“The world offers you comfort. You were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness. -Pope Benedict XVI
I have always loved this succinct quote from Pope Benedict XVI. It’s a jolting statement that both convicts and motivates me.
And so does this particular, albeit more informal version: “Get out of the Catholic baby pool!”
This blunt directive is not a quote from a saint or a pope— it is something I wrote several years ago in the journal I use at Eucharistic Adoration. The words came to me quite suddenly, an unmistakable holy whisper to my heart, as I sat silently praying in the Adoration chapel and asking the Lord for guidance and direction. This was the answer I “heard” from him.
Well, Sistas, I don’t know if you’ve ever laughed out loud in an Adoration chapel, but let me warn you that if you do, you get some funny looks. I couldn’t help myself; it cracked me up. My Lord really knows how to speak to me on my level!
Are You in the Baby Pool?
After I gathered myself a bit, I started to process this clever little inspiration. The truth hit me hard: As a Christian, I had been going through the motions and spiritually sleepwalking for a long time. I was not awake to how much Jesus loves me or how much he desires for me to tell his story and show his love to others. I was a spiritual couch potato, sitting around eating Doritos and flipping through channels, thinking I was doing just fine. I was going to Mass, trying not to break any commandments, being a “good” person. But I was unaware that my actions as a follower of Jesus Christ were lukewarm at best. [Side note: Jesus is not fond of lukewarm. Revelation 3:15-16 says: I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.”] Yep. That was me, alright, splashing around in the shallow end, the Catholic baby pool, where it was safe and comfortable and I didn’t have to take any risks. It was time to get out.
Jesus wants us out of the baby pool, my friends. Life is short here on earth and there is much work to be done! We can dive in and respond to the hurt around us with love. And kindness. And mercy. And service. Every single day. We can be bold and brave and live out our faith in big and small ways. We can be the antidote to this cold, secular world.
But not if we stay in the baby pool.
We are the hands and feet of the Church. St. Teresa of Avila tells us: “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world, yours are the feet with which he walks to do good, yours are the hands with which he blesses all the world.” Jesus needs us! Join me, will you? Let’s stand up, walk on over to the deep end, take a big breath (plug your nose if you must!) and jump in. Let’s get motivated, get moving and get involved. Sistas, we are not made for the baby pool— we are made for greatness. Come on in, the water’s fine! (And it’s definitely not lukewarm!)
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About Mary Beth Weisenburger
Mary Beth is a 50-something magazine editor, a family humor columnist and an author, but her favorite form of writing is prayer journaling. Praying with a pen every morning for years dramatically strengthened her spiritual life, even drawing her back home to the fullness of the Catholic Church after several decades away! She recently published a book with Beacon Publishing/Dynamic Catholic titled, “Praying with a Pen—the Girlfriends’ Guide to Stress-Free Prayer Journaling.” Married for 30+ years to her witty and wonderful husband, she's a mom to two adult children: one a seminarian studying in Rome and the other a happily married school social worker who promoted Mary Beth to grandma status in March of 2018. Mary Beth is a member of her church choir, loves to sing at big Catholic weddings and has recently begun facilitating Catholic book studies and retreats for women. With a background in corporate communications and marketing and a Master’s degree in Business and Organizational Leadership, she has spoken to over 100 groups on the topics of leadership, family humor, writing and prayer journaling. Mary Beth has a borderline unhealthy attachment to her little dog, Sammy and, when the mood strikes her, she blogs about prayer journaling (and Sammy) at www.prayingwithapen.com.