I have not done a “snapshot” in a while but I get regular requests for it, so here goes.
What I’m thinking about lately: Finding “Catholic normal.”
That’s right. Finding Catholic normal.
I’ll probably do a podcast on this soon. It seems that there is tremendous pressure for us to self-label ourselves as “fill-in-the-blank Catholics.” Here are some of the fill-in-blanks.
“Oh, that guy over there. He’s a ____________”
- traditional Catholic
- JP2 Catholic
- Benedict Catholic
- Francis Catholic
- Vatican II Catholic
- Pre-Conciliar Catholic
- Social Justice Catholic
- European Catholic
- Third World Catholic
- Charismatic Catholic
Why do we play this game?
Why should I feel the need to label myself and label others? Does it make me feel safe? Does it protect me from others?
(By the way, if you struggle with labeling yourself as trash or unworthy of God’s love and favor, you should listen to this audio podcast: 12 Attributes of the Baptized Christian, immediately. Don’t hesitate. You need to hear it.)
I actually label people all the time. I’m beginning to realize that it’s not good. Personally, I think this is from the devil. We love to hang negative labels on other people. Even more, we like to hang negative labels around our own necks.
Labels go like this:
- “Oh, I’m not very good at _______.”
- “Oh, I’m not attractive.”
- “Oh, I’m an introvert.”
- “Oh, I’ll never get married.”
- “Oh, I missed God’s plan for my life.”
- “Oh, I’m a afraid of _________.”
- “Oh, I could never ________.”
- “Oh, I’m a failure.”
- “Oh, people would laugh at me.”
- “Oh, people will make fun of me.”
- “Oh, nobody takes me seriously.”
If you hear that dialogue in your head, that’s the devil. He is working you over. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
God has a different set of titles for you:
1. In Christ I reign in life (Rom. 5:17).
2. In Christ I walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4).
3. In Christ I am alive unto God (Rom. 6:11).
4. In Christ I bring forth fruits unto God (Rom. 7:4).
5. In Christ I have no condemnation (Rom. 8:1).
6. In Christ I have been made free from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2).
7. In Christ I live by the law of the Spirit of life (Rom. 8:2).
8. In Christ I am a child of God (Rom. 8:16).
9. In Christ I am an heir of God and a co-heir with Christ (Rom. 8:16-17).
10. In Christ I receive all things from God (Rom. 8:32).
11. In Christ I am more than a conqueror (Rom. 8:37).
12. In Christ nothing can separate me from the love of God (Rom. 8:38-39).
This is how we should talk about each other. When I’m tempted to label you as a just “Charismatic Catholic,” “JP2 Catholic,” or “traditional Catholic” it is just an easy way for me to dismiss you or simplify you.
It’s more difficult to the do the right thing. To really appreciate a person as who they are and to see them in the light of God’s mercy. That’s what I’ve been learning lately. I suspect that “Catholic normal” will be find there.
Question: Is this a struggle that you have? Please share in the comments below. You can leave a comment by clicking here.