I Don't Say "Glory to God" With Everything I Do, Am I A Bad Christian?

I’m 19 years old, born and raised in the ever liberal east Bay Area of California, and I am an outwardly religious person. I was raised Catholic by two Catholic parents, but was fortunate enough to grow into adulthood having made religion my own and as a tool to get closer to God and my spirituality. My years and years of taking religious classes has taught me so much and helped me form my own thoughts, opinions and relationship with a more individual interpretation of God. Despite this appreciation for religion as a tool of my personal pursuits, I started to feel a little odd. Others seemed to be so comfortable blurting God’s name and giving God props for everything they do and citing the Bible or Jesus all the time. Was I doing this wrong? Was my way or prayer or practice somehow off because I didn’t “Dear God” every time I knelt? A book that a high school mentor gave to me, helped me figure it out.

In the summer of 2017 I left to walk the religious pilgrimage the Camino de Santiago in Spain with my dad. Before I left, this mentor that had bonded with me over faith, religious practices and philosophy, hand picked a book for me to enjoy on my journey. This book is called New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton. Of the many things I learned from this book, I’m going to summarize one realization. 

By not outwardly saying “glory to God,” I was not NOT bringing glory to God. Everything I do, if done thoughtfully, sincerely and with my whole person, brings glory to God. Being the most authentic me brings glory to God, because God is perfect, and made us imperfect. But God also made us in God’s image, so to be perfectly imperfect really isn’t as cliche as it sounds. God is a master chef and designs each cookie cutter in a random and seemingly strange design. But when God presses into the dough it is done so to make this imperfect round shape. It should not be our goal to defy this shape because then we are violating our perfectly imperfect design. In order to prosper in this design we should try to be exactly how God intended us to be, which therefore brings glory. To be your perfectly imperfect self, brings glory to God.

When I go volunteer in the garden at school, I don’t go and say “ah man yeah I’m out here to bring glory to God”, no, it doesn’t have to be so… I don’t want to say something traditional or corny, but something about saying that rings an old single way of being Catholic/Christian. When I go to the garden I tend to God’s creation, practice a prayerful meditation by picking weeds and harvesting, and I bond with other people. These inherently positive actions are holy because of my authentic inventions. Even cooking dinner, cleaning one’s room or washing the car can be done in a prayerful way! To do these things sincerely and with one’s whole person, simply must be what God asks of us. And even in my lack of taking a step back to “Dear God”, I am very much doing a spiritual and religious thing. Don’t get me wrong, it never hurts to take a moment to address God directly. The issue was I started to feel bad for not doing that as much as I thought should, so even in the mundane practices, when done well for the right things, is a prayerful practice.

I know what I am saying may be a little contradictory to what Catholics and Christians are traditionally taught. That you can do something spiritually, religiously and prayerfully without being in Church and saying “God God God, 1 Peter 3:17, Hallelujah.” But you don’t have to be a saint to be holy, you don’t have to be in Church to be prayerful, and you don’t have to be God to be perfect.

Again I am not saying it is ever bad to directly address the mysterious creative essence that is also called God. Only that a holy life is not so much in our obvious and outward actions as it is in our spiritual state when we do the mundane.

 

Check out my other articles!

God Kicks Sandcastles

Ego is not the Enemy: My Journey to Self-Love

A Woman's Fear.