14 July 2015

What I have failed to do.....

Any Catholic who reads this post will recognize the following prayer. We pray this prayer before we start every Mass. It is part of the Penitential Act.

I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have

greatly sinned

in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done
and in what I have failed to do,

through my fault,

through my fault,
through my most grievous fault

therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,

all the Angels and Saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.

We confess that our sins are of thought and word, of omission and commission. Jesus never had an evil thought, never spoke an evil word (not even when He was chastising the Pharisees for their blindness), never did anything wrong, and never failed to do the right thing. It’s a tough act to follow, but with the grace of God – which comes to us especially through frequent sacramental Confession and reception of Holy Communion – we can be built up “to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph. 4:13)

Sins of omission, what i have failed to do? This, to me, is a very scary part of the prayer. We are asking forgiveness for what we failed to do. In order to ask for forgiveness, we must admit that we have failed to do something. The question is, what have i failed to do?

This leads me to the question, how much is too much? My Priest once told me that we as a Church do not do enough to stop abortion in our community. I pointed out all that our Church does in the community and he said "As long as abortion exist, we do not do enough".

As long as there are people going hungry in our community, are we sinning in our failure to prevent hunger if we are overweight?

As long as there are poor among us that cannot pay there bills, are we sinning by living in opulence? Are we sinning if after the end of the month we have funds left over and we do not give to those less fortunate than us? Is giving 10% of our first fruits enough to keep us from failing to do?

I like to think of myself as a decent guy who goes to church regularly, i give my money and my time to my church. I am involved in community projects to help the poor, hungry, and less fortunate. I thought i was doing the right thing up until the other day i decided i wanted a new wrist watch.

I was driving back from Abilene and as i looked at my watch i thought to myself, maybe it is time to get a new watch. I rolled the idea around in my head for several miles and decided i wanted to buy a Rolex. Not the jewel encrusted type, just a nice simple Rolex.

Granted, a Timex keeps the same time as a Rolex but a Rolex is a status symbol. To me, it was going to be a symbol that "I Made It". I could afford to wear a $5K watch simply because i could.

Now the question keeps popping into my head, what have i failed to do? Is buying a Rolex too much? How much food could be bought with that $5K i was going to spend? Am i failing to do?

I don't think it is sinful to own nice things. We go to work everyday to provide for our family and ourselves. For example, I need a truck that can pull a big trailer. I am pretty much limited to a one ton pickup truck. I do not think it is sinful to pay a little more to get an upgraded package as opposed to the base model. After all, I earned it. Or did I?

Is it wrong to have a bigger or nicer house than what we need? Do we need tile showers when fiberglass will work? Do we need granite counter tops when Formica will work? Do we need to buy a dog with a pedigree when there are so many dogs in shelters?

I don't know the answers to all of these questions. I sure wish i did. I do know that i will not buy that Rolex.

Hopefully someone can give my some insight. I look forward to hearing from you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remember one time picking up a package of steaks, walking to the buggy, turning around and walking back, setting it down to and picking up a lesser expensive package; a different cut of meat. Only person that knew was me yet I felt guilty eating $15 a pound steaks and opted for the $10 a pound sirloins instead. But heck, should I have gotten the $5 a pound pork steaks? I am over weight, should I not buy any steaks at all and buy salad instead?

From the clothes on your back, to the shoes in your closet, to the watch on your wrist…you can almost always have spent less or more for these items. Only you and your conscience can determine if you are a good steward of God’s money. And if guilt sets in on a potential purchase, well then there is your answer. Some say the what we call a conscience is actually the Holy Spirit talking to us.