Taking a Break

Brendan - Springfield, Massachusetts
Entered on May 19, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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Last spring I received Confirmation (one of the seven Holy Sacraments). Upon receiving this sacrament, my bond with God is said to have grown stronger, and in the Church’s words I became “a soldier of Christ”.

From that day forward I was a confirmed Catholic. I have received every holy sacrament except for marriage, the Last Rites, and priesthood, so I am technically bound to my religion, as swearing allegiance to God is a part of each sacrament. In a sense, I am bound to the Catholic Church by a set of contracts. But they were contracts I had little or no part in accepting. I didn’t convert to my religion by free will. Therefore I believe my “contracts” with God can be temporarily broken since I didn’t have much of a part in accepting them. I have the right to take a break from my religion.

It doesn’t seem like there would be much of a penalty for giving my religion a rest for the next year. I don’t follow it to the extent I should anyway. For instance, during Lent, I ate meat just about every Friday instead of abstaining from it. And I didn’t just fail to abstain, I committed capital offenses. I remember one Friday I inadvertently had a Triple Whopper and on another occasion I had a Big Mac. And shortly afterwards when someone reminded me that it was Lent, I didn’t even feel bad about my misconduct. All I did was eat hamburgers. I didn’t commit any serious sins. Is that so bad?

After ignoring my religion for a while maybe I will feel like “something is missing”. Maybe I will feel impelled to reunite with the Catholic Church. The good thing about religion is that I can always go back to it. The situation isn’t like losing a possession where you will likely never get it back. It is more like abandoning an old hobby. I can choose not to participate in it, thereby giving it a break.

When I get tired of taking a break, I can revisit Catholicism. There is a story told by Jesus called The Prodigal Son in which a father gives money to his two sons who are leaving him and living on their own. One son invests his money, spends it wisely, and eventually makes a profit. The other wasted his father’s money on gambling and prostitutes. Once he was broke and realized what he had done, he returned to his father, who welcomed him with open arms and celebrated his return with a party. His reason for celebrating even though the younger son made bad choices was this: “for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.” Through telling this story, Jesus is stating that God will always be there, no matter how badly you sin. Maybe I should take a break from Catholicism. I might even get a big party out of it.