August 04, 2007

Mom, I'm Bored!

When my brother and I were kids, we knew better than to say: "Mom, I'm bored." You KNEW if you said you were bored Mom would find dreadful household chores for you to do like: cleaning the basement or digging the dandelions out of the yard by hand with that cursed dandelion fork implement (I don't think it's an accident that thing looks like Satan's pointed tail!).

How many of us are bored? Spiritually bored? The word for this is: acedia. Bloggers Terry Nelson and Don Marco have had excellent posts on the topic of acedia on their blogs.

I was musing this morning about those Catholics who say they seek out all kinds of spiritual practices, other then Catholic, because they are meaningful to them. The inference being that somehow Catholic practices aren't meaningful to them.

You know the people I mean. The Catholics who do a labyrinth but rather than Catholic meditations on, say, the Way of the Cross or the Rosary they recite contemporary poetry or Buddhist chants during the walk.

They want to tie ribbons to May Poles, each tie signifying a wish, each ribbon carries that wish into the 4 Winds. They journal their poisonous thoughts and then burn them in a pyre of purification.

They take Reiki workshops and Yoga classes. They spend a lot of time talking about their Chakras.

A lot of faithful Catholics wonder: why don't these Catholics just pray at Mass and send those prayers up? Why don't they just go to Confession or unite their prayers with the incensing at Mass or Benediction? If they feel ill, why don't they ask the priest for a blessing or ask for the Anointing of the Sick? Why aren't Litanies or the Rosary adequate 'centering' prayers for these Catholics that always seek something else?

I posit that, in some cases, it may not be that these Catholics feel Catholicism is irrelevent or meaningless. Certainly, there are some Catholics who practice these "New Age" things that do. However, I think some Catholics just can't work through their spiritual acedia.

We are human. We all get bored. Some people can't tolerate routine. They have to have something new all the time. They are spiritual junkies. They run around looking for the next new (to them) spiritual practice that they have not known before and they do that for a while. Eventually, that bores them and on they go to the "next big thing".

I'm not sure we as Catholics should be offended by these people. They don't know what they are doing. They have no more understanding of Buddhism or Hinduism or Kabbalah then they do of Catholicism. They lack depth. They may know each religion but they may not seek to UNDERSTAND it. They know the tenets of each religion but they never get any deeper, because as soon as they are bored or frustrated they move on. We should pray for them.

It can be difficult to follow a routine, to commit to it. It's a mental discipline to stay with a routine. Who among us has not, on occasion, been bored at Adoration? How many of us have had our minds wander during Mass? How many of us waiting for Father in the Confessional are thinking about dinner rather than calling to mind our sins?

The strong recognize their weakness and work through it. The true mental discipline is STAYING with it-not just giving up and walking away. Any recovering addict will tell you that the first step to recovery is recognizing that you have a problem. Many addicts will fail at times. Yet, those who will succeed shrug failure off and move on. Tomorrow is a new day. Tonight, I can go to Adoration again and make it better. Tomorrow, I can go to Mass again and strive to remain involved.

The "ritual hoppers" will never be satisfied. Today, Pow-Wows, tomorrow, Santaria. Whatever keeps their short attention span engaged in their quest for "something meaningful" they will try for a time.

It may not be that they forgot that the "something meaningful" can be found in Holy Mother Church. They just lack the patience to seek it thru the meaningful rituals and devotions we've already been gifted with.

Rather than complain and walk away, tell Our Mother you are bored and offer your sufferings to her. She may have a task for you, but most Mother's do.


Blogger Ray from MN said...

Very well stated, Cathy.

It seems to be the same sickness that society has been dealing with for the past forty years that not only has affected individual Catholics, but also parishes, dioceses, religious orders, lay apostolates, the priesthood and the Vatican itself.

Surely at the root of it is that chief of the deadly sins, pride, that has people convinced that we can figure things out by ourselves as we explore the options the modern world presents to us.

I am not immune, either.

August 04, 2007 1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to my's a form of addiction..many Catholics chase after for example Marian apparitions out of an addictive need to break out of spiritual dryness..for others their acedia might be a medical depression which no amount of praying would heal (apart from the rare miraculous of course) interesting topic..

August 05, 2007 10:29 AM  

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