How I overcame my Irish Catholic guilt
Learning the joy in my religion
Wow! Did he nail the Irish Catholic church experience! If our priest runs his mouth and keeps us past 57 minutes, there is a palpable contempt in the pews that stops just shy of an outright palace coup. When you look at Osteen’s crowd, you get the sense that they could hear his lighter than air sermons all day about the patient and loving father anxious to bestow heaven’s bounties upon us.
I’ve also become a fan of Joyce Meyer, a more butch version of Osteen. A drill sergeant with sensible low heels that clack as she paces the stage, she seems mildly annoyed that we’re ignorant of the scripture and that God has cursed her with helmet hair. Like Osteen, she preaches positive thinking in a common sense style that I just cannot get enough of.
She walks the walk as well. Fair play to her, she went through the mill: she talks about a tough childhood and has risen from the ashes to generate a ministry and speaking gigs that routinely fill hockey arenas each Sunday.
“Do you know you have a relationship with yourself?” she asked on an old homily I picked off of youtube. “You have a much more active relationship with yourself than anyone else. I mean, everywhere you go, there you are! Romans12:2 says it clearly: ‘do not be conformed to this world, this age, fashioned after its external superficial customs.’ If you don’t change your mind, you are never gonna change your life. Proverbs 23:7 says, ‘as a man thinketh in his mind so is he.’ Amen.”
Just when I “thinketh” I’m going to trade my Catholic hair shirt in for something else, I am stopped. Like a ring of scum in the bathtub, a certain Christian smugness has lined Conservative culture on places like Fox News and Tea Party rallies that just turns my stomach.
I don’t see myself as a promise-keeping kinda guy; I know a few of them and I hold their “Abercrombie & Christ” look in utter contempt. You know the type: he of sensible cardigan, soft serve yogurt hair, WWJD wrist band, JC and the Apostle sandals, and that certain pithy way he thinks the world should go according to Matthew, John, Paul, George, or Ringo.
Speaking of Beatles, I’ll leave you with the Gospel according to Paul:
“When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be.”
Despite the internal turmoil over my distance from regular Catholic communion, I still say a decade of the Rosary most days and I go around the beads many times during long car trips. I continue my prayers for the Blessed Mother's intercession to help me figure how to go in peace to love and serve the Lord.