So there seems to be a new craze going around with books coming out with the title "Option" in them. First we had the 'Benedict Option' now we have the 'Marian Option'. Who knows what other "options" will be coming out soon to capitalize on this fad. Why does it seem however that we have forgotten the 'Catholic Option'? We should all know as Catholics Mary is not an option. I am sure there is more to the book than presenting her as a mere option, however the title is in my opinion not appealing. Mary the Mother of God is worthy of our love and devotion, and no Catholic should see devotion to her as a mere option. The 'Benedict Option' seems to me to be something non-obtainable for many Catholics. Not everyone can flee to communal living. God put us in various situations depending on who we are and what God has called us to do. What seems to me then to be the logical choice is to live the 'Catholic Option' no matter where we may find ourselves.
What is the 'Catholic Option'? It is the option to attempt to follow and live the Catholic faith as it has been revealed to us by Christ through His one and only Church. This means that we have to use our intellect and our will to pursue God through His Church with everything we have, mind body and soul. This means we actually believe and live by Christ and His teachings and attempt to rid ourselves of sin by sincere prayer, meditation, contemplation, penance and reception of the Sacraments. It means that no matter what the world is doing, no matter what off the cuff ridiculous statements Pope Francis makes on the plane, no matter what our government is doing, that we remain faithful to God no matter where we live or what situation we may find ourselves.
We do not have to run off to the country and live in a community to live our faith. We don't have to use any options other than the 'Catholic Option' in order to save our souls and the souls of those around us. It is by our steadfast faith that we must rely on and our willingness to live it in the face of any and all obstacles. We know that the world is an obstacle and will be until the end of time. Satan is using all of his resources to bring down the Church and anyone attempting to live a life that is faithful to Christ. It is only through the 'Catholic Option' that we may find faith, hope charity, internal peace and eternal salvation. In my mind we don't need novel ideas or slogans to live by, we need to live Christ crucified through His one and only Church, no matter the cost.
What does the 'Catholic Option' look like? It looks pretty much the same no matter who you are and where you live and what situation you find yourself. This is the beauty of it! This is not to imply that there are not different aspects of spirituality, Dominican, Franciscan, etc. but the list below can be applied pretty much across the board to the average layperson.
1. Dedicate yourself to Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church, Christ's one and only Church despite all of the flaws you can see by those who live inside of it.
2. Believe in and live, with all your heart, all of the doctrines, and dogmas Christ teaches through His Church.
3. Live all of the precepts of the Church with charity, not as if they are only written rules.
4. Pray and meditate for as much as time permits everyday in your home, place of work, car, or in recreation.
5. Have a strong devotion to Our Lady, the Mother of God and ask for her constant intercession.
6. Have devotion to the Saints, and ask for their intercession.
7. Read the Scriptures, spend time reading Catholic dogmatic and spiritual works as well as the lives of the Saints. Live Lectio Divina.
8. Receive the Sacraments of Confession, and the Eucharist (in the state of grace) as often as possible.
9. Love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
10. Preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumbling-block, and unto the Gentiles foolishness: But unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
So then the 'Catholic Option' seems to me to be the best option! Let us live it to perfection!
Perfection is this: that the Word, the Son of God, fed at the table of holy desire for the honour of God and for our salvation; and with this desire ran with great zeal to the shameful death of the Cross, avoiding neither toil nor labour, not drawing back for the ingratitude and ignorance of us men who did not recognize His benefits, nor for the persecution of the Jews, nor for mockery or insults or criticism of the people, but underwent them all, like our captain and true knight, who was come to teach us His way and rule and doctrine, opening the door with the keys of His precious Blood, shed with ardent love and hatred against sin. As says this sweet, loving Word, "Behold, I have made you a way, and opened the door with My blood. Be you then not negligent to follow it, and do not sit yourselves down in self-love, ignorantly failing to know the Way, and presumptuously wishing to choose it after your own fashion, and not after Mine who made it. Rise up then, and follow Me: for no one can go to the Father but by Me. I am the Way and the Door." (St Catherine of Siena)