On Being a Bad Catholic

You want to know something? I’m a bad Catholic. Wanna know why? Here’s all the things I should be doing and don’t do (or don’t do adequately)!

Reading the written works of saints. My husband and I own many of them, but I can never concentrate enough to read them because the language is complicated and hard to slog through. As I said before in my previous post about books I can’t get through, I have no mental energy. I can’t even get through St. Therese of Lisieux’s book, and it’s not really that difficult. I can get through some of Fulton Sheen’s stuff, but he’s not a saint yet. Maybe that’s why. 🙂

The Bible. For a while, I was reading the daily readings, but I don’t have mental energy to sit there and contemplate what they mean or sit with a prompt and reflect on them. Every now and then, Bible verses go through my mind, but I attribute that to my family’s tradition of reading verses from the Our Daily Bread Promise Box every night before dinner (and that’s not even a Catholic thing). If you hear something often enough, it will stick in your brain. The same thing happens with the daily Bible readings. I may not take a deep dive into them, but if I read them over and over, they (and their messages) will stick eventually. Not sure if that’s how it’s supposed to be done, but to each his own.

The veil. I have three veils, but I hardly wear them anymore because I have a baby who likes to yank them off my head (and pull my hair constantly). Also, I just don’t feel pious enough to wear one. I know it doesn’t work that way. Most women who attend Mass today (who don’t go to more traditional parishes) don’t wear veils at all, but if I visit a more traditional parish, I’m intimidated by the grace and beauty of the women with their veils, when I’m in my jeans and T-shirt covered with baby drool, split ends, no makeup, a Top 40 song stuck in my head instead of a prayer… bleh.

Confession. I have never been good at it. I clam up as soon as I get in there, forget what I want to say, stumble over my words, and generally feel like an idiot. “Write your sins down,” they say, and I have tried that, but again, for some reason, I can never read off the paper. It’s like literacy fails me. Or I end up telling the priest a vague story of how I sinned, and it sounds so stupid as I’m telling it that I wish I never opened my mouth at all. (Basically the same thing that happens in my interactions with “regular” people, but worse because if I try to make some funny comment, I feel like I’m not taking confession seriously.)

Prayer. I say an Our Father and ten (maybe nine, maybe eleven… I sometimes lose count) Hail Marys with the baby most nights as I’m putting him to bed. Sometimes I remember the morning offering. Sometimes I remember to pray for people throughout the day. But there’s no real conversation with God, where I speak to him as I would a friend or family member. I’m jealous of Protestants, who always seem to have that personal relationship.

Charity. These days, the closest I come to an act of charity is biting my tongue when I’m on the verge of screaming, and some days, I don’t even do that. Once upon a time, before I had a baby and got too pregnant to be useful, I volunteered and did a lot more. Man, I really miss those days.

Apologetics. Forget about it. I can’t argue my way out of a wet paper bag. I don’t like arguments, confrontation, or trying to defend the faith, because it is not a skill I possess. The closest I come to apologetics and evangelization is posting on this blog, and it probably turns more people off than anything else. Oh, well. I tried.

NFP. Well… as with NaNoWriMo, technically there is no such thing as NFP failure. But NFP’s skeptics would say I have failed at that because I now have a child.

So I keep reminding myself of this quote by G.K. Chesterton (also not a saint yet): “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.”