Catholicism: The Real Deal
My road to Jesus and the Catholic Church has been a long and interesting one. I journeyed through many other philosophies, faiths and versions of Christianity, before realizing I had, in fact, found my way many years before. I just needed to accept that fact.
My gut instincts always knew. Whenever trouble of any kind reared their ugly head, my heart and mind always went to Jesus, no matter what other faith I was involved in. I would even forget everything about the philosophy or religion I had just been active in, as if they had never existed. Such was the nature of His connection to my soul.
But ever the ‘doubting Thomas’, I continued to trudge along varied and different paths seeking the answers to life, only to always feel stymied and lost, over and over.
Finally I sat down and made a heartfelt list of the things I needed in a religion and community of faith. Then I did something I hadn’t done in awhile, I asked God which one I should choose. And then I shut up and listened.
And this is what He said, “Catholicism.”
Well that made a lot of sense. I loved the music, the ritual, the statues and art,
the Mass, the pomp and circumstance, the devotion to prayer, the communion of Saints, the new pope Francis,
Mother Mary–someone the other churches left out–
the fact that most Catholic churches were open for hours and hours everyday so you could go there and feel God’s presence and pray, and the idea that the Priests were focused on the congregation and not side-tracked by a wife and kids, which might get in the way when I really needed help.
It didn’t faze me that only men could be priests. I had had so many ‘female’ health issues over the years that it seemed logical to me to have men as priests because these things rarely plagued them. Sure there might be other health issues, but they didn’t have to worry about something nailing them once a month and throwing them for a loop. Priests needed to be soldiers of God and like soldiers of Men, it was best if they had no built in possible weaknesses.
Besides, if a woman wished to enter the celibate lifestyle, there were a whole slew of convents and orders that were available for that possibility.
And so I felt supremely happy and relieved at the choice.
I told my husband and he said, “Okay.”
That’s one of the things I like about him, he just goes along with me on ‘matters spiritual’. He says I talk to God more than he does, so he’s learned to listen to me when it come to that topic.
We went to the church around the corner—yes, literally around the corner was the main church for the largest parish in our city—and joined.
Of course it would be nice if everything had just been a simple, “Hi, you’re in. Here’s your barcode and secret handshake. But we had both been married before and so we could join but were not able to receive the Eucharist—take holy communion—until we had sorted that out. And…we needed to take classes to find out if joining the church was what we really wanted.
At first, I was a little put out by the idea that divorce was a super no-no in the Catholic Church, but then we started the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults classes—something begun in the very early church to teach what Christianity was all about—and when we got to the sacrament of marriage and the fact that a Catholic priest will not marry you until you have taken classes and even then, he can pull the plug if he thinks you aren’t ready, made me realize that in my own case, no priest would ever have married me to my first husband. No way! And no priest would have let my own present husband marry his first wife.
Because we had gotten married for all the wrong reasons. And even though we had given lip service to the idea of ‘forever and ever till death do us part’. I think we both knew in our hearts that wasn’t going to happen.
So if I had been a Catholic, we would both still be married today~but to each other. Because I would have married the Best Man at the wedding–both literally and figuratively—and that would have been my present husband.
We have learned a lot over the last year as we have been going to weekly classes, attending Mass on Sunday mornings and getting to know the community we live in and are now part of. It’s been a lot of fun and very comforting actually.
I hope to share some of what we are learning with those of you who are interested in finding out more about the Christianity that goes all the way back to the source. The one which links Jesus, God’s only Son who came to save our very souls, to the present.
It is one of the oldest Christian churches and one of the most well-thought-out. So far, there haven’t been any answers to my questions which made me feel more was needed. And that’s pretty hard to accomplish, if you know me.
So I will be going over the things we are learning in class and sharing those with you. Please feel free to ask questions. If I don’t know the answers, I bet I know some fellas who do. ;o)
Till next time, Happy Easter!