Blog # 338 Going to Church
I know a church on Long Island where several thousands of people come to church each Sunday. I would like to have the opportunity of asking each of those people why they were coming. I wonder if anyone ever asks them. I wonder if they know.
Many people go to church by force of habit. It is a good habit, we know that, so we keep it. But like other habits, once we get the habit we don't need much of an additional reason or motive to keep the action going other than the habit itself. Chances are if the dominant reason we go to church on Sunday is a habit, our neighbor's reason for not going might be that he doesn't have the habit. His reason for not going sounds about as good as another person's reason for going. He doesn't bother us and we don't bother him. Life goes on, and we all die in our turn.
Some people go to church because they continue to appreciate the habit they received in growing up in a church-going family, or perhaps they feel they 'owe it to God'. After all, God gives us so much and asks so little in return and we do need the strength and support of God's love to help us live faithfully in the current secular irreligious culture of our present moment of history in the US.
I claim the ideal reason ,essential and adequate in itself, for going to church is to worship God. Other good reasons can combine with this primary one in different families at different times and seasons. Among these would be something of the reason a young man goes to visit his sweetheart, the reason a man joins with others to play a game of softball, the reason a man sits on a beech by the ocean to watch the sun go down, the reason a man plants a garden or goes to work, or finds this a special occasion every week joyfully and generously to renew the love he and his wife pledged to one another at Mass at the time of their wedding twenty years ago.
Going to church should have at least a share of the desire, joy, wisdom, and enthusiasm of the rest of our life combined. If that seems 'off the wall' for you, join your parish liturgy committee.
If your parish does not have one try to get one started. And if the agenda of the liturgy committee you have is just to pick out the hymns and assign sacristy work among volunteers try to upgrade it
through programs of adult religious education to help folks coming to Mass understand what it means to worship God as a Catholic Christian and identify their offering Mass each Sunday as a genuine blessing they would not want to miss.
Why do you go to church? Why not?