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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...