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Msgr. Pope on giving to God January 20, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery, sadness, scandals.

One thing that has struck me about Catholics, coming from a protestant background, is the comparitive pusillanimity of giving to the Church.  Protestant churches with much smaller congregations tend to receive far higher levels of funding from their parishioners.  Going hand in hand with the post yesterday on striving to give more time for God, Msgr. Charles Pope of the very commendable Archdiocese of Washington blog  discusses the need to give more both of time and treasure:

But as for God, he too easily gets the financial leftovers. We may spend hundreds of dollars at a fine restaurant, 20 to 30 dollars going to the movies, hundreds more to go to a cold wet stadium and watch football and eat over-priced hotdogs. We will plop down large amounts for video games and Wii accessories, and yet feel like a hero if we drop $10 in the collection plate instead of our usual $5. Never mind that Scripture says that God is to get the first 10% of our income (e.g. Malachi 3:8-12), the fact is, he usually gets the leftovers. After the mortgage, car note, cable bill, magazine subscription and credit card bill are paid, after all the impulse spending, we figure out what, if anything is left and from that give to God. But truth be told He doesn’t get paid upfront like the like Mr. Walmart, God gets the leftovers.

For things we really like, money is no object, Charge it! But giving to the Archbishop’s Lenten Appeal, or increasing our offertory to afford the new parish education building is considered an odious imposition and our soul cries out, “Not again?!”

The fact is we  just don’t value God and the things of God like we value comfort and entertainment. It may be a hard truth but it’s right there in our spending habits, plain as day. At the end of the day our priorities are pretty plain.

And as for our time – here too the overall portrait is pretty bleak. The vast majority of Catholics give NO time to God at all.  3/4 s don’t even go to Mass. Quite certainly they don’t pray either on any regular basis, if at all. As for the 20-25% who do go to Mass God gets 45 – 60 minutes a week. But beyond that, how much does the average Catholic pray each day? [In my experience, essentially none, most Catholics are terribly weak at prayer – ED]  How much time do they spend with Scripture or the study of their faith?

Time for everything else – Now, of course, everyone is busy in these stress filled times. But we find time for everything else. We find time to sleep and eat, time to watch our favorite shows. We find time for vacations and other diversions. Many people can spend hours shopping, watching sports games, movies and the like. But when it comes to prayer, study of the faith, teaching the faith to children, reading Scripture, or helping the poor…., well, you know, “I’m just so busy.”

At the football game everyone is excited when it goes into overtime. But if Mass runs long, there is irritation. Football is about a bag full of air being pitched around a field. But Mass is about eternal verities and soul-saving grace. But never mind, five hours on football is reasonable, but a Mass longer than 45 minutes is unreasonable.

The truth, as told by time,  is that many value leisure and worldly activities far more than God or the faith. For most people God gets nothing of their time, for some he gets an hour a week, only a very small percentage give more.

I was having  a discussion with a priest about this recently.  I was stating that I wished that some of the Masses I assisted at were longer!   I was opining that it would be nice if the Roman Canon were prayed instead of the (deficient in many respects) Eucharist Prayer II, and that priests would avail themselves more of the periods of silence that are supposed to be present in the Mass, longer homilies if the subject warrants, etc.  He made the valid points that, well, at daily Mass people need to get to work, on Sunday’s we have Masses jam packed 1 1/2 hours apart, etc.  Still……I pray that he may reconsider and think about incorporating the things I mentioned, which might turn a 30 minute daily Mass into a 35-37 minute Mass.  Since most folks at daily Mass are retired, it shouldn’t be too big an imposition, but, I am certain there would be complaints. 

Since some of my readers attend the same Mass as I, would you be angered if the Mass were 5-10 minutes longer on weekdays?  What about on Sunday?

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