July 1, 2022
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Fishing Should Be A "Sacrament"

Fishing Should Be A "Sacrament"

Now the kind of fishing that I like is drifting on a lake with the motor off listening to the sounds of the animals and birds in the woods.  People pay hundreds of dollars to go to retreat houses to get this type of solitude and quiet.  So before you knock it, give it a try.

A friend of mine has a summer home on a lake in Northern Michigan.  He likes to get away periodically from the chaos of living in today’s world and I enjoy the privacy and fishing.  It is such a contrast to the way we live day today that for the first few hours I have trouble adjusting to the silence.  There are no TV’s on, no radios, no stereos, no fax, no telephone, no iPods, no scanners, and on and on.  I think that our ancestors had something that we have lost and that is the ability to get away from the “modern world.”  I cannot bring copies of the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times with me.  I am prohibited from listening to ESPN and getting the latest Dow Jones Industrial Average every five seconds along with the Nasdaq and the Moody’s latest reports.  There is a certain amount of enjoyment that comes with getting away from the telemarketers and the mail.  It is almost religious.

In case you haven’t noticed, it is impossible to pray at church on Sunday any longer.  The priest calls it “getting involved.”  From the minute that you arrive to the minute that you leave church on Sunday, you are truly involved.  You sit, you stand, you kneel, you sing and you participate in the public prayers; but yet, there seems no time allotted for silent reflection. In fact, our altars are beginning to look like the local Kroger’s as the congregation is encouraged to bring can goods to church and stack them on the steps of the altar.  Before Mass ends, you are notified of the blood pressure screening, the fish frys, and the weed pulling after Mass, and please don’t forget to bring your papers and magazines to the recycling bins in the parking lot.

As a result, I have invented the “sacrament” of fishing.  This is my retreat and I think if I had to die doing something that I liked, it would be this type of fishing.  This is not charter fishing where you have 10 poles in the water all the time with down riggers and depth finders.  No this is a type of fishing where it is just you and the fish and one hell of a lot of quiet.  I shouldn’t say this but it is almost better than Sunday Mass minus of course the liturgical sacrifice.  I have been known to “catch a few winks” while engaging in my fishing “sacrament.”  It is not that I am so tired as there is a certain amount of quiet that I am not used to.  I think this sacrament is good for the soul as it allows my mind to stop and to be free of the constant interruptions that we are used to.  My grandkids think I am crazy but I think there will come a time in their lives where they will want a few minutes of peace especially when they need hearing aids and glasses at twenty and who knows what type of medical treatment for the radiation from their phones and electronic devices.

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Written by
Donald Wittmer

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