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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Pinata Faith

Growing up, I was the kid at birthday parties who hated pinatas. I would see one and I would just groan and stand in line somewhere behind the kid I perceived as the strongest so I wouldn't have to take part.

My first experience with a pinata was when I was about 3 or 4 at a giant Christmas party. They lined us up from youngest to oldest and had us swing at the pinata shaped like Santa. When it was finally my turn they gave me a large wooden bat, that I couldn't really pick up, blindfolded me and let me swing at air. I could hear the older kids laughing and I hated it. Then I went off to the side and watched Santa getting creamed with a baseball bat. Needless to say I didn't get any candy. I had tried to swing at a pinata after that, but it was consistently missing followed by laughter. I am not a pinata fan.

The idea for this topic came from talking with my husband. I had taken a couple days away from the blog and when I came back my total hits had increased 400%. I was flabbergasted and knew I had gotten some viewers from Big Pulpit, friends who I had told at Living The Sacrament, Phatmass, and Facebook, and was pleasantly shocked when I also saw referrals from the National Catholic Register and the Diocese of Lubbock, Texas. (Howdy from MN) So, thank you for your readership!

I asked my husband what was I doing to get readership? Our conversation went like this:
Me: What am I doing right?
DH: You hit at truth.
Me: Yeah, I hit at truth like children hit a pinata; I miss a lot and maybe once I get lucky.
DH: So do all writers.
Me: But, *pout* I've never hit a pinata.
Humorous as our exchange is, my next thought got my mind spinning. Many Catholics I know, myself included, have that kind of response to our faith. We will swing around wildly trying to hit some form of truth and then pray we get a payback.

Wikimedia Commons

Pinatas have been used to describe the relationship between sin and faith in our lives. The traditional seven pointed pinata depicts the seven deadly sins and by being blindfolded and disoriented, we are sent swinging in our faith to persevere over sin. Once habits and sins are broken we are rewarded for our steadfast and persistent faith.

On the other hand I look at the state of Catholicism in the United States. People pick and choose what they want to believe in. People saying "I'm spiritual but not religious" or that "the Church doesn't have a right to tell me what to believe." Priests who don't speak up on topics of marriage, fidelity, addiction or even say the word sin in their homilies. Especially, as we have just celebrated Good Shepherd Sunday, we are a people wildly swinging hoping to come in contact with truth and collect the benefits when it is opened up to them. Then we are left as I was at 4 years old, disheartened, disillusioned and sad because we didn't come close to touching anything.

I may paint a bleak picture but this is what we are asked to leave through the Year of Faith. We celebrate the start of the Second Vatican Council and the publishing of the Catechism of the Catholic Church with mediocrity? No, we are called to live out our faith as a verb while we learn about our faith as a noun.

I also remember when the Catechism of the Catholic Church was first published 20 years ago. My mom bought one from the back of the church and had the cover laminated so it would last. It looked like the picture to the left but it was in hardcover. I remember as a young child wondering what was so special about this book. It was explained to me that it was a book that contained what we believed as Catholics.

Once I was older and had more knowledge of Catholic teaching I would find a topic that I was interested in and just read. I soaked up knowledge like a sponge and I loved it. Now I utilize it or the YouCat to help prepare the teens I work with.

The Year of Faith is still going on. You can pick up a good book like Pope Benedict XVI's Jesus of Nazareth, or the Catechism of the Catholic Church. You can utilize online platforms such as Flocknote's Catechism in a Year delivered straight to your inbox. You can check out recordings from Lighthouse Catholic Media.

In a homily I heard over Lent, the priest instructed us that even if we haven't engaged in a Lenten practice yet, it wasn't too late. The same can be said for this Year of Faith. Just because you may not have started engaging in your Catholic faith, doesn't mean it's too late to start.

In the comments below, let me know what you are doing for your Year of Faith.