You Know it Don’t Come Easy
Got to pay your dues if you want to sing the blues and you know it don’t come easy. You don’t have to shout or leap about you can even play them easy.
You know being Catholic don’t come easy. Sometimes the hardest part of it is being Catholic among other Catholics. I’ve got to give it to the Catholic bloggers and podcasters. Me, I'm kind of chump change next to a lot of the others. My blog is a little quirky so I think I only draw a handful of people who get me and dig the song lyric shtick. I have yet to set off a firestorm of controversy or com box hostility. There was that one time when someone on twitter linked to my blog trying to get their friends to chase me down with torches. Nobody bit on the invitation though so all was well. Twitter trolls are a rather cowardly lot. Maybe I have just been too mild mannered and need to pump up the jam just a little. But then like the song says, you don’t have to shout or leap about you can even play them easy.
I have a personal connection with a couple of bloggers and podcasters who have a bigger audience than I do. Most of the hostility that they receive comes, sadly, from other Catholics. I believe it can become a great source of discouragement to know that the people who are supposed to be on the same side as you...aren't. I suppose controversy might be good for the numbers. You get more traffic on the website or blog. You might get a bigger audience. Drama is a pretty big draw. But then, except for the fact that we want to reach as many as we can with our message, the numbers aren't the thing for most bloggers and podcasters. We are not looking to be some kind of internet star...at least I hope not.
And this love of mine keeps growing all the time, and you know it just ain’t easy.
This past Sunday the family and I were in the car on the way home from Mass. My granddaughter, who is 13, said to me that she had gotten a little emotional when we were at Mass. When I asked her why she said, "Whenever I looked at you, I just kept thinking about how passionate you are about the Church" (Yeah, I know...aww...it is nice to know that sometimes somebody is paying attention). I told her that was because I loved Jesus...passionately. That is why I write this blog believe it or not. That is why most bloggers and podcasters do what they do. At least it should be. We have a passionate love for Jesus and his Church and we want to share that with others. I don't know, for some it might be easy to write a blog. Maybe the words just flow right off their fingers. That is not the case with me. It takes a little blood, sweat and tears sometimes. It is even harder to run a podcast. I know some who are practically bankrupting themselves to do that. It is because of our passion and often it don't come easy.
So the point is to evangelize. Like I said being Catholic don't come easy. We stand alone in the world. We stand alone among other Christians and sometimes some of us end up standing alone among Catholics. But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you...those who suffer in accord with God's will hand their souls over to a faithful creator as they do good 1 Pt 4:13-14,19 Its just the gig as a follower of Christ.
The things that Catholics do to each other, though, doesn't make this gig any easier. What must we look like to non-Catholics when they see things like infighting and hypocrisy? Seems to me we must lose big evangelization points with them. It just might make them think they wouldn't want to be a part of all that. Who wants to be part of something where you believe that you are going to be attacked by the people who say that they are supposed to be your brothers and sisters?
Recently there was a situation with Michael Voris and a parish in New York. It seems that he was there to do a piece on the gay pride parade for the Vortex. He got wind of a Catholic parish that would be celebrating a gay pride liturgy. The sign at the front of the church said "All are welcome here" and that was the point of the liturgy. He went to that parish to see for himself and report on it. According to Mr. Voris, as he was about to go through the doors to go to Mass he was meet by an usher who told him that he was not welcome there. Mr. Voris said that he was a Catholic and had every right to go to Mass. After Mass he was again met and told that he was not welcome there.
Ok, I get it. Michael Voris is in front of your church with cameras and a microphone. You know his style and what he thinks about certain things so you are pretty sure he's not there to give you free publicity. He is probably not looking to portray you in the best light. Anybody would be wary. I get it. But when one Catholic stands in the doorway of a church and tells another Catholic they are not welcome at Mass. Brother, you just lost me there. You have no credibility. You've got nothing to say that I want to hear. Especially since you have held yourself up to be tolerant and open. Everybody's welcome... except another Catholic that doesn't think like you. Don't think that I am letting Michael Voris off the hook, though. Because he then proceeded to publicly out that parish for the hypocrites that they obviously were. Not to mention taking pot shots at what he calls the "Church of Nice".
If your brother sins [against you], go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. Mt 18:15
Brothers, even if a person is caught in some transgression, you who are spiritual should correct that one in a gentle spirit, looking to yourself, so that you also may not be tempted. Bear one another's burdens and so you will fulfill the law of Christ. For if any one thinks he is something when he is nothing, he is deluding himself. Each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason to boast with regard to himself alone, and not with regard to someone else; for each will bear his own load...Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up. So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all, but especially to those who belong to the family of the faith. Gal 6:1-5,9-10
I have read a couple of blogs that put the onus smack on St. Francis of Assisi parish. I read another blog that called Michael Voris a liar. Maybe all of that is so. Maybe each side felt they were justified. When we treat each other this way, however, it makes evangelizing to others that much harder.
I don’t ask for much I only want your trust, and you know it don’t come easy
We are not going to reach anyone outside of the Church with the Gospel if they don't trust us. We are not going to be able to bring the truth to Catholics that are in error if they don't trust us. Sometimes it just makes sense to find some common ground and have a conversation. You don't have to be a star baby to be in my show. You also don't have to be perfect to walk into the doors of a Catholic Church. All are welcome there and it has always been so. Even if the Church of Perfect has given a different impression. But that doesn't then mean that all bets are off concerning how you might be living your life. Jesus may meet you where you are but he doesn't stay there with you. He leads you to repentance and transforms your life so that you can live more abundantly then you ever imagined. We are not going to let you stay there either. We want to help you leave your sins behind you. Because sin is death. So for the sake of souls, we are definitely going to challenge someone to each day follow Christ more and more closely. We are going to correct and continually present the truth. Because in the truth is where we all need to be. We may at times disagree - even vehemently and passionately so, but it should never appear as if we have turned to tear at each other like a pack of wolves.
Peace, remember peace is how we make it, here within your reach if your big enough to take it.
The peace that Ringo Starr is talking about in the song is the peace of the world. I am just using the lyric to make a point, as I always do when I use a lyric. The peace of Christ is not the peace of the world. It doesn't mean that there will never be conflict. It doesn't mean be so nice that we tolerate sin and error. That is not what I am saying either. What it does mean is that no matter what, we remember who we are, who we belong to and what we are about. Battles will be fought but remember why we fight those battles. It is for the love of Christ and for the love of souls. But Jesus never forced anyone to accept him and neither can we. I have often told my children "I am willing to fight you for you" out of love. But Catholic to Catholic we remember that we are one body. When we hurt each other we also hurt ourselves and we misrepresent what we are about to the rest of the world.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. Jn 14:27
Reaching the world with the word of Jesus Christ don't come easy. Sometimes we get knocked down. Sometimes we get tired because it always feels like we are swimming up stream. Sometimes we lose our way a little in the dust and chaos of battle. But because of our love, our passion and our fire for Jesus Christ we get up, go out the next day and do what we can do. Even when it don't come easy.
This song is for my blogger and podcasting friends who have been paying their dues. Especially my two podcasting buddies, I think you know who you are.