We do indeed need to show joy as Catholics. My motto — “Be happily and uncomplicatedly Catholic.”
Michael J. Sheehan, Archbishop of Santa Fe
I Envy the Muslims
…for three reasons. First, I admire their commitment to pray five times a day — to take time out from whatever they are doing to recognize God, and to give thanks. I have seen this demonstrated by Muslims of all ranks, from day laborers to corporate executives. Often I have witnessed it is in a vacant spot at a busy airport where the religious fellow is kneeling in prayer, not giving a damn what others think. I don’t have the guts to do that. (What about you? Would you do it?)
As a Catholic it would be easy for me to pray five times a day, using the five decades of each mystery of the Rosary. Often, I make the morning commitment to do it. By bedtime, I seldom have remembered to accomplish this spiritual goal.
Secondly, their devotion to Muhammad, as God’s Messenger who died in 632, is astounding. Their reverence for this person is so great that a critical cartoon in a Dutch newspaper caused a fury throughout the Islamic world with a death warrant declared for the cartoonist, which has put his life in jeopardy.
Their belief is that God has not appeared on earth in human form or any other form. We believe that Jesus was God manifested, and yet we don’t treat him with the extreme love, devotion and protective desire that the Muslins demonstrate towards Muhammad, who was merely a receiver of messages from God. I would like to think constantly of Jesus as the most important factor in my life, superior in importance to those I most love, to my possessions and to life itself. But in this, I fail.
Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina wrote, “I also suffer greatly, Father, when I see how people ignore Jesus, and what is worse, how they even insult him, especially by those dreadful blasphemies. I should like to die, or at least become deaf rather than hear so many insults offered to God by men.”
Pope Benedict XVI stated that “We must learn to know intimately Jesus Christ, the God with the human face, and really come into contact with him.”
My third envy is their devotion to the Qur’an, their holy book which was dictated by Muhammad as he heard these words from the Most High. Reverence for the Qur’an (their “Word of Allah”) requires that almost all Muslims commit sizeable portions to memory. One may not touch the original Arabic text without being ritually clean. It may not be carried below waist level and to throw it or tear any of its pages is sacrilege.
Recently, riots broke out when Bishop Bishoy in Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church said that passages in the Qur’an denying the divinity of Jesus might have been inserted after the death of Muhammad. To quiet massive protests, the bishop had to apologize. Can you imagine the Christian community rising up in arms every time a non-believer is critical of our Bible?
When the kook Minister Jones in Florida threatened to burn a Qur’an, revolts broke out in Muslim territories with massive demonstrations, and Jones and President Obama were burned in efface, etc.
I wish I had the same devotion to our Bible that the Muslims have towards their Qur’an. Why don’t I make the commitment to start daily reading and studying our “Word of God”? Perhaps I’ll start tomorrow.
(And what are your thoughts about this? firstname.lastname@example.org
- From the Ralph McInerney’s article, “The Eucharist and Culture”, in the October 30 issue of Inside Catholic:
How easily we lose the sense of wonder of the miraculous…One reads that large numbers of Catholics do not understand or accept the teaching of the real presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament…It may well be that liturgical changes have drained the Mass of awe and reverence. Romper room music and bushels of bonhomie don’t prepare one to receive Jesus in the sacrament. (Comment: Amen!!!)
- “Junkets for Jesus” in the November-December Mother Jones.
Last week, the winner of the autographed copy of Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholic is Dorothy Wilcox in Birmingham, AL. Here are the answers:
1. The two pairs of Apostles who had the same names were the two James’ and the two Judas’.
2. The new president of Catholic University is John H. Garvey.
3. Elijah rode into heaven in a fiery chariot.