Non-Catholics often claim that Catholics are idolaters because we worship stautes of Mary and saints. My first response is to ask the accuser how he knows my heart better than I do? So when Jesus says “judge not lest you be judged”, the accuser isn’t exactly following Jesus’ wishes, is he?
So the First Commandment is, paraphrased, ‘You shall love the Lord your God above all earthly things.’ The Second Commandment is, again paraphrased, ‘You shall have no other gods before me’.
What does this really mean? Certainly we are not to create images and worship them, but does it really say not to make images? When the Hebrews were wandering through the desert, and complaining about nearly everything, God sent seraph serpents to punish them, and many died. Moses interceded, and God told him to make a serpent and put it on a staph. Those that looked at the serpent were healed. So clearly, God does not intend that we should not make images, but that we not make images and worship them.
Well, now, what are some of today’s biggest idols? Some are people-rock stars, sports stars, movie stars; some are things-food, drink, money, television. So here’s the question: Look inside your heart, and ask “What do I love right now more than God??” There’s your idol.
Many Catholics go to mass faithfully every week. Most have done little or no preparation. Do you go to mass with a chip on your shoulder or a sin hanging over your head? Do you take time to read each week’s readings and listen to what they say to you? Do you arrive at mass with 2 minutes to spare (or later), in your beach-wear (or worse), and leave as soon as the priest says “The mass is ended. Go-“. Do you actually listen to the homily? Are you someone who does none of these things, but notices everyone who does? There’s your idol.
Many Catholics don’t go to mass every week, or seldom. They say, often, that they don’t have time. Question: Did you eat breakfast that day you missed mass? Did you watch the game on TV that day you missed mass? Did you play golf that day? There’s your idol-you love that thing more than you love God.
Do you go on vacation and leave God at home? I know lots of folks who make every attempt to get to Disneyland early to be among the first to enter the park that day, and don’t attend mass.
Non-Catholics aren’t required to attend mass every week, but they have a few of these attitudes above. One that many Americans have, as well as those who were influenced by the American way of living, we spend so much time in the pursuit of wealth, and forget that we couldn’t even breathe if God forgot us for the least amount of time. Work, spend, work, spend. (Then put $1 in the collection basket…)
It is high time we all examine ourselves, and as a New Years resolution, resolve to make more time for God in our lives. For Catholics, make use of the sacraments, including Reconciliation, pray the Rosary, attend Eucharistic Adoration, make an attempt to learn something about your faith, minister to the elderly, feed the poor, clothe the naked, visit those in prison. Attend daily Mass. Ask God, daily, to come into your heart.
Thanks for reading.