Temptation and Religious Commitment
AS THEY WALKED away from Saint Elizabeth’s, Maria told Dave she was happy he came to Mass with her this Sunday, since it was the anniversary of her grandmother’s death. Grandma had died ten years ago and when Maria attended the funeral Mass in Iowa, hundreds of “Grandma memories” returned to her. They brought her both great happiness as well as unnerving sorrow in the following weeks.
Maria was a bit nervous because she realized she had to say something to Dave that might prove difficult. She repeated how happy she was that Dave came to Mass with her. “But,” she said, “I don’t want you going to Mass just because of me. I know you want to please me, and I appreciate that. But when it comes to Mass, it is not just about me. Also, I don’t want to think you go regularly, only to find out that you will easily drop the practice years from now.”
Dave acknowledged to Maria something she already knew. He was an occasional Catholic who attended Mass just a few times a year—at least until recently. Dave admitted to Maria he started going to Mass regularly about two months ago with one of his college friends. “Honestly,” he said, “it was because of you, but not for the reasons you think. It was less to gain favor with you than to overcome some of the difficulties I have when I am with you.”
Maria knew that she could come on strong and that she could easily dismiss opinions she disagreed with. But because she liked Dave so much, she always tried to control these impulses when she was with him. When she went to Mass, she