We are wondering if there is any real palpable difference in the logic of our daily lives as a result of our Catholicism, and if not, why not?That little question has been sitting with me for the past couple of days. The comments there are illustrative (obviously, I favor responses over others ...).
I recently met up with an Objectivist friend at the Met, and in the process of arguing with him over the logic of love vs. the logic of rational self-interest, I realized that I knew all the right Catholic things to say, and all the best arguments to put forth, but in terms of my day to day decision making I was much more a Utilitarian than I would like to admit. My lifestlyle in many ways, belied my belief. I too cared about success and power and believed on some perhaps unconscious level that my individual achievements were, in fact, a good indication of my worth. I spoke of self-sacrifice but knew little of it, and I wondered, "Is there any real difference in terms of how I actually live?"
One commenter talked about the triumphalistic church he grew up with and how thankful he is that its smug certitudes are gone (but its worried about a resurgence) ... I've never known that church really. When I was first discovering the Church all those years ago in India, one of the things that excited me was the declaration Nostra Aetate and the idea that non-Catholics weren't automatically condemned to hell. I couldn't square the experience of the witness of the lives of my family and friends with a narrow understanding of extra ecclesiam nulla salus ...
There's many directions this qustion can take us. One would be, "Well, if our lives are so similar to the unbelivers', then, why believe?" Or, perhaps more commonly, "why bother with the institutional trappings of beleif", with "organized religion" as it is called? However, what I've been thinking about most is this: what makes my life distinctively Christian and Catholic, apart from piety? [I should say, however, there seems to be a tendency among some to knock piety -- understood as the external manifestation of one's faith, especially in acts of worship and devotion -- or to assume that piety is always empty ritual masking hypocrisy. Obviously that's simply not true. I suspect it has something to do with a cultural more that values orthopraxis over orthodoxy, but just as much, it could be traced back to Our Lord Himself who strongly denounced religious hyporcrisy, and suggested that we pray in secret where only Our Father in heaven sees us.] Well, I would hope and pray that the Great Commandment is made visible, is embodied in my life. Or, that I diminish while He increases. That seems to be a good measure.
And how am I doing in that regard? I shudder to think ... which is why I really cannot imagine the Christian life lived without the help of the constant renewal and grace of the Sacraments.
So, until that Day comes when all is revealed, I will muddle along in the barque, and pray that the Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.