Tater Tots and Heaven

Tater Tots and Heaven

As much as I can, I try to attend daily noon Mass at our local Cathedral. I usually arrive 30 to 45 minutes early for prayerful silence and I absolutely covet that time.

But today meditation brought the following thoughts based upon distracting observations:

  • Does the guy on the scaffold worry about falling onto the bishop’s chair?
  • How would I look with gray hair if I no longer dyed it?
  • Will there be tots and nuggets in heaven?

The third observation came because every time I go to Mass at the Cathedral while school is in session it smells like tater tots and chicken nuggets. The Catholic boys high school is attached to the cathedral; their cafeteria is in the basement.

The smell of tots and nuggets makes me wonder a few things:

  1. If I were a parent spending tons of money to send my son to the best prep school I would hope for better food.
  2. Are there tots in heaven.

As I don’t have boys, I’m not worried about the prep school but…

Are there tots in heaven? That seems pretty silly, but I love the smell of a good tater tot… actually, is there such a thing as a bad tot?

Tots are comfort food. They fill you up. Their shape somehow makes you smile.

What’s not to love?

I’m reminded of that epic scene in Napoleon Dynamite where he shoves lunchtime cafeteria tots into his pant pocket and then secretly eats them in class.

My grandmother used to do something similar when we were little. She would take us to an all-you-can eat restaurant then stuff fried chicken into her purse (wrapped in paper napkins, of course). But, Grandma was from the depression era where they saved and scrimped because they might run out of food. Who knows; maybe Napoleon’s grandma was the same way.

But, I digress…

One thought led to another and I began to theologize those tots.

What if tots were grace; shouldn’t we all be like Napoleon?

We take grace for granted.

Consider our culture – we consume like there’s no tomorrow. We don’t think about what we’re buying, eating, doing; we live on auto-pilot. How many of us drive to work and can’t recall how we arrived. We eat without thinking about the amount or quality of food. We open our laptops at night and click to purchase this or that racking up debt without considering how to pay for our new toys. Heck, the highest point in my own town is the trash dump. What does that say about my own community’s consumption?

Back to theology…

Do we also take faith for granted?

How many of us consider ourselves, “Christian”, yet act completely different as soon as we exit the church doors. For faithful Catholic Christians, the celebration of the Mass does not end when the priest or deacon speaks the formal words of dismissal. The word, “Mass”, comes from the latin ‘missio’ meaning ‘mission’. We are to go forth on the mission to live and preach the Gospel that we just participated in. The Mass is not a one hour event but a recharge for a life of faith.

I wonder how many Catholic Christians are even aware of this reality. Do they simply go through the motions (if they go at all), and check the weekly ‘religion’ box?

Some may say that grace is available to all and for all, and that God does not require anything from us – for we can do nothing to merit it.

This is all true.

But can you imagine how our world would change if we cherished grace as much a Napoleon cherished his tots, or my grandmother her fried chicken? What if we treated grace in the same way, as a precious gift to keep close to us lest it run out?

If grace is the help we need to grow in holiness, I want, no I need to thrust it into my pocket and purse and pray that it doesn’t run out. Tots may fill the tummy but can’t get us to heaven – although, I hope they’ll be there.

Please pray for me as I pray for you.

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