I’ve always had an interest in architectural oddities, so when news of the Metrodome roof collapse hit the airwaves in 2010, I became obsessed with finding out all about this unusual building. One of the articles that I stumbled across, part of an old ESPN review of every stadium in baseball, mentioned a sign that used to hang there that said “METRODOME – Minneapolis ‘We like it here.'” The article goes on to express the true meaning:
Yeah, you people from New York, California and Florida might think our weather is cold and miserable and that our stadium sucks, but we don’t care — WE like it and that’s all that matters. And is it loud enough in here for you, then?
In thinking about why I stay Catholic, I think some of the same logic applies. Those who have left the church or who are proud of their own faith tradition will see the “cold and miserable weather” that we’ve gone through as Catholics (the sexual abuse scandal, bishops and Cardinals getting in the news for being unwilling to welcome LGBTQ Catholics, etc.) and ask us, “why stay Catholic?” And the best answer I can give them is that “we like it here.” If that’s the case, I thought, I’d better seek to understand why I like it here. This lead me to decide that what I should “give up” for Lent this year was negativity. In other words, I sought to focus on the positive this Lent. And it turned out that my pastor was right there with me — part of his prescription for Lent was to spend ten minutes a day counting our blessings.
I consider myself to be a fairly positive person, but I found that the goal of “giving up” negativity demanded effort. It is easy to get sucked in with others when they talk about shortcomings of religious leaders or the undeniable mess that is politics in the United States. I kept coming back to the question of “What good can I say?” What good can I say of Pope Francis when my progressive Catholic friends point out that he doesn’t seem to be acknowledging LGBT Catholics as much as we had hoped? What good can I say of President Obama when I am confronted with a list of things that he has failed to accomplish?
Fr. Tim’s wish that I count my blessings didn’t prove as easy as I would have thought, either. My thought process often went something like family, good weather … gotta finish that report at work, gotta talk to my boyfriend about Easter plans … people that love me …. I couldn’t even list 10 things without being distracted by everything I “needed” to get done.
But if I can count one big blessing, it’s that I feel that this Lent really has been different. I have made progress in my Lenten goals, if imperfect. And I have gotten to take advantage of three Sacraments: Eucharist, of course, but also Healing and Confession. I didn’t get the opportunity to go to much of our parish mission in person, but I’m taking advantage of the YouTube recordings to slowly experience it on my own.
As you head into Holy week, I invite you to consider the blessing that this week and this season is for you.
About the author: Francis Beaumier is on the leadership team for the Dignity Young Adult Caucus and an active member of the Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Family as well as Angels of Hope Metropolitan Community Church. He currently works for Brown County Library as an IT Specialist and is pursuing a Master’s in Liberal Studies at St. Norbert College.