We have had many conversations at our parish about “expectations”. Like any good family or community there are expectations that we should all strive to live by so that we can grow together. However, expectations in the sense of a faith life can seem a bit harsh to some. How are you supposed to measure something as intangible as spiritual growth?
Seeing as Lent and Easter are upon us and the Sacrament of Confirmation is happening all the time around us, it seemed like an always appropriate time to reflect on what it means to be Catholic. Not just what we do or say when we go to Church, but what living as a Catholic might look like to our families and our communities.
The most important aspect of being Catholic is being baptized, which is why we regularly renew our baptismal promises during special seasons and sacraments of the Church. However, in baptism we are called by Christ to five specific things, according to Bishop Robert Morneau: holiness, maturity, community, service and generosity. Answering these calls is what we must do as Catholics to be “a fruitful vine” (John 15:5). We know that a vine is healthy because it gives us a sign – fruit! Instead of expectations, here are five signs (or fruits of the Spirit!) that we are answering our baptismal calls and some practical ways of showing it!
We form ourselves through regular study at the parish and in our homes. (Baptismal Call to Maturity)
Parish: Attend parish formation sessions, adult bible studies, and speakers, at least once per month and as needed for sacrament preparation.
Everyday: Commit one hour each week to personal devotion, prayer time, and teaching time with your family.
We attend weekly Eucharist and other events within our community and family. (Baptismal Call to Holiness)
Parish: Attend Mass weekly, be fed by the Eucharist and insist the same for your family.
Everyday: Be present to your loved ones by way of at least two family or community meals, sports and school events or spontaneous time together.
We invest generously of our first fruits – money and time – within our parish and community. (Baptismal Call to Generosity)
Parish: Give sacrificially in support of the mission of our parish. Give everything you think you can – 5% or more if you are able.
Everyday: Give more than you are asked in your work, in your home life, in your community. Small gestures that go above and beyond invest large amounts of goodwill in our world and culture. Marriage and parenthood is never 50/50.
We take time to serve our parish, community and family. (Baptismal Call to Service)
Parish and Everyday: Spend three hours each week serving within the parish, at local schools or shelters, or intentionally committed to the needs of your family.
We help others to grow as stewards and witnesses of Christ. (Baptismal Call to Community)
Parish: Invite and welcome others to Masses and parish events. Be open to teaching, leading, and sharing the faith with other members.
Everyday: Talk about your faith and be an example of Christ in your work, your schools, and your family. Don’t be afraid to talk about God or your beliefs or to make your faith a priority over other things in your life.
This time of year you will find Amberly buried in Confirmation preparations for her 50+ candidates at the parish. Please offer your special prayers for these wonderful young people. Being from Green Bay, she’s hopefully still cheering on and/or celebrating with the Packers! She’s trying to keep up her writing at Woman at the Inkwell, but she makes no promises. Her husband Kevin and two children are fending for themselves.