We were just about to begin a marriage preparation class. Only four of the fifteen couples expected where present. With not enough time for my husband to do his 'walk-about', he opened the class with prayer. As we finished introductions and started the video session, he went out looking for the other eleven couples.

The parish in which these classes take place is right in the middle of a small town. The parish buildings are divided by streets. Granted, it is not an easy place to find where our classes are taking place. There are, however, bright signs that we post on the outside door and on our vehicle, hoping to give some direction for those who are coming who are not familiar with this town.

Now, I realize that this is not where these young people necessarily want to be; but they are obligated to participate, as they have chosen to be married in the Church. We always remind them that we, too, have other things to do...the only difference being that we have seen what they are about to see a couple of hundred times!

Lo and behold, nine of these couples were standing on the front yard of the Rectory--even though there was no one there--just waiting. Waiting for someone to show them the way. I'm a little worried about this event.

Here's the thing. In my wildest dreams I cannot imagine my better-half standing around waiting for someone to 'show us the way'. Indeed, the opposite has always been true. On certain occasions, I would try and discourage him from stepping up--always to no avail.

I truly believe that this is who we are becoming; not only as Catholics, but also as Americans. We are waiting for someone to 'show us the way'. As a political junkie, I will spare you my diatribe on the fact that our current crop of 'leaders' are more than willing to take over our lives--in every conceivable way. The deeper problem here is our faith walk.

Now, I'm not talking about these young couples per se; but I am inclined to believe that this little episode speaks volumes about where we are in our journey of faith as Catholics in this still-new century.

For far too many who consider themselves practicing Catholics, this involves sitting in a pew on Sundays--maybe even Holy Days; Reconciliation at Easter and a possible nod to the 'rules' when we want either Marriage or Baptism. But, for the most part, we Catholics in the U.S. today are standing in front of an empty Rectory, just waiting for someone to show us the way.

In those same marriage preparations classes, we tell these couples that it is not enough to know the 'what' of Church teaching....it is necessary to find out the 'why'. It makes much more sense that way. In a nation which prides itself on free speech, free expression, free press, etc., how very fascinating that we don't seem the least bit interested in digging through some of these teachings on our own. Getting the the 'bottom' of what the Church teaches....and, more importantly-why.

Unfortunately, this makes us perfect prey to a media and a culture that is not particularly friendly to the faith institutions of this country. Like lambs to the slaughter.....just waiting.


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