Is going to Church on Sundays enough?

I met a nice young college student at a ministry fair this weekend. He was studying criminal justice and went to church on Sundays. “Oh that’s so nice,” commented the woman sitting next to me. “I’m sure that makes your mom happy.”

“Is there FOCUS or a Newman center where you are?” I asked.

They had some Catholic thing, but he wasn’t in to the “whole youth group thing.”  I get it. There’s more to life than ice breakers and snacks. But the encounter with that young man has been nagging me all week.

That’s because there’s more to life than “just going to Church on Sundays.” We in American have this “good person” philosophy. If we do “good” things, go to Church on Sunday, and are a “good person,” than you will go to Heaven. That’s it.

But our “good person” theory is completely out of touch with reality, and out of touch with the heart of the Gospel message. If my goal in raising my children is just that they are good people who go to Church on Sunday, then I have missed the point of Catholic parenting. Of course, I do hope they are good, and that they go to Church, but I hope and pray for more than that as well.

In last Sunday’s gospel, Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?”  The answer that Jesus is tvan_hornthorst_adoration_children_800x583he Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God – that changes everything. It changed Peter from a loud mouthed fisherman to a fearless leader and the first Pope.

The Incarnation. God becomes man, takes on human flesh, conquers human sin. That’s more than being a good person. It’s being united to the Divine and bringing that relationship with the One who is God into every aspect of our lives. It affects our decisions, our vocation, and everything about us. It brings the Kingdom of God to here and now. A relationship with Jesus is what I hope for my kids.

You see, I am afraid of what this country will look like when my kids are in college. We are all comfy with the ability to go to Church every week and think we have religious freedom. But our government and our culture is increasingly hostile to Christianity. Is forcing a baker to make a cake for a gay couple religious freedom? Is forcing nuns to pay for contraception really religious freedom? This is only the beginning, folks. And if our kids are simply good people who go to Church on Sunday, will they really defend their faith to the point of shedding blood?

MV5BMTA0NjA3MzI5NTleQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU3MDMzOTg0MTg@._V1_SY317_CR6,0,214,317_AL_If you haven’t seen it, go watch “For Greater Glory.” I think it’s still on Netflix. It chronicles the war in Mexico in the early 1900’s of the government versus the Catholics. They took away Catholic schools, and then Catholic Churches, and then Catholic priests, and then Catholics. The government tried to eradicate Catholicism completely only 100 years ago. And America supported their government, but thankfully the Catholics won. Look at the life of 14 year old Jose Sanches del Rio who chose death over renouncing his faith.

Look at what’s going on in Iraq, and PLEASE make a donation to help those Christians through Catholic Relief Services. To them, their faith is life or death, heaven or hell. Do you think they are shedding blood because they are “good people?” Or because the Gospel has cut them to the heart, and they are nothing without Jesus. Look at the first Christians and think of the Colosseum. Would our world and history as we know it be the same without these brave martyrs? Do you think they were content just to be good enough to go to Church on Sunday?

Mark my words, we in the United States are not immune to persecution. It’s coming our way, and how will we answer? “Don’t shoot, I’m a good person?” I challenge you, going to Church on Sundays is not enough. A living, breathing, relationship with the Word made Flesh is enough, and that’s our goal as parents for our children.

“The Blood of the Martyrs is the seed of the Church.” -Tertullian (2nd century Church Father)

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Starting a Social Media Revolution

My Facebook feed is filled with people doing the ice bucket challenge. Or failing the ice bucket challenge, as it may be. ALS (as long as it isn’t funding embryonic stem cell research), or the JPII Medical Institute, are worthwhile causes. There are a million charities worth donating to, but right now there is one really needing our help. While we in the United States are pouring buckets on our heads, Christians in Iraq are losing their heads. Literally, being beheaded.IraqiDemonstratorsFeb2010

The news is silent. The government is silent. I checked my local news app today and there was not a single story in the first 30 on the main page about the Middle East. I’ve only had a handful of Facebook friends post articles on this atrocity.  This article in the Catholic Register sums up my thoughts entirely. Stop and read this article before continuing.

More than a million Christians have been displaced and are fleeing for their lives. They’ve been handed a death sentence just for being Christian. At least hundreds, if not more, have been brutally murdered – including women and children. And the IS (formerly ISIS) is growing.

Let’s be honest – if this were Jews, or Blacks, there would at least be an uproar in the United States. People would be upset. But it’s Christians, and the Middle East is messy and complicated and we are so far away, so people aren’t even talking about it. We can go about our day and not think about it because it “doest affect us”, but we need to at least be talking about it. To be raising awareness. And to be doing what we can to help.

Catholic Relief Services has partnered with Caritas Iraq to help the millions of Christians in Iraq who need help. They are not safe. They need the basic necessities.  I want to start a social media revolution like ALS has and reach out to our brothers and sisters in this terrible atrocity.

Here is the link to donate to Catholic Relief Services. (you can put your special request for Iraqi Christians in the bottom line.)

Donate today. Like with ALS – $5 or $10 can turn into millions.forchristiansiraq-e1406679964240

I am not tech savvy, I don’t know much about social media, but someone please start a social media revolution so we can raise money for these Christians fighting for their lives. Or if there already is an initiative, please let me know about it. I want to see it popping up all over my newsfeed. People have changed their profile picture in support of Iraqi Christians, but let’s get real. Let’s donate.  Let’s pray, let’s help out in any way we can. Let’s show the media that we care. Let’s show Iraqi Christians that we care.

 

UPDATE: posted to my About Page From Pauline- “I saw your article on Iraq. I am Assyrian from Iraq. You can follow all the news about christian and other minorities of Iraq and Middle East on http://www.aina.org.”

 

Also see: Timeline of How Christians were Eliminated in Mosul 

and

“Who Will Stand Up For Christians?” By the leader of the World Jewish Congress