I go to mass in a Roman Catholic Church every Sunday. I have often been met with the question, “Why?”, from Protestants and non-believers alike. Followed by the title of this piece. Do I really think God cares if I go to church every Sunday? Yes. I do. But my why does not require scripture or the evidence that my inquirers always expect. It may exist, but I don’t need it. I go to church every Sunday because I believe we should want to.
I have heard so many times the anti-church lament that we shouldn’t have to worship God in a church. That believing in Him is enough, and if we pray from time to time, we should be alright. Maybe that’s true. When I get to heaven’s gate, I guess I’ll find out. But how does that set us apart from any other human? Even the faintest of believers pray in desperate moments. We need our time in the sanctuary. It should not be difficult for us to set aside one day, even just an hour of a day, to spend time with Jesus. It is like any other important relationship in our universes. You get coffee with friends. You go home on breaks from college to see your family. You have date nights with your spouse. God is as important as these relationships. No, he is the most important of these relationships. And just like the people we love, it is not and should never be a chore to spend time with Him.
An hour of your Sunday. An hour to sit and be with Jesus and say what you need. Thank you. Help me. It is in Sunday mass that He is presented to us body and blood. And we get to participate! We get to become one with him. How can we possibly expect our loved ones to really know us if we never choose to spend time with them? Time is the most valuable thing we can give another, and time with Jesus begins with a Sunday in the sanctuary.
Expectation is the root of all heartache.
Do we even know who, if anyone, said that? Most attribute it to William Shakespeare, which obviously makes it automatically profound, but it was probably Marilyn Monroe. Or Bob Marley. Any one of those insightful sonofaguns. Either way, I think it’s in the top 10 most cliche pieces of advice I’ve ever received. And while it resonates in a really doom way, I don’t think that expectation is what leads us to disappointment. Rather, I don’t think disappointment is a direct product of expecting. Because that’s not what we’re doing when we get our hopes up; Expecting is an anxiety driven need to predict. Hoping for something is not expecting.
I think that often times, hope and wishing is the romantic in us that says “It should be like this. This is how it’s supposed to be.” But something I’ve learned (without question the hard way) is that supposed to be isn’t real. There is no such thing. The only consistency that we found ‘supposed to be’ on is what we’ve assumed to be the most ideal. What works for us in the moment. But nothing is ever certain, and life rarely plays out the way we thought it would. Half of the time, we’ve never even experienced the supposed to be’s that our hearts desire. So how do we know? We can’t. And that’s where disappointment burns hot.
In all of this “revelation”, my solution is not to bury the flames with realism and neglect of our romantic human nature. Instead, I put my faith in God’s will. It is no less romantic to trust that an incredible fate is constantly being determined by something so much greater. His will is the only supposed to be. And in that leap of faith, disappointment is far more likely smothered.
As I sit and watch the announcement of our new Pope, Francis I, my heart is swelling with love, and faith, and optimism. The sun is shining. The temperature is rising. SPRING! is nearly here. New beginnings are everywhere. Easter is quickly approaching, and it is going to be the most important Easter of my life to date. This year I will truly understand the meaning of Easter. In this moment, I don’t care that my body aches excruciatingly. I have a wonderful love, a wonderful future, and wonderful faith to hang on to. Today is the best day.