How do we fight the ‘drift’ in our lives?

Categories: Guest Views

A quick gut-check is a good way to assess how well we are anchored in our Catholic faith

February 14, 2014, edition
By Doug Scott

Researchers have noted that Catholics in the U.S. are leaving the church at an alarming rate.

Approximately half of those who leave join a different Christian church. And most of the other half drop out of organized religion all together. For this group, almost three quarters just “drifted away” from the Catholic Church. That’s both disappointing and scary.

It’s scary because many of these people probably didn’t see this “falling away” coming.

So how do we keep from becoming a statistic ourselves?

How do we fight the “drift” in our own faith lives?

A quick gut-check is a good way to assess how well we are anchored in our Catholic faith. Let’s look at how we’re living our faith at home, in our parishes and in our communities.

Question time

Let’s ask ourselves:

Am I succeeding in my ultimate responsibility of getting myself and my family to heaven?

Ouch, right?

We are busy providing for material needs and maybe an occasional gadget that contributes to the “good life.” But am I truly making my home and family a domestic church?

Do we make a point to pray together regularly?

Do we eat as a family around the table and talk about the Mass readings or what’s going on in religion class?

Do we help each other and those around us just because it’s the right thing to do?

Too often, these are the things left undone when we’re crazy busy, spending too much time in front of the TV or just plain exhausted. But, if our priorities are right, we can make them happen.

Get involved

Belonging to a parish brings its own challenges. Not everyone feels called to play an active part in parish life. Do you?

If you are open to stepping up and teaching religion or serving on a committee and you aren’t already doing something, you should give it a try. It’s a great way to stay connected and the reward always outweighs the investment.

The one thing that every able person in every parish must do consistently is celebrate the Mass. Mass is where we worship with our neighbors, recharge our spiritual batteries through Scripture and the Eucharist and keep up on parish news.

Let’s not forget that the day after Saturday night is still Sunday whether we’re at home or at the cabin, at a hockey tournament or on a business trip.

Remember that bit earlier about priorities?

That applies to Mass attendance and parish life, too.

So why should we care about helping in our community? Isn’t attending to spiritual concerns in my family and my parish enough?

Actually, it’s not.

Many of the people in deepest need — the ones about whom Jesus said “as you do for the least of these you do for me” are not found in our homes or our churches, but in our communities.

Soup kitchens, transitional housing units, nursing homes and jails are filled with people who need our help or just our companionship. By helping them, we move closer to becoming the person God created us to be because we find our true purpose when we serve Christ in others.

The antidote to drifting away from anything is engagement.

Drift toward better

The key to staying in the church is to be church.

How does one be church?

By transforming Scripture, tradition and the rich tenets of our faith into a life of Gospel values, together, but each in our own way, en route to eternal life. And always for the glory of God our creator.

We don’t have to become a statistic. We simply need to drift away from the distractions and misplaced priorities in our lives and toward more meaningful faith-filled engage-ment in our homes, our parishes and our communities.

Now it’s up to each of us to make that happen.

Doug Scott is a member of St. Louis Bertrand Parish in Foreston.