As a teenager, my parents set my curfew at midnight. Sometimes I went over, got punished, apologized, reformed (repeat). I didn’t always like it, but I understood I needed to abide by the rules of their home. They were looking after me.
As an employee, I’m told regularly to check my email, to lock my classroom door behind me, to follow document guidelines, to make myself available for office hours…. I don’t always find the rules convenient, but I understand I must follow policy. Administration established them for the good of all involved. If I choose not to abide, I understand I’ll be looking for another job.
As a husband, I’m responsible to my wife in various ways. I’m not free to date, to view pornography, to come home intoxicated, to make large purchases without first discussing them, to shirk necessary chores we’ve agreed on…. I’m not okay with sleeping in the dog house or with getting divorced, so I lovingly and respectfully protect our relationship.
As a road user, as a U.S. citizen, as a volunteer at the V.A. (N.M.D.A.)–you get the idea, I hope.
As a Burger King connoisseur, I have it MY WAY! Buying Nike–I JUST DO IT!
As a Roman Catholic–we’re back to the first three examples!
Before converting to Catholicism almost six years ago, I carefully read “The Catechism of the Catholic Church” and attended R.C.I.A. meetings for months, carefully prepared for my General Confession, faithfully attended every Mass and Holy Day of Obligation, submitted my baptismal and church records, and stated publicly that I accept all that the Catholic Church teaches. I understand that I’m free to leave my Church to practice Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Protestantism, Eastern Orthodoxy, or to be atheist. Instead, I choose to believe and practice my faith. I’m Roman Catholic. I honor my commitment.
Were Fr. Scott Nolan of St. Stephen’s Parish my priest, for example, I would not expect him, on my account, to break with well established Catholic doctrine and practice regarding the Holy Eucharist, which he swore to Christ and to his bishop to uphold. I’m not that “special”. I don’t expect to be the exception to the rule. Who does? The spoiled and rebellious child, the bad employee, the unfaithful spouse, the scofflaw–the apostate.