“Our properly informed conscience should ideally help us not simply to avoid sin and do the minimum, but to act in the way most pleasing to God, especially in valuing the privilege of participating in the most holy Eucharist in which Christ's redeeming sacrifice on the cross is offered for us.”
These words by Fr. Tim Finigan got me cogitating the extent to which we Catholics, in my humble opinion anyway, seem to focus on ‘what we can get away with’ rather than on what it is that will make God happy.
Many of us seem to have forgotten that we are in a relationship with God. We haven’t joined some stuffy club full of rules and laws that govern our behaviour. We have, in response to His love, fallen in love with God and our life should be about the relationship that develops, much like a marriage between a man and a woman.
I don’t live my married life on the basis of what my wife will or won’t allow me to get away with. Neither do I live my life considering what the minimum requirements are in order to fulfil my marital obligations.
I live my married life trying to do what I know makes my wife happy. I continually try to learn what more I could do to make her even happier. And I focus on spending every single possible opportunity together with her, or at least in touch, otherwise what’s the point of being in a relationship with her.
Of course there are instances, even after 24 years of marriage, when I am not sure whether certain intended actions or omissions on my part will make her happy or unhappy. Thankfully it is seldom of such a nature that I am unable delay until I can first discuss it with her for clarity.
Yet, despite 24 years experience and taking time to discuss, I still often make my wife unhappy. Probably more than I even begin to realise. Fortunately there is also the opportunity to reflect and, when necessary, to make amends to show her how sorry I am, before relying on her love of me to forgive me, which thankfully she has always.
Isn’t this what our relationship with God should be like? How do I make him happy, not which rules am I required to obey?
Fortunately the Church has given us a great aid to learn how we can show our love and make God happy. It’s called the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Like the Bible, it should be the tired dog-eared book sitting on the bedside table of each and every Catholic: Our guide to a close and loving relationship with God.