Sunday, February 13, 2011

Mmm...Niceness


I am a bit over niceness.

Well, I am over exhortations to be nice..as if this is all the Gospel teaches us..be nice to your neighbour, to your family, smile, never rock the boat.

Did Jesus come to save us just so we can be nice?

Yes, I try to be a nice person. But that is not the whole story of salvation is it? I am here to know, love and serve God on earth so I can be happy with Him in heaven.

So, yes serving God can mean being nice. But it also means a lot more than that.

Sometimes it even means to speak out , with love, but to risk not being nice for the sake of Truth.

And let's be honest...niceness can lead to blandness, to complacency, to thinking I'm alright...to being lukewarm (...He vomits out the lukewarm, isn't there that snippet?..).

As C.S. Lewis said, people who are nice may even be hard to save...their niceness leading to self sufficiency and a complacency of soul...I don't need salvation, I don't need church, I don't need religion, I'm not a sinner, I'm nice.

So if I go to church and hear continual exhortations to be nice, and I am already pretty nice, then I am less likely to look towards Our Lord, to worship Him, to research Church teaching, to challenge myself...I am more likely to think, I am doing okay as I am, aren't I? Well, according to the exhortations in Mass to smile at my neighbour and to phone my mum, I am.

I may be using contraception, I may sleep in and miss Mass many Sundays, I may not understand the sacrament of reconciliation, I may support gay marriages, I may think abortion is fine for others in case of great need...but I am nice because I am friendly, I put money in the collection when I do go to to mass, I bake my cousin cookies, I ask after your health, I like Father and his jokes and the cuppa..when I do go to Mass.

Now, I know I will be criticised for judging here. For not being nice. But you know what? If we are going to talk about being nice, wouldn't it be nice to hear Church teaching explained, encouraged, exhorted? So I know what the Church teaches and why. So I know what I profess to believe, as a Catholic, and why. So my faith permeates every aspect of my life. For the salvation of my soul, and the salvation of others.

Wouldn't that be nice?

14 comments:

sarah said...

Well Jesus certainly wasn't "nice". And I personally believe people have started equating love with niceness and that's a big mistake.

Leonie said...

Yes, love, charity, is something else...

Sue Elvis said...

Hi Leonie! Of course, the Church's teachings shouldn't be explained, encouraged and exhorted. That might make some people feel uncomfortable, and making people feel uncomfortable is just plain not nice.

Actually, I am tired of pussy footing around. The Truth is the Truth. Why can't we just come out with it? You might not be 'nice'. I am 'unkind'.

By the way: "I am here to know, love and serve God on earth so I can be happy with him in heaven." That sounds like a direct quote from the catechism. Did you learn the catechism off by heart as a child? Did your children? I'd be interested in your thoughts on learning the catechism. Children can learn their Faith in a natural manner but memorisation? Does it have a place in an unschooling home?

Leonie said...

Yes, Sue, that is a direct quote that I learned from that penny catechism... But not as a child, as an adult convert learning alongside my kids! So is there a place for memorization in an unschooling household? For us the answer has to be yes. Not in a you must learn this kind of way but more lets do this together, as you prepare for the sacraments. At that young age its a Game even, it fits with the Childs developmental stage just as the skipping rhymes I teach the children at work do. Enjoying the Australian Catholic Families blog btw!

Sue Elvis said...

Thank you for your info on catechisms. That helps enormously!

I didn't know you are a convert, Leonie. So am I. (20 years ago now) And so is Fr Jim Tierney who is my kindred spirit and mentor for all things Catholic.

Thank you for the kind words about ACF. Early days yet but I am encouraged because there has been a lot of interest.

I always feel 'unkind' after an outburst like the one above. It can be frustrating when there is no one to talk things over with. Sometimes I feel so different. Know what I mean?

Leonie said...

I definitely understand!!!

I came into the Church Jan 1995; was confirmed March 1997.

C said...

Nice!

Mummymayhem said...

I love this post. I have been meaning to write a similar post for a while, entitled, "Lord preserve us from niceness". I'm not advocating going out and being nasty, by the way, I'm thinking more about "nice" priests-like the one who will only let my children confess one sin, or the one who is so trendy he doesn't believe children need to go to confession at all. Or the "nice" lady catechists who fail to teach basic catholic docrine, because kids "don't need to worry about that" and happily assist them in colouring in and sticking. It's so difficult to argue with against such things because they are "nice" people.

Alexander said...

Yes, niceness can be misguided and ever so hard to argue with...

Pam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pam said...

Blogger Pam said...

I have often thought there is a false gospel of niceness in some churches and yes, it can render people impervious to challenges, I think.

I think nice is a pale imitation of godliness or being loving in the same way that attitude or bravado is a pale imitation of courage. Counterfeits that are being offered everywhere and which are often accepted without question.

Pam

Am I deep yet?

Leonie said...

Pam, I'm still waiting to hear about Little Mommy!!

Fr. Benedict said...

But Leonie: What Would Jesus Do??!!?? LOL Well after hearing last Sunday's Gospel (Matthew 5:17-37) we know exactly what Jesus would do, or rather what he did do: tell it like it is!!!! I preached about the necessity to grasp the Objective Truth as opposed to the little "Me-Truths"! There is much need for catechesis in this area!!!

Leonie said...

But were you nice, Father? Lol! I wish that more priests gave good catechesis in this area! Heck, I wish I had been there to hear the homily!