Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Lawn Chair Catechism, Week 6: Union Workers

I gave myself a challenge this summer to read along with the book A Well-Built Faith and to blog about it. I knew it would be hard to squeeze in the time to not only read but to also write a blog post each week. And since this is week 6 and it's only my 3rd post, I'm obviously not quite meeting the challenge. But here we are once again, I'm not giving up! So on to our Law Chair Catechism discussion:

This chapter was chock full of information! Full to the brim! I don't even know where to start, so it's good that we have access to the leader's guide with some helpful discussion questions. The first two questions really get to the heart of what I took away from this chapter. I'll just touch on each of those.

What does it mean to say that spirituality is not just a slice of the pie that represents our life, but is the whole pie?

There is an exercise in this chapter where Paprocki lists several things that make up our daily life (work/school, eating, sleeping, play, family, exercise, spirituality, etc.) and asks the reader to create a pie chart in which you show what percentage of your time is spent on each of these things. I've done something similar to this before in leadership/management classes or workshops and in a "Seven Habits," Steve Covey seminar I did once. I was tempted to do it again because it is always an eye opener, but I ended up skipping it. I knew what it would reveal and it wouldn't have been pretty.

What I wasn't expecting was for Paprocki to then tell us that the spirituality component shouldn't be just one small (likely embarrassingly small) slice of the pie, but it should encompass the whole pie. Everything we do should revolve around our spirituality.

Reminds me of when St. Paul tells us to pray without ceasing.

Then I read this question and I thought about recent events. Hold onto your hats, I'm delving into current events:

The Hobby Lobby, Supreme Court lawsuit that came out this week is all a result of people who are trying to live and breath their spirituality. Their religion, their faith, their spirituality has infused itself so much into their daily lives that it influences their work life as well. It is commendable.

It is so easy to check our religion at the door, to keep it to that one hour on Sundays and not bring it home with us. But then we are nothing but frauds. We need to remember always that we are sons and daughters of God. We need to be charitable and loving to all those we come in contact with so that they wonder what makes us so special. We need to let our Catholic faith influence how we do our business, raise our families, and interact with our everyone we meet in our lives. We need to consider what our faith teaches us when we vote for public officials and people to represent us on every level of government.

That is freaking hard! Yes, we are going to fail. But we need to keep trying ("Always we begin again" as St. Benedict says). We should set aside time throughout our days to stop what we are doing and spend even just a few moments in prayer. We should make our work a prayer, whether your work is filing sales reports, cleaning the house, working at a retail store, going to school, changing diapers, running a business, whatever it is offer it up as a prayer.

This is something that will be a difficult challenge for me. But I think (I hope) I'm up for it.

What's the difference between belonging to the Church and being the Church?

It's so easy to think of church in terms of the parish we attend each week. That's the "church" where we know people, where we give our money, and where we spend time each week. We may know intellectually that our one parish is part of a much bigger, universal, world-wide Church, but it's often hard to completely grasp what that means. We don't see it, especially if we live in an area with only one Catholic Church.

I think for me, as I came back into the Church fully, I got a sense of the world-wide Church on a smaller scale by being a member of the Cathedral parish in my diocese. Between that and some involvement I had for a short time on the diocesan level I was able to expand my horizons some and see the Church as a bigger body than just my one parish. Of course, the Church (with a capitol C) is 100+ times bigger than that. But the point is, I, all of us, don't just belong to a parish or belong to the Church, we are the Church.

There would be no Church without the people, you and I, in it. Reminds me of the song that goes "We are all one body ..." (which I realize is based on Scripture, but the song is what popped into my head first). Jesus came to save and he left us a Church so that we could all be one. He didn't leave us a building, he left us a leader. We just celebrated the feast day of St. Peter and St. Paul this past Sunday. Jesus called Peter the "rock" upon which He would build His Church. Peter was just a man, a poor fisherman, but he became the leader of the Apostles and the foundation upon which the Church was built.

How interesting that it was a person. We are all people and together we make up the one body that is the Church. When I think of it that way I really begin to see how much bigger the Church is then just the millions (billions?) of people on this earth who are members of the Catholic faith. Do you see it, too? It's the communion of saints!

The communion of saints: all those who have been received into Heaven, all those who are being cleansed in Purgatory, and all of us here on earth, still fighting the good fight. All of us together, saints in heaven and saints-in-the-making on earth are members of the Church. We ARE the Church.

How cool is that?

For more discussion on Chapter 6 of A Well-Built Faith: A Catholic's Guide to Knowing and Sharing What We Believe by Joe Paprocki, go visit the Week 6 discussion at


  1. Drat, I had a comment and then realized my daughter had signed in under her Google account, and POOF! It's gone!
    I thought this chapter was so packed full of good stuff that we could go all summer on this one alone!

    1. Totally agree! My post above really could have been two separate posts. So much good stuff!