer inspires the now generation.
Does all this make me a heretic, a non-believer in the teachings of Jesus? I think not. I believe in one God, one Supreme Being. I believe that Jesus walked this earth many years ago and that he taught that the first and greatest commandment of God is this “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” And the second commandment, said Jesus, is like unto the first “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matt. 22: 36-39) Of those of us who attend mass regularly, how many follow these commandments? Particularly, the second?
I believe that if a man or a woman has chosen to dedicate his or her life to God and to the salvation of mankind, then he or she should be living as far as possible like Jesus did, serving humanity, giving shelter and clothing to the destitute, feeding the poor and hungry, giving comfort and healing to the sick.
Those persons who say that they have been called by God to serve, ought not to be building these vast cathedrals of impressive architecture with expensive furnishings and adornments. Remember the words, “where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matt.18:20)
The huge stone building is not necessary. The money used for the maintenance of these church buildings and for the support of these vast administrations could well be put to the causes which were addressed by Jesus while he lived here on earth.
In my view, Mother Theresa on the streets of Calcutta, she got it right. Not many others do. They just want to make sure that you and I understand that we should not store up our treasures here on earth, that instead, we should donate it to “the Church”. Hear me, in too many instances, the Church and its leaders are in it for the glory and the power. Do you ever watch those dramatic productions on the religious TV channels? “Send us your donations”, no different than politics and politicians.
For this commentary, I suppose, some may be tempted to wish me sent to the depths of hell. Guess what, I’m already there, and you are right here along with me.