In this post, surfers, I would like to bring back one of my favorite writers, Fr. Charles Irvin. Now, Father Irvin might not agree with the premise for this blog, so I wanted to state for the record that he does not endorse me, nor I him. But, Father Irvin clearly has an understanding of what it will take to move people of faith to the future. Below is a excerpt of a homily by Fr. Irvin.
Let me begin today with the observation that how we see things is governed by our expectations. Our happiness so often depends upon our expectations. When we married, what did we expect our spouse would like? If our expectations were met, we’re happy, if not we’re frustrated and unhappy. What did we expect our children would be like? What did we expect our work would be? At a more fundamental level, how much do we expect will be done for us?
I want to suggest to you that our fundamental question should be: How much do we expect will be accomplished with us…
To return now to the statement that God’s Word will achieve the end for which He sent it, let’s check our attitudes. Do we expect God to do things for us, or with us? Are we unhappy because He has not done what we wanted Him to do? We might ask ourselves: What did we expect God to do, and what did we do to work with Him?
-Fr. Charles Irvin
Fr. Charles used an analogy of our attitudes toward our political system and political leaders. We would be extremely unhappy if we expect our political leaders to do everything for us. I would extend that analogy to include our religious leaders. For this purpose we will call them the Bishops.
We need to be in dialogue with the Bishops and they with us. Our attitudes must be how much do we expect the Bishops to accomplish with us? What do we want our Bishops to do for us, and what do we want them to do with us? If the Bishops are supposed to do everything for us then we will be frustrated and unhappy. If, on the other hand, we expect our Bishops to work with us to accomplish our goals, then whether or not we will be happy largely depends upon what we do or what we don’t do.
How often have you heard people tell you that they don’t come to Mass because they don’t get anything out of it? How often have you heard those words come from teenagers? We need to help them realize that their attitude is built on the notion that they are looking to be passive recipients rather than active participants, maybe even on the idea that they will only attend gatherings where they are entertained.
– Fr. Charles Irvin
We live in the information age. We have Facebook accounts for family and friends where we stay in contact using our mobile devices. We have Twitter accounts where we keep up with our favorite people 140 characters at a time. We have email and the inter Webs. We have no reason to be passive recipients. We no longer have to send a note to the Bishop via Carrier Pigeon, at least not when we get the email address.
Surfers, it is time to use our resources to become active members and have some say in accomplishing our goals. Our happiness can depend on what we do or do not do. It is up to us.