Questions About Faith

Why don't I get anything out of Mass?

You may be asking the wrong question. Try looking at it this way.

Your life is overflowing with responsibilities and distractions. Can it get any more fast-paced? There's so much to get in the way of your experience of God at Mass. God understands this.

So, for starters, the next time you walk into church look at the people all around you. Remember it's another family. It's God's family and you are an important part of this family. Take a minute to look at the faith around you -- all those believing hearts. Look at the children. See the people like you who are struggling to give God their Sunday best.

Then ask yourself, what can you bring this Sunday? The week ahead? Your relationships with your family? Your work? Your efforts to make the world a better place? Your love?

Next step. Ask for help. Focus on another Father or Mother. Bring God right into the mix of the Mass.

And remember, you're not alone. Ask Christ to scoop this all up for you in His active love. Just open your heart to receive him. See if this won't make a difference.

By the way, don't forget to say thanks. You know, that's what Eucharist means.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

This is a tough one.

Bottom line? We don't really know what the answer is. But we know what the answer isn't. It's not because God wants to punish us.

There is no answer to the mystery of suffering and death. But a mystery is not a problem to be solved. A mystery is a person to be met -- God.

Our God is a loving God. So when something bad happens, God's hand and strength are there to walk us through it. We don't have to walk through it alone. Never. Ever.

Joys and sorrows are the stuff that all relationships are made of. So it is with our relationship with God. We know this. We just don't understand the why of it all.

The understanding is a journey, just as Christ's whole life on earth was a journey. The challenge is to walk through the journey with God. It will never be easy. But as time goes on, faith brings strength and a depth of understanding of this God who is always there.

Say it often. "God I need your help. No. I need you."

How do I pray?

Well, actually, it's not something you can do. It's a gift that God gives you. It's up to you to use it. There is this idea that when we pray, we lift up our minds and hearts to God. That's old language, but the idea is still pretty good. Okay, but how?

Prayer is a mix of head and heart. And heart and head. Whichever comes first.

Start by thinking of your favorite words about God. That's the mind part.

Then it's time to bring in your heart. Get in touch with your feelings. You know, there are no bad feelings. You feel what you feel. Just tell God. Do you feel love? Fear? Hope? Anger? Tell God. When you do, guess what-- you're praying!

The key is this: Don't over-orchestrate. Don't try to control things. Let God take the lead. It may mean being very quiet. Very still. Just listen.

And don't forget, you don't always need to use someone else's words to pray. Matter of fact, it's you and your words that God loves best.