In the month of October, there are a few things we know will happen: Major League Baseball will begin postseason play and its teams will attempt to make it to the World Series, and individuals, who are not Catholic or who have not received all of the Sacraments of Initiation, will begin RCIA. The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) exists to give the Sacraments of Initiation to people who wish to be in full communion with the Catholic Church. However, there is more to being Catholic than simply receiving the Sacraments. So what does it mean to not just be Catholic, but to live a Catholic life?
Being Catholic is a lot like being a baseball player. If you’re batting .300, then you’re considered a great baseball player. Some of our country’s greatest players, guys like Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and even Derek Jeter, all had career batting averages of about .300, but that also means they didn’t get on base and/or score about 70% of the time. (That’s a lot of mistakes, if you weren’t sure.) Despite their errors, these men are still revered as some of the best individuals who ever stepped up to the plate.
Now, instead of great baseball players and the game of baseball, we can look at living a Catholic life using examples of saints. Take Peter and Paul, for example: Peter denied Jesus three times and yet found reconciliation with God and became the first Pope of the Roman Catholic Church; likewise, Paul was a Jewish official who was persecuting Christians until he was called by God and became one of the most prolific Christian writers (he wrote thirteen of the twenty-seven books found in the New Testament) and a great missionary for the early Church. Neither of these men were without fault, but they are great saints in Heaven with God.
So what does this mean for us? I propose that we can conclude that living a perfect Catholic life is synonymous with the idea of living a whole Catholic life. Attending Mass should be the source and summit of our prayer lives, and is where we receive Jesus in the Eucharist. However, our prayer life isn’t confined to Mass. We’re directed in Scripture to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thes 5:16-18), prayer should be woven into our daily lives. Strengthened and grounded in prayer, we are then equipped to serve our brothers and sisters, fulfilling Christ’s mission. Most importantly, because we sin, we should regularly participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In baseball terms, it would be like working on the fundamentals of hitting if you strike out. It helps you be better and do better (hopefully) the next time that the occasion of sin arises.
Therefore, just as the best baseball teams in the nation are striving for greatness in Major League Baseball, so too should we be striving for wholeness and holiness in our Catholic faith.
Peace & Prayers,