It is refreshing to see many people my age who are on fire for the Catholic faith and who are willing to share their knowledge of and love for the faith on this blog. Jerry Krajewski, who recently graduated from Cardinal Stritch University with a Bachelor's degree in Religious Studies, and one of my best friends, defends the reasons why we worship. This is a response to Victoria Osteen's recent comments at a convention which was attended by thousands of people, She stated that "we don't worship God for Him, but only for ourselves."
Thank you Jerry for writing this inspiring blog post, and for your deep love for God and your courage in standing up for the Catholic faith.
(Photo Courtesy of www.loveburds.com)
Why do we worship?
A Catholic response to Victoria Osteen
By: Jerry Krajewski
Sunday mornings can sometimes be a chore. We get up early on a weekend, sometimes trudges through snow storms, and go to a giant, beautiful building all in the name of worshiping God. But why do we do this? Is it simply because the Bible says so, or is there more to it?
Victoria Osteen, wife of televangelist Joel Osteen, gave her input on why we worship God:
I just want to encourage every one of us to realize when we obey God, we're not doing it for God—I mean, that's one way to look at it—we're doing it for ourselves, because God takes pleasure when we're happy. That's the thing that gives Him the greatest joy. So, I want you to know this morning: Just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you're not doing it for God really. You're doing it for yourself, because that's because that's what makes God happy
According to Ms. Osteen, we worship God for our own gain. This could not be farther from the truth. We worship God because we understand that we would be nothing without the Almighty. In this article, I will briefly explain the Catholic perspective on worship and put into perspective the serious issue of Christian hedonism.
As Catholic Christians, we have the ultimate form of worship in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. The word Eucharist is derived for the Greek word eucharista which means thanksgiving. When Catholics worship, we come to God in utter humility of heart and in joyful thanksgiving. We would be nothing without the Almighty, so we come together as a community of faith to thank God for the life that he gives to us. One of the amazing things that happens at Mass is that everyone in the community ends up on their knees; it doesn’t matter if you are old, young, rich, poor, male, female, black, or white. Everyone has equal worth in the eyes of God; for this, and many other reasons, we come each week to worship the God who made us.
Now, that we have a general understanding as to why we worship god, now we need to move to the topic at hand: Christian hedonism. This modern take on Christianity has become more and more prevalent in Evangelical churches. Christian hedonism is a theology in which the person is that God is whatever we find pleasure in. This makes God into all of the things that make us feel good. This makes our pleasure the highest good and what we must put above all else.
So, what is so bad about this? Doesn’t God want us to be happy? It is true that God always wants what is best for us and to be truly happy. However, it becomes self-idolization to put our own happiness above all else. If you watch televangelists, they always seem to have huge congregations. Their churches, the size of some sports arenas, are always full. The money seems to be flowing in and the evangelists, themselves, are always dressed to the nines. Christian Hedonism allows these evangelists to justify their lavish lifestyles. They make millions of dollars and say that they make all of this because God loves them and God will bless you with riches if you give money to their ministry. So, yes, according to this way of thinking, worshiping God is only about making ourselves happy. God is always secondary.
This way of thinking is very appealing to a lot of people. However, Christian hedonism must not be followed. Self-idolization is an evil that seems very appealing but it is not of God. For when we idolize ourselves, we bind ourselves in the chains of sin and isolate ourselves from God. But when we put God as the center of our worship, we become free from the bondage and the isolation of sin. We come to God with reverence and care; we come to worship because God created the heavens and the earth and gives life to us each and every day.