As we all know, the Super Bowl was played just a little bit more than a month ago. Now I realize that Boston, because of all the snow they have gotten recently, has forgotten already (I don’t know how) that they won the Superbowl. A couple of interesting things happened that day. No I am not talking about Brady giving his truck to Malcolm Butler (although that was neat). I am talking about that Super Bowl the commercials went for 4 million dollars for a 30 second commercial. Now it was just a couple of years ago that it hit the headlines that a 30 sec. Super Bowl commercial price was 2 million dollars. So the commercials have doubled in price over the past years. Now the companies who pay for these commercials know that it is worth the price.So maybe the Catholic Church needs to have a couple of commercials in 2016 Superbowl? Is that the way to renew the Catholic Church’s vigor and strength that it had before?
Although commercials are good motivators to get us to buy something, we know that they are fake. Although they are fake, the goal of a commercial is to have the audience forget that it is staged. Rather, the goal of a commercial is to get us thinking about buying the product that it is trying to sell. That is the job of the commercial designers to make the commercial more appealing. If a commercial is good enough, it can boost sales and help the company achieve its goals.
Now as most of us know, the Catholic Church is losing its members. The members that the Catholic Church still has are growing older. Many people offer this or that suggestion about how to draw more people, especially younger people, into the Catholic Church. The suggestions are endless. The more traditional Catholics claim that if the Mass was more reverent, in Latin, sung in Gregorian Chant, ect… that it would be more appealing. On the other hand, there are those who say that if the music is more upbeat, the congregation is actively participating (by that they mean doing something at mass), the mass is no longer than one hour 10 mins, ect… it would draw in the modern crowd. Now these points may or may not work, this blog is not going to go into that, but there is one point that is missing. This missing point is the key, I believe.
Today’s world has many people who say one thing but live another way, just look around. The problem is that this world is thirsting for authentic lives. The examples that show this are numerable, just look at history and how all the saints had people flocking to them. Some of the modern examples, though, include Saint John Paul the Second and Saint Mother Theresa. Both Mother Theresa and John Paul the Great were constantly sought out by everyone. Now guaranteed that John Paul was the Pope a the time, but there was a special attraction that drew people in. What was it though that was so attractive about Mother Theresa and JohnPaul? The simple answer is that they were trying to "become-the-best-version of themselves" as Matthew Kelly coins it. In both of their different stations of life, one as a missionary serving the "poorest of the poor" in India and other places, while another the leader of the Catholic Church for more than 26 years; they tried to live the mission that God gave them, while also trying to become-the-best-version of themselves. It was this life that they lived, not a life that was for a "show" but a life that was in accord with their words and beliefs, that was the magnet for their popularity.
Returning back to the original question asked; if the Catholic Church invested in some Super Bowl commercials, will that help bring people back to the Church (since it does work for companies)? Maybe maybe not. Nevertheless, there is a much better way for the Church to publicise itself. This better way is mostly our responsibility, as the laity. We need to live authentic lives. Yes the priests have this responsibility too, but we ourselves have our own opportunity to evangelize. Nevertheless though, we can not be that light to "Set the World Afire" (not literally though) without, first, we ourselves, individually, trying to become-the-best-version of ourselves.
So what are some ways to start to become-the-best-version of ourselves, especially during this time of Lent? First and foremost, always, it is through prayer. Matthew Kelly suggests that people spend five minutes in quiet prayer. By the way, this is one-hundred times easier to do if your in a quiet place. Just let God do the talking. Fr. Larry Richards says that the reason why we can't hear God is because we need to "shut-up". He explains that sometimes when we pray, we just have a one-sided conversation, with us doing all the talking, without letting God have a chance to say anything. So spend your five minutes and let God do all the talking.Try to block the distractions, have quality one-on-one personal time with God. If you want a starting idea, to help keep your mind focused, open the Bible to a random verse. Read the first verse that catches your eye. Then say, "Ok God your servant is listening" and let Him do the rest for once. You may not get anything, but you will enjoy that 5 minutes of being away from the noise. Another idea includes reading some spiritual book. Lent is not only about giving up stuff, you can spend your Lent doing something extra, like reading a spiritual book. It is amazing how much a good spiritual book can help you, give it a try.
In conclusion, commercials are used to get people to buy the product that the ad is trying to sell. The goal of a commercial is to make it “real”. This is based off of the fact that an authentic life is one that attracts people. Some of the modern examples of an authentic life include Sts. Mother Theresa and John Paul II. Both of these people were an attraction to the modern world due to the fact that their life was not a fake one. It is our job as Catholics, and Christians, to be the light of Christ to this world today, through our lives. Therefore, let us pray to Mother Theresa and John Paul the Second, so that we may fulfill the role that we are called to live. Thanks for reading this blog (comment any thoughts you have about it), and God bless!
By Nick John
'Fire of the Spirit' Teen blog is run by Henry B. To find more information about this blog, go here