“Live What You Believe” Sub-Pages:
Just going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. – G.K. Chesterton
Our faith should encompass our whole being, not just what we do in church. I find this example from The Winged Watchman by Hilda Van Stockum to be particularly powerful (The context is a family living in Holland during World War II – the neighbor’s son is helping the Nazis… This is a GREAT book – make sure you read it!!!):
Mother was shocked when Father told her that Leendert Schenderhans had become a landwatcher. “And the parents such Good Catholics!” she cried.
“Hmph!” grunted Father. “You women always judge people by what they do in church. I judge them by what they do outside. Farmer Schenderhans is getting rich in the black market.”
There’s a really thought-provoking movie; an old classic from the 1960s. I wonder if it was somewhat controversial in its day because it deals with a white woman marrying a black man. I thought it was interesting and classic because it went much deeper than the typical political divides between those who take one position over another. Instead it plunged deeply into the challenge of a couple being confronted with the reality of their own beliefs!
The movie is called Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? starring Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy as a white couple from San Francisco who are completely on board with the civil rights movement – until their daughter becomes engaged to a black man! What a fascinating and honest piece!
What does living our beliefs mean in the context of the faith? Many things, I’m sure. Here are some examples in terms of our pro-Life beliefs:
Remember that pregnancy is not a sin. Yes, it can be the result of a sin, but in our culture we often get mixed up between these things (with an overemphasis on what is visible to others) and it does make a difference! As Catholics, we believe that marriage is not a sacrament intended to fix mistakes. Being supportive of a pregnant daughter or other close relative does not include pressuring her to rush into marriage.
Be generous to those in need and never scornful of their mistakes. Support your local pregnancy help center! These guys do great work and I am just in awe of how the donation of small material things can make all the difference in a needy mother choosing life. It might only cost you the price of an infant car seat!!! Even for those who don’t have much financial help to offer (or much time to volunteer) there are other things you can do. For example, our family signs up a pregnancy help center for gifts through our parish giving tree at Christmas every year. My husband then delivers the car seats, playpens, snowsuits, etc. to the center, which is not far from his workplace.
Be supportive of families and children. Being pro-child and pro-family includes exercising patience with little ones we come across in church or in a restaurant. Don’t criticize the poor mother’s parenting skills. She may need some help in that department, but she may simply be having a bad day. Maybe she’s a military mom whose husband is away at war. Give her the benefit of the doubt and treat her and her children with kindness.