For an article in Parish Notes that’s the sort of title that should grab your attention, raise your interest to continue reading the article and see if we can challenge where you are in life with regards to your ‘religious status’?
In a recent Parish Council meeting we were discussing different initiatives that the Council were looking to initiate, and Fr Alphonsus stated that he believed these plans were vital as he believed that the Church has fallen into a state of maintenance and was not being proactive.
For those who maybe not aware, Fr. Alphonsus is a Missionary of St. Paul from Nigeria and was appointed as curate to our Parish in September 2020.
Sometimes as in all walks of life it takes someone coming in from outside to point out the obvious. How many times in our lives have we been ‘too close to the woods to see the trees?’ Where at times, we fail to see the bigger picture because we focus too much on the detail?
Fr. Alphonsus’ comment set me to thinking ‘have we allowed our, religious life and faith to recede into maintenance mode? Have we settled into a continuous routine where our habits have become repetitive? Have we allowed the COVID lockdown to impose upon us a type of hibernation, where we have retreated into a safe space? On the face of things this would seem to be the case if we look at the numbers attending Mass we have never recovered to pre pandemic levels.
Sometimes life can be confusing, especially after the trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our fallback position is to try to make sense out of everything that is taking place in our life all at once but unfortunately, that is just not the way things work. Life would be wonderful if came in a nice, neatly wrapped package that operated according to schedule, each and every day, but it doesn’t happen like this. To paraphrase an American expression ‘sometimes life throws you a screwball,’ the result – life can be messy. There are many unexpected events that take place, circumstances that change and unplanned interruptions that come into our lives on a daily basis. These interruptions cause us to falter, they affect our confidence and many retreat into a status and safety of maintenance. It is a human trait to play things safe, to fit in and this is especially true where we prefer to keep our religious beliefs to ourselves in an increasingly secular world.
Here’s the challenge for you the reader. Ask yourself the question, “With respect to my relationship with God, am I in a maintenance mode or am I in a decision mode?”
If we are in maintenance mode, we will simply gather facts, data and information. We will not make conscious decisions to act, rather we will allow ourselves to become reactive rather than proactive. Simply in gathering mode we remove the pressure of having to make quick decisions or any decisions at all. In maintenance mode we will avoid movement at all, neither forward nor backwards, we are simply trying to maintain where we are at this moment in life, the status quo.
Maintenance mode is a very good and comfortable place to be. We have relieved the pressure of trying to “hurry up” and we have postponed the need to get things accomplished simply goes away for the moment. The maintenance mode becomes a very good time of data gathering and finding all the necessary facts to help make the right choice and the wisest decision.
Decision mode, however, is very different. We place ourselves in a proactive space where we will engage, we will act and we will make a decision, we emerge from the hibernation state of maintenance and take charge of our lives, we set direction and it can be extremely rewarding to be in control of your own destiny.
Have we allowed our relationship with God to become sedentary? Are we sitting at the traffic lights of our religious life waiting for green? Or is it time to regain control and move up a gear to become more resolute in our beliefs, embrace our faith and move to a more rewarding position in our lives?
There could be many things on all of our “to-do” lists or the ‘bucket lists’ that still have not been accomplished. Reflect on where you are in your life and how with God’s assistance and your own appropriate measures how you could accomplish what you want to do.