Our Insipid Faith

From an email to a student …

Today I wanted to quote one short Bible verse that really struck home for me yesterday.

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.  (Mat. 5:13)

One of the versions of that verse at the link above translates it thus, “if salt becomes insipid, with what will it be salted?”
INSIPID is a great word.  It means not only “tasteless”, but stupid, inane, unable to cause excitement.
The original Greek word in this passage (Mat. 5:13) is μωραίνω, a word that means both “tasteless” and “stupid” or “foolish”, and is a word related to the English word “moron”.  Elsewhere in the New Testament, this word is translated as “stupid” or “foolish”.
I’m sorry to say that almost everything we do officially as the Catholic Church is “insipid”.
This is not true for EWTN or the American Chesterton Society, for instance, but it is true at 95% of the parishes I visit in my travels, and it is true in the lives of most Devout Catholics I know.  The vast majority of Catholics I know do not know their faith, do not care about their faith, and do not practice their faith.  The small percentage I know who are Devout Catholics tend to be INSIPID.  They are like the architecture and music and homilies in the suburban Church.
I am trying to be careful not to rant here, because it’s easy to get caught in a toxic mood about this sort of thing.  But I am describing something very real and spiritually deadly.
As a group, Catholics have become insipid.  Why would anybody want to be Catholic?  We have no character.  We are inspired by nothing.  We smile a cheesy smile, and our communion with one another is as lame as the “sign of peace” at Mass.
I’m a crabby old man, but what I’m saying is true.  We should be on fire.  We have the strength of the cross behind us.  We have a God who descended into the darkness and muck and mire of our worst sins to save us.  We have a glorious rehabilitation at our fingertips.  We have life and joy and the pungent taste of love, true love, love that fears nothing.
If all your life you’ve been taught (as most Catholics have been taught), “Jesus was nice, you be nice, too,” you’ve been taught a lie.  He loves us with a love that is not “nice”.  He loves us with a love that would do anything for us.  He loves us with a love that shocks and disturbs us.  The cross is never “nice”.
And that’s how we should love, too.
Because we are the salt of the earth.  And if we become tasteless, insipid, foolish, limp, lame, lifeless and dull, we are only fit to be thrown out and trampled under foot.
Kevin O'Brien
Kevin O'Brien is the founder and artistic director of the Theater of the Word Incorporated, which tours the world evangelizing through drama. He and his actors appear on several EWTN television programs, with video clips featured on O'Brien's website, www.stgenesius.net. Kevin teaches many online classes for Homeschool Connections and writes a regular column for the St. Austin Review. His autobiography, A Bad Actor's Guide to the Meaning of Life, will be published soon by ACS Press.

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