March 6, 2009

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Lenten questions: Putting what is right into perspective

Shirley Vogler MeisterA Catholic friend, Jack, who lives in Okeechobee, Fla., shared some questions with me that prompted an examination of conscience.

I am sharing them here not because I feel that Criterion readers are guilty of these faults, but because I could understand myself better through some of the questions. I have added my own thoughts behind each of the questions:

“Isn’t it strange how two hours can seem so long when you’re at church, but how short they seem when watching a good movie?”—I rarely see movies in theaters, but do watch decent ones on TV. Mass is not boring.

“Isn’t it strange that you sometimes cannot find words to say when praying, but you have no trouble thinking of what to talk about with a friend?”—To quote an old song: “What a friend we have in Jesus!” So this should not be a problem.

“Isn’t it strange how difficult it sometimes is to read a chapter in the Bible, but how easy it is to read a popular novel?”—True for many people, but my sister and I do read the Bible regularly.

“Isn’t it strange how we believe what magazines and newspapers say, but often question the words in the Bible?”—I am guilty!

“Isn’t it strange how some of us want front-row tickets to concerts or games, but do whatever possible to sit in the back pews in church?”—Well, not way in back, but I actually don’t want front-row tickets to anything, anywhere.

“Isn’t it strange how we need to know well ahead of time about an event for church so we can put it on our agenda, yet we can adjust our agenda easily for other events at the last minute?”—Guilty again!

“Isn’t it strange how difficult it is to learn something about God and then share it with others, but how easy it is to learn, understand, extend and repeat gossip?”—I find it easy to share what I know about God, but pray that I am not guilty of hurtful gossip.

“Isn’t it strange how so many of us want a place in heaven, but forget or ignore what it takes to get there?”—Guilty!

“Isn’t it strange how we send jokes through e-mail, forwarding them right away, but think about this twice before sharing something about God?”—I am very selective about forwarding anything, but enjoy sharing Godly ideas.

Some readers might even have seen some of these questions before because interesting ideas make the e-mail rounds quickly.

Most of these questions apply to us in different ways. They especially prompt me to be more aware of incongruities in my life as a Catholic wife, mother, relative, friend, neighbor, writer, volunteer and parishioner—and as “a child of God.”

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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