All the Everything’s are cancelled here in Missouri today- not just in a few places, but literally all over. (Thus- all the everythings.)
Ice is in the forecast And here in the Show Me State, we don’t mess around with ice. In fact, if today were Sunday, we might even get a dispensation from our Catholic Obligation to got to weekly mass. People in other denominations might be able to declare they are having church at home. But we have a list (and it’s a short one which includes dangerous travel conditions) for acceptable reasons to skip.
I often feel like skipping- mass can be boring. Also, it is so cozy in bed on Sunday. Or we have important plans with important friends on Saturday at 4. I work realllly hard during the week. I just want to do what I want to do- the highlight reel of which includes staying in sweats and refusing to wash my face. Besides, if we aren’t on this planet to do good things while we are here, than what are we here for anyway? This is a serious question I often ponder while concurrently concocting excuses to miss mass.
So it’s just typical that on a day it would be permissible to skip mass the calendar says Friday instead of Sunday.
I identify as a Catholic. And like you, I align my behaviors with my identity. The author Nir Eyal would argue I have an identity pact with myself (I’d say it’s with God, but why split hairs?). Everyone makes choices based on who he or she believes him/her self to be. Research has conclusively shown, that how we think about ourselves has a profound impact on how we ultimately deal with distractions and unproductive behavior.
The genius of the Church is that there are obligations designed to embed habits into our lives so that we are able to stay in line with a straight shot at identifying with Jesus. To think of ourselves as Catholic is to understand our obligation to be the best versions of ourselves- which won’t get us to Jesus status- but will at least keep us headed in the correct direction.
The trouble is that I, for one, am radically incapable of going for any length of time in the service of using my talents for God’s work without a tangible reminder. Regardless of how tired I am, or how unentertained I might be, weekly mass unfailingly delivers a guidepost for the weekly renewal of thoughts, actions, practices, moral virtue, joy, and hope (a list concocted by none other than our main man Saint JP2). And all of that taken together points, aims, and fires us off into a week to do the really good things we were each put here to do. This obligation simply voids almost all excuses. Off to mass we must go. We will be better, much better. for it.