The other day in religion class, we were discussing the holy days of obligation with attending Mass. The discussion quickly moved from the focus of worship to the meaning of the word obligation. Unfortunately a dictionary was not at hand, and I felt slightly handicapped at the moment. Several students were heated in their defense that obligation meant something that one had to do (with extra emphatic emphasis on the word had). One should want to do it, not be made to do it. I and several other students tried to point out that their was much more to the notion of obligation, that is, it is primarily a label for a choice—one should want to do it, but doing the right thing is not about feelings.
At a loss for synonyms, I claimed to the most vocal student that she had family obligations. She emphatically shook her head no. I listed several things that a teenager might be obligated to do in regards to her family, like ask permission to go out at night, say thank you, etc. She still shook her head in denial that these were forms of obligations. She insisted that these are things one should want to do, not had to do.
I moved the lecture on, feeling slightly defeated. Some murmurings continued for a little more while I wrote the next topic on the board. After class, I asked another student his opinion of that discussion and he said that the students around him were much harder on her than I was about their opinion on the meaning of obligation.
Today’s test question is:
The word obligation means
a. a promise
d. a responsibility
e. all of the above
f. none of the above
Does this make me passive aggressive?
Sorry Father for not steering the discussion back to You and to the idea of worship. I messed up. Please fix it and bring them all closer to You through this. Help me to inspire a Sabbath attitude of mind.