How To Be A Crazy (for Christ) Catholic

Posted at Catholic Insight

Eucharistic AdorationDo you make the Sign of the Cross and bow your head in prayer when you’re eating at a restaurant? On Ash Wednesday do you walk into work after lunch with smudged ashes on your forehead? When asked by your colleagues what you did on the weekend do you say you went to Mass? Do you speak out in defense of the Catholic Church? Ever held up a sign that said “Abortion is Murder” on a busy street corner? Refused a work assignment because it goes against Catholic teaching? Said no to artificial contraception? No to same-sex ‘marriage’? Have a big family? Go to confession regularly? Continue to learn as much as you can about the Catholic Faith?

If you said “yes” to any of the above, then in the eyes of the world, you’re crazy. Your way of life makes you different from those around you and at some point you will be the object of criticism and scorn.

The history of the Church includes many examples of crazy people, men and women who chose a counter-cultural life. St. Gianna Beretta Molla gave up her life so that her baby may live. St. Maximillan Kolbe volunteered to be put to death in order that a married man may live. St. Junipero Serra gave up a successful career as a university professor and became a missionary. Martyrs refused to renounce their faith and died for it. There are countless unknown people who live unworldly lives: married couples who accept children lovingly from God; men and women who give up the possibility of marriage and family to live a consecrated life in service to God and His Church; people from all walks of life who daily try to put God first.

A friend gave a homily in which he pointed out that Jesus called his followers to do crazy things. Seventy disciples were sent out “like lambs among wolves”(Luke 10:3) without sandals and other personal belongings. Today, He continues His call to craziness. How many of us embrace the call?

My friend explained in his homily: “…. in the eyes of the world, we are not really crazy. In many ways, the Church has stopped appearing crazy to our society. The Church is seen merely as just another institution, just another community. But once the Church is seen as just another institution, once we stop appearing as crazy, the Church will become irrelevant – because the Church is not just another institution. Every other institution in society is focused on this world. The Church is totally directed away from this world, towards eternal life, towards the kingdom of God. Yes, we live in this world. The Church is in this world, and we must take care of things in this world, but our focus must always be away from this world and towards eternal life. The Church must be primarily concerned with the salvation of souls, giving birth to eternal life in her members. It is why one the deepest images of the Church is being a mother – the Church is like a mother, nourishing that eternal life in her children. The Prophet Isaiah described this image so beautifully – Jerusalem, the Holy City, the Church, is like a mother nursing her child, feeding her child.”

While my friend was vacationing in California, he had the privilege of celebrating Mass at Our Lady of Peace Shrine, a parish in the city of Santa Clara. This is what he said:

” I would call this a very active parish, but not in the way we usually think. It is active not because they have lots of groups and lots of activities, and lots of ministries. It is an active parish because at all hours of the day and night there are people in the church praying and adoring the Blessed Sacrament (they have perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, on the main altar). It is an active parish because there are many people going to confession. Confessions are heard throughout all the Masses during the week and on Sundays, and the lines are always long. And there is a deep devotion to Our Blessed Mother in the parish. The Rosary is prayed in the church every hour. There is a shrine to Our Lady on the parish grounds and people are constantly going up to pray.

Consequently, the parish produces vocations. When I was there, I met 3 seminarians from the parish and they have had others. Why is this so? Because it is a parish that is very much centered on eternal life. The people are praying, going to confession, entrusting themselves to Our Lady. They are concerned with the salvation of their souls, not with worldly measures of success. And the mentality is to trust Jesus and Our Lady; don’t worry about having meetings, making an action plan, acting like an institution. Focus on Jesus in the Eucharist, keep Our Lady front and centre, and you will see the results.

Some would call that parish crazy: ‘oh, that parish is crazy, people are always praying, they’re always praying to Our Lady, they kiss her statue. Crazy parish.’

That is how we want to be. We want the world to see us as different, to call us crazy. If the world does not call us crazy, something is wrong – we are not really following Jesus, we are not fully living our Christian faith. When we decide to trust Jesus – to really trust Him fully – He will call us to do something the world will not like; we might not even like it. We will think it is crazy; the world will think it is crazy, the world will not like us. But that is where the greatest blessings come from, that is when the most powerful graces will come, and that is how the vocations will come. That is how the Church must live in the world. That is how Our Lord lived in the world – He was hated, He was crucified.”

The world needs crazy because crazy is the light of Christ. Crazy is putting God first, focusing on the crucifix and its message of self-sacrificing, merciful love; crazy is kneeling to adore what the world sees as a piece of unleavened bread but we know is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus; crazy is taking our Faith out of the church pews and living it at work, in our homes, on the street, in the world.

So go out into the world today and be a crazy fool for Christ.

Photo credit: GlasgowAmateur / Foter / CC BY-SA

Deo Gratias

This entry was posted in Catholic, Catholic Insight Magazine, Christianity, faith, prayer, rosary, Virgin Mary and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to How To Be A Crazy (for Christ) Catholic

  1. Love this reflection Terry especially what you wrote about how if we’re not following Crazy, we must not be following Christ.

  2. SaintlySages says:

    Good for Our Lady of Peace! Good activism sometimes obtains a measure of success, but quite often fails, for activism is rooted in human plans, which are imperfect, owing to our lack of omniscience and the imperfection of human prudence. But good prayers, the kind which conclude with “Thy will be done,” never fail, for they are rooted in God’s plans, and we believe that God is omniscient and perfectly prudent in all His ways. Thus, I conclude that a balanced spiritual life is both ora et labora (prayer and work), but we do our best when prayer comes first and gives direction to our works. Welcome back. God bless!

  3. mithriluna says:

    Thank you for sharing this! I need the encouragement to continue to have the courage to be a crazy follower of Christ.

  4. dgcree says:

    A great post! I hope you all had a nice holiday and are now fully refreshed ?

  5. Topaz says:

    Amen! Very well said!

  6. Laura says:

    Yes!! So much love for this and so wonderfully written as ever! Lord, make us crazy! “If we are out of our minds, it is for God.” 2 Co 5:13

  7. Me says:

    Goodness yes! I wish more parishes were like that! Mine seems like a stick in the mud in comparison. Baptism classes and baptisms only a certain day every month, same run-of-the-mill schedule for everything but limited confession times.

    It makes me wonder…do open confession hours make it more likely a person goes to confession? Do the restricted hours of confession at most parishes hinder the likelihood of confessions? I know it is something that can never actually be studied, but it has me curious. Personally, I’d go more often if it was offered more than just one hour every Saturday!!!

  8. Nancy says:

    Absolutely wonderful!

  9. reinkat says:

    Great post! I am struggling now with trying to find the courage to simply make the Sign of the Cross and say Grace before eating lunch in the breakroom at work, the only Christian among approximately 20 sneering secularists and mildly amused atheists. Your words were a needed encouragement to be brave!

  10. I guess I’m crazy then. Cool!

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