What is a good life? Having a decent job and relationship? Having reasonable good health, pleasant friends and maybe the occasional vacation?
It’s easy to settle for a “good” life, not a great life. Chances are you have come to realize that a “good” life is simply not enough. As Christians, we’re called to something even better. The Gospel of John tells us what God wants for each and every one of us: not just a “so-so,” mediocre, or even a good life, but a great life, complete with long-lasting joy. This is what will not only satisfy our deepest personal longings, but will in turn allow us to make a difference and leave a legacy.
That’s why taking your faith beyond Sunday is so important, because deep down, isn’t that what we all want? Even if our faith life is pretty good, why settle for that when we could have a faith life that is great? And this abundance is available to us, if we have the courage to tap into it. When we are truly happy, when the deepest longings of our heart are being addressed, when those big questions that keep cropping up about why we’re here and where we’re going are answered, our direction is clear. We experience true purpose and meaning. True joy and happiness are contagious in a good way. They bubble over into all areas of our lives and send positive ripple effects into our own circles and beyond.
And that’s why I wrote a book called “Beyond Sunday: Becoming a 24/7 Catholic.” It’s about obtaining true greatness, not in terms of business or worldly success, but from God’s perspective. This is everything. And as I have learned from many years of studying at the school of hard knocks, it’s the only thing.
I was raised Catholic and still believed in God, but my faith journey left me a bit empty. I really didn’t understand (or, quite frankly, didn’t feel a need to understand) more about him than going to weekly Mass, if that. As the title of the book suggests, I never took my faith “beyond Sunday.” Through lots of ups, downs, twists, turns, and personal challenges this lost sheep finally made her way back.
Eventually, I came to realize I was needing more direction in my life and wanted to go deeper into my faith. Something told me I was missing out, despite my worldly success, and I was looking for more. I wondered how one goes about practically applying faith to everyday activities and decisions while still living a balanced life. What does that really look like? Does it mean walking around in sackcloth and ashes or never meeting friends for happy hour again because you’re spending all of your spare time at the local parish? If any of these scenarios were true, I would be in big trouble. I really enjoy clothes, as well as a good glass of wine and the occasional happy hour. Thankfully, I learned that living my faith with more intention does not necessarily mean giving these things up. In fact, I can honestly say I am having more fun in my life now than I ever did in my days as a nominal Catholic, and I don’t want to keep this all to myself. It’s too amazing. God and his Church have so much to offer.
Think about your relationship with God. He wants us to be his intimate friends, but for many of us God is more like a casual acquaintance. God is our creator and knows us better than anyone else. The concept of bringing God and our faith into our everyday life has rarely been truly explained or, more importantly, made evident by the actions of the people around us. We see God off on the sidelines somewhere and not as a major player in the game called life. And most of us don’t really know what to do to fix that.
Getting to know Jesus and our faith on a personal level actually makes a lot of difference when it comes to true happiness. Yes, God loves us right where we’re at. But as I heard a preacher say once, he also loves us enough not to keep us there. Why settle for a so-so relationship with God, when you can have a great relationship with him that is filled with abundant joy? That’s right, abundant joy, as Jesus reminds us: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10).
Don’t all of us deserve a chance at an abundant life? That’s what God wants for all of us. It is what he has prepared for each of us by giving us the gift of the Church. He has so much more in store for us. He wants to fulfill the longing rather than leave us scratching our heads, feeling like we’re missing out on something truly wonderful. This is no small task. It takes time, patience, and effort. But it’s so worth it.
As a matter of fact, there is nothing in your life that could ever top an active, living, breathing relationship with the one who created us and knows us better than we know ourselves.
My book is for Catholic Christians who want to discover the fullness of the Faith and truly make it a part of their daily lives. More than that, it’s for Catholics who want to ensure their lives have deep meaning and who want to help make the world a better place in some way. It’s for Catholics who want to help pass on a living faith to those coming up behind us. And last but not least, it’s for Catholics who are already happily hanging out in the faith pool but realize that there is more to life than floating or coasting along.
“Beyond Sunday” is my personal invitation to you to see Jesus and the Catholic Church like never before. It is my hope that, in reading the book, you will encounter God in a whole new way, not just in the pew on Sunday, but every day of the week. I am so excited about the effort of going beyond Sunday, and all that it has to offer you, that I want to shout from the housetops: “Come on in! The water is not just fine — it’s fantastic!”
This is an adapted excerpt from Teresa Tomeo’s book “Beyond Sunday: Becoming a 24/7 Catholic” published by Our Sunday Visitor.