This will be a shorter essay: I figure I’ve given folks enough “penance” already for Lent!
Fallacy #6: “I can’t find the time to come to church to pray on a regular basis. I guess Sunday Mass will have to be enough.” Actually, there are two fallacies involved in this statement.
Part 1: thinking that church is the only place to pray, ‘be holy,’ and seek the spiritual life. But God created the universe before there were churches. So His presence must be able to be found in places besides churches. Yes, when the Blessed Sacrament is reserved churches have a pride of place, but they are not the only place.
Solution, part I: The goal of St Ignatius Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises is “to find God in all things”: to see the Lord in our brothers and sisters (Matthew 25:31-46), to recognize creatures as brothers and sisters (as St Francis of Assisi taught us), and to revere the work of God in all the goodness of creation—seas and rivers, fields and forests, mountains and valleys, sunrise and sunset, planets and stars (see Psalms 8 and 19).
Part II: thinking that the minimum is “good enough.” But who wants to enter into a relationship with someone on the basis of “minimal”? If ever we have tried this, we know from bitter experience that that relationship is doomed to failure. We are always able to ask three questions when it comes to our relationship with God: i. How little can I get away with? ii. How much do I have to do? iii. How much more can I do?
Solution, Part II: listen to the prayer of St Ignatius: “Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve you as you deserve. Grant me to give to you and not to count the cost, to fight for you and not to mind the wounds, to labor and not to seek for rest, to give myself and ask for no reward save the knowledge that I serve my Lord.” We will NOT settle for C-; we will always strive to be A+, and even if we don’t make it, at least we’ll have a shot at being a B.