I often forget what those of the faithful who were always Catholic don’t know about their faith. It’s like what Born in the USA’ers don’t know about their country. Mind you, I am not disparaging it, because I take my citizenship for granted just like a lot of us do (though I do vote conscientiously, and try to participate in being a citizen). But our faith is much more important.
At a meeting of lectors the other day, the priest was telling us about his mixed-faith family-one side is Muslim, the other side is Catholic. That unusual fact aside (unusual to us in the US), it was mentioned that Muslims are more ‘faithful’ than we Catholics are because they pray to Mecca 5 times a day. To which I replied that the Catholic Church prays 7 times a day. All of the other lectors in the group stared at me like I didn’t know what I was speaking of.
The prayer of the Church, which ‘the faithful’ are not required to pray, but which priests and religious are bound to pray, mostly, is the Divine Office, and it has 7 formal prayer times. And people don’t know it. It’s sort of like the attitude where people think that the Church dispensed with Friday penance. This is a big error. Friday penance is required in observance of our Lord’s suffering on the Cross.
I blame the USCCB for a lot of this. Making Catholicism easy for the people is not the way to lead them to heaven, very sad to say.
I encourage people, if they come upon a practice that used to be required, that they deepen their faith and meet that requirement. Another example is Holy Days of Obligation. The USCCB has said that any Holy Day of Obligation that falls on Monday or Saturday is fulfilled by going to Sunday Mass, or something to that effect. I humbly disagree. If we follow this way, we’re acting like Pharisees, making the law something we observe with our bodies, but not our hearts. A Holy Day of Obligation is an obligation. We should obey with our hearts, and go to Mass those days, regardless what day they fall on, and regardless of what the Bishops Conference decrees.
Remember, the observances of our faith are there for a reason. This is to help us grow closer to our Lord, and ultimately where we should desire to be…