There has been a plethora of articles in the Catholic Blogosphere over the last few months sharing opinions about how we should go about living out the Year of Mercy.
You’ve seen them…
“Stop being sarcastic,” “Forgive that one family member you’ve been holding a grudge against,” “Start praying more,” “Show your children the love of Christ with each interaction,” and on, and on, and on.
Those are all great, and they all present opportunities for us to take steps toward growing in holiness both in this Year of Mercy and beyond.
However, when I look at the Catholic Social Media Universe, there is one thing that I feel needs to be taken on more than all the rest given this amazing opportunity handed to us by Pope Francis.
One clear-cut way we could help out a bunch of souls searching for truth and guidance among the many Catholic blogs and Twitter accounts of the world is to keep it real.
Keep it real. That’s it.
If you spend any amount of time in the Catholic Blogosphere or Twitterverse, you can quickly start to fall into a feeling of not being good enough.
Not being a good-enough Catholic, not being a good-enough man, not being a good-enough mother.
Click after click after click reveal more and more people who are doing it all and doing it all well, while we find ourselves walking out the door with mismatched shoes after yelling at the kids and falling asleep during our Rosary the night before.
We see articles about embracing the challenge of your kids being little monsters, because you’re going to miss it once they grow up. We see articles about how every good Catholic should know at least ten prayers in Latin. We see articles about how our culture has turned men into a bunch of weaklings, and if we want to get our families to Heaven we had better “man up” and start lifting weights while praying the Angelus three times a day.
It can all start to feel a bit overwhelming.
I can barely get the kids bathed and in bed at a reasonable hour…how am I going to make sure to blend kale into their spaghetti sauce?
I can barely kiss my wife when I arrive home before I start complaining about my day…how am I going to make sure I’m helping out with the daily chore of NFP charting?
I can barely respond to all my work emails by the end of the day…how am I going to make time to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, because after all, it only takes 15 minutes! Don’t I have 15 minutes to give to the Lord?!?!
Sometimes it’s enough to make me want to scream!
While the intentions of the Catholic Blogosphere are surely good, good fruit doesn’t always follow.
Sometimes, Catholic moms can read an article meant to inspire them and keep them pushing forward, and come away feeling empty and terrible at what they thought was their vocation.
Sometimes, Catholic husbands can read an article meant to push them forward in the faith journey, and come away feeling dejected and even more emasculated than before.
Sometimes, a couple struggling with NFP can read an article meant to showcase the joys of the Creighton Method, and come away feeling that they just aren’t cut out for this.
I’m suggesting that maybe if we try harder to keep it real, we might bring more light than we do in suggesting the ideal.
Sometimes, Catholic moms need to read an article about how difficult and unrewarding staying home with the kids can feel, and how it’s completely okay to have those feelings.
Sometimes, Catholic husbands need to read an article about how they’re probably doing the best they can, and rather than trying to take more on, they should work on being happy with where they’re at today.
Sometimes, a couple struggling with NFP needs to read an article that NFP isn’t all the hugs and snuggles that people make it out to be, and feeling like you want to give up is totally normal.
Sometimes, Catholics need to hear other Catholics keeping it real, and the Year of Mercy seems like a great place to kick that off.
Copyright 2016 Tommy Tighe