Does anybody else find something bewildering in the five precepts of the Church i.e.
- You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on Holy Days of Obligation and rest from servile labour.
- You shall confess your sins at least once a year.
- You shall receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist at least once a year, during the Easter season.
- You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.
- You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church.
(p197 I Believe - A Little Catholic Catechism)
If you take this as a ‘minimum’ for being a Catholic, essentially you would confess once, receive the Eucharist once and go to 51 Sunday masses without receiving the Eucharist (as you would probably not be in a state of grace for the rest of the year), but still be a ‘good’ Catholic.
As a Catholic you would no doubt find yourself somewhere between this minimum, and an ideal state where you confess your sins every day, attend Mass every day, and receive the Eucharist every day.
I just find that when I think about this, I think about :
People who can’t get to Mass every week,
People receiving the Eucharist week after week without being in a state of grace,
People who haven’t fasted in years,
People who haven’t confessed in years, etc
but still consider themselves Catholic because they believe in the fundamental truths of the faith.
Should being Catholic be more about trying to reach the ideal goal in your own way, in your own situation, and what is in your heart and soul rather than being hung up about counting sins, or counting the times you missed Mass or confession, or whether you’re matching up to the people around you?
(I’m not advocating changing any rules or dogma, just wondering about the way that people think about these things and apply them to their lives and their faith.)