Is it just me or does anyone else see this? It seems to me that many people, especially Protestants, but some Catholics want lists.
What do I have to do to be saved?
What are the requirements to be Catholic?
Where is the list of Traditions?
How many times do I have to go to mass or confession?
How do I get to heaven?
Maybe I am looking at this all wrong, but it seems to me that people want a checklist that they can go through and check off like a grocery list… yep… Baptized, check… prayed the sinners prayer , check… Woo hoo I am saved! It seems so legalistic. It begs the question (in my mind anyway) What are you going to do, argue your case at the pearly gates? Do you really think you will be able to argue your way into heaven by doing the bare minimum?
It also seems like it is about doing the minimum and being assured your salvation. How can anyone ever be sure of their salvation given that Jesus said to lust after a woman is to commit adultery? I mean really… I don’t think I am that atypical and I struggle with uncharitable thoughts, anger, etc… to the point that I am constantly praying that I can correct this deficit and confessing my sins and asking for guidance.
To me, all these lists and check boxes reminds me of the Pharisee… you know… the letter of the law vs. the spirit of the law. In my mind, there is no way we can ever do enough for the gift Christ gave us when he died for us. How can we? To my dying day, I will try to be Christ to others, but I will fall short… because I am not God. Every time I pray or do something for somebody… that is nothing compared to what Christ did for me. So how can I even think about minimum standards?
What if Jesus was all about minimum standards? Would he have died for us? Would he even been God? I don’t think so. Jesus was about extending your comfort zone and doing for others… putting everyone before self, treating everyone with love and respect, showing mercy to all who ask for God’s mercy. Aren’t we supposed to imitate his life? So why not ask, What more can I do for God and man today? How can I best serve God? Who needs to know God love him and how can I show it?
Am I crazy, or does anyone else see this prevailing spiral into mediocrity too?