Letters to the Editor

August 19, 2014

Obligation more like a life jacket

A lot of Catholics bemoan "holy days of obligation," especially when these days fall during the week, because some feel it poses an inconvenience. The reasoning goes that after working all day people just want to come home and rest. And some believe this "obligation" imposes an undue burden upon the conscience if they miss Mass.

Holy days of obligation are really just a "call to holiness," an extra opportunity to grow closer to God. If one feels they are holy enough, that they don't need the extra grace from God, then by all means, stay home and rest. But those who desire to grow in holiness, then holy days are indispensable.

The following parable will hopefully elucidate how holy days should be viewed.

A ship sails out to sea 100 miles from shore with 10 excellent swimmers on board. The ship begins to sink and there is only one life jacket. Nine swimmers refuse the life jacket because they believe they are able to swim back to shore. The tenth swimmer feels it is more prudent and wise to take the life preserver.

The point of the story is the swimmer who takes the life jacket is like the person who goes to Mass on holy days. They realize if their strength fails the grace of God will keep them afloat.

So if your faith is important to you, then making the extra effort to please God will seem less like an obligation and more of an opportunity to praise God.

John A. Mitan


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