Privileges and Responsibilities

One thought that has floated through my head a number of times is that I'm now fully Catholic with all of the privileges and responsibilities that come with that.

A few weeks ago was the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day of obligation. So I had to make sure that I got to Mass on both Saturday and Sunday. I've gone to Mass on the last couple of holy days, but it is an even bigger deal to make sure I go now. I also have to make sure that I observe the Communion fast before I go to Mass. Again, I've usually been doing this anyway, but if I didn't plan well or whatever, I didn't worry too much since I couldn't receive anyway. I'm Catholic so I'm obligated to do these things now.

Funny thing is, it doesn't really feel like an obligation. The privileges that come with it are just amazing! I get to observe these special days in the church year by going to Mass, and when I go to Mass, I get to receive Jesus! I get to not eat before I go to Mass so I can prepare myself for worship and remember what an awesome privilege it is. These "rules" bring me great pleasure because of all the things that go with them.

It reminds me of the book I just finished, Letters to a Young Catholic. The last bit was talking about freedom and what that means. He says that all of those rules, holy days of obligation, fasting, aren't just arbitrary rules, but that "the moral life involves rules for living that emerge from inside the human heart and its thirst for happiness with God." Real freedom isn't being able to do what I want, that doesn't bring happiness. Real freedoms is "the kind of freedom that satisfies our natural desire for happiness, which itself reflects our desire for God, who is all Good, all the way. Freedom helps us grow into the kind of people who can live with that God forever."

That is what all of those responsibilities are about. They aren't a burden imposed on me randomly and for no reason. They are a privilege that have emerged from humans hearts for the past 2000 years. They bring real freedom. They bring salvation!

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