Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Faith: Found and Kept (part 1)

Image: dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Two Sundays ago, I attended Mass at a church that I used to call home.  My husband and I had split up for the day because one of our boys was sick, so he took one healthy kid to Mass in the morning at one church, and I took the other healthy kid to another church in the evening.

During and after church, my son and I were approached by several members of the community saying how good it was to see us and asking if and when our family would be returning.

One woman, a lay leader, said, "... if you can find it in your heart to forgive us."  And I was taken aback.  I had never considered that I had anything to forgive really.  Just sadness for having grown apart.

But let me back up.

If you know me, I hope you recognize that I am a giving person and a forgiving person.  I also expect you've probably noticed that I'm a pretty conservative Catholic.  I am generally fiscally-conservatively minded, but I also embrace Catholic social teaching which calls us to stand in solidarity with the less fortunate among us and to be a voice to the voiceless.  But I guess I didn't always identify myself as that conservative Catholic.  I mean, don't we all go through events that lead us to do some soul searching?  Or that essentially knock us upside the head with a "holy two-by-four"?  Sometimes these events are subtle, slow shifts that nudge us from one school of thought to another.  Sometimes they are more jarring and more defined.

A decade ago I was a happy member of a small Catholic community that served the local college students.  I was one at the time.  I loved the warm and inviting community, the inclusiveness, the quiet setting of the church.  And I loved the priest who acted as our Campus Minister.  I noticed at the time that he did some things differently:  He used stoneware chalices and actual bread, not wafers for communion. And he invited us to speak the Doxology with him.  I loved these things and how they made Christ more tangible to me.  I needed these things at that point in my spiritual development. And it was good for me that I didn't realize these things were at odds with Church teaching.

To be continued...

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