Sunday, September 15, 2013

40 Days to Better: Day 14

Today is Sunday.  Historically held up by Christians as a day of rest.  And I have chosen to rest from running most Sunday's recently.  So, no run today.

I was awakened by animals clamoring for breakfast.  I'll have to walk the dog before leaving to teach Sunday school.

With teaching Sunday school, attending mass, grocery shopping, and some other things around the house, it won't be a complete day of rest by any means.  But it rarely is.

So, what is the lesson today for the road to better?  I'll take up something that Fr. Sam often mentions to parents in the pews at St . Pius X church where we attend.  He tells parents not to worry so much about the kids fussing some.  Without kids who are fussing in the pews now, we won't have older kids who can sit through mass, who then become teenagers who are actively involved, and adults who stay in the parish.  In other words, without children in the pews, we have no future.

Fr. Sam also talks about the "fire in the belly" in terms of excitement about what is going on at church.  Fr. Sam's frequent comments make me think of a recent gathering for catechists across the archdioceses that I was lucky enough to attend, Fr. James Martin talked about the lack of joy and humor in the Catholic church.

Why is that important?  Think of the best science or math teacher you ever had.  What did they do that made them the best?  They probably did something to make you see how exciting the subject was.  We could call that joy.

Father Martin mentioned how little excitement or joy we show in how we conduct mass as Catholics, how we attend mass as Catholics, and how we teach to our children.  Obviously, not every teacher or every parishioner or every priest lacks joy in the way they present what we do.  But many do.

So, as I enter this year, I will focus on bringing joy to my classroom.  First, my joy.  Maybe that will be contagious.

I know that when I talk about my running, I show joy.

When I tell the story behind my tattoo--which actually relates to my faith--I show joy.

When I talk about my marriage--I show joy.

Even when I talk about my job--most of the time--I show joy.

That joy is essential to my life.  I am an optimist. I am usually a happy optimist.  I get joy from a lot of things.

That joy, as we were reminded in a recent catechist preparation class at St Pius, is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.  A gift from God (as the Holy Spirit is part of the Holy Trinity.)  That joy is something that I am called on to share--through running, story-telling in general, work, and teaching about God, as well as any other positive pursuit I may have in life.  

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