Kitchen Catechism: Featured Articles
by Lois Donahue
I'm sure you won't be surprised to learn that I have not been supplied with a handy and appropriate "topic of the month" list from which I can simply make a selection about every thirty days.
Quite the contrary. More often than not, as time ticks away, my mind comes up with nothing but 'thought confetti', or, worse yet, comes up with nothing at all as to what might be of interest to you.
At that point panic sets in.
Such was the case this month and then, for some unknown reason, I remembered that during my growing up years there was a crusty old man in our neighborhood who had little patience with what he considered to be downright unacceptable behavior by some teenagers on our block and was often heard voicing this opinion – “They need their butts kicked”. From that memory came, for better or worse, this idea ---
PERHAPS AT TIMES WE NEED OUR BUTS KICKED
Please note I made two changes in what my memory-man had to say. First, I dropped one ‘t’ from his ‘butts’ because I wanted to switch from reference to specifics of anatomy and talk about excuses for behavior. Secondly, I used ‘we’ instead of ‘they’. I guess my reasoning for doing so was not only because I am in no position to point fingers at anyone else but also because my basic insecurity wanted me to feel I’m not the only one who needs ‘but kicking’.
That being said, let me clarify. I do not suggest someone else do the kicking. We need to kick out certain, all too common, ‘buts’ which have become so acceptable in our right-or-wrong decision making. Here are some of the must-kick buts I’m talking about –
“O.K. so perhaps I shouldn’t have told everybody she lied but it was true.”
“I admit I took it instead of paying for it but it was only worth a quarter.”
“I’m personally opposed to abortion but I can’t impose my ideas on others.”
“Maybe I should go to Mass but it’s so boring.”
“They want us to have our baby baptized but we’re going to wait and let her decide when and if she wants to.”
“--But we don’t need a marriage license to live together.”
“---But I could have done something much worse.”
“---But everybody cheats.”
etc. etc. etc.
Sounds rather simple doesn’t it – like all we have to do is ‘kick but-s’. However, one complication is that in addition to but-s that need to be kicked out, there are those we must hold on to.
Here’s a few examples of the latter –
“I sure wanted to keep it but she really needed it.”
“No doubt it won’t always be easy but I’ll stand up for and defend my Catholic beliefs.”
“I know I shouldn’t have had sex with him but I’m not going to kill this baby.”
“There are people who don’t pray but I like talking to God.”
“That nursing home is really depressing but visitors mean so much to those people.”
“---But I know there is a God.”
“---But it’s wrong and I wont do it.”
Here is another complication in this whole but-kicking thing. We know God gave us both the free-will to make decisions and the responsibility to continually form and to continually educate our conscience (by learning what He is teaching us through His Church, by taking advantage of the help He offers through the grace of the sacraments and by keeping close to Him in prayer).
That way we will at least know which decisions we should make. Beyond that, if we do make the right decision, our loving God offers us the means to acquire the strength and courage which will enable us to deal with whatever is demanded of us because of that decision. Equally true is the fact that if, which I must confess happens too often in my case, we unfortunately make the wrong decision but are sincerely sorry, He will be there to forgive.
Now, since I promised that this year I would try my best not to go on and on and on, I will simply summarize by saying this -- Although there might well be times when we need to ‘kick buts’, we also need to know which ‘but-s’ to kick and which ‘but-s’ to keep.