Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cafeteria Catholic

I have to admit I am a Wishy Washy Catholic or better yet, A Cafeteria Catholic. I slid my heart and my logical thinking brian along the steel rails and peer over the sneeze guard. What looks good today? How do I feel about myself and God these days?
Interestingly, I think more about Jesus, the saints and Mary more than this "God." The whole Trinity thing is complex. Ok Jesus has Monday and Tuesday. Holy Spirit you can have Wednesday and Thursday and God; Friday, Saturday, and well, because you are God, you have dibs on Sunday.

I grew up in a very strict Catholic family. Rosary after dinner ( I don't really remember how long this lasted.) I just remember feeling odd and embarassed by it and wondering if any of my friends sat around the table with their families doing this? Mass every Sunday and of course the obligatory Holy Days. During Lent we had the cardboard bowl on our table. Operation Rice Bowl. Loose change from fasting during the 40 days of Lent was to be dumped into the bowl and then given to the church. Fasting, Almsgiving, Confession. All those big scary things a kid tries to wrap their wee intelelect around.

I remember giving up chocolate or trying to be nicer to my brothers or more helpful around the house. On Good Friday we would spend quiet time reflecting on the Passion of Jesus. For as long as I can remember that Friday was always dark and gloomy, inside the house and outside. I'm lounging on my bed, picturing the curtain in the sanctuary being torn in half, his Mother at his feet, those around Him realizing what they had done. Heavy stuff.

In college I stopped going to Mass. I thought for myself and was quite content being a "former" Catholic. It's not that I stopped believing, it's more like I wanted my independance, a tempting of fate, having no lightning bolts crashing upon me. I was lazy, sleeping in, wrapped in the arms of the man I was falling in love with.

That was then this is now. I took a path of self discovery and was re directed back to that path in some unexplainable supernatural ways. For now I can say there were voices involved and a gold rosary and a missing Miraculous Metal that found its way onto my bathroom rug after dissapearing several years earlier.

For the past 15 years I go to Sunday Mass. I participate in the Sacraments. Hell, I even venture to confession every so often (more so, than often.) My husband does not understand confession. He wonders what on earth I could possibly have done to warrant telling a priest. I won't say he's anti Catholic, he just is uncomfortable with organized religions in general. He's a great guy because he understands how important my beliefs are to me. He likes the person I am. Both of our kids are baptized Catholic. Though Sean says he doesn't want them believing in heaven and hell. These are battles yet to be fought.

I'm not a bible thumper, nor do I jugde others for their beliefs. I think there's room for discussion and I've always been open to other ideas and challenges. I'm not perfect and no one confuses this testament!!!!! I get pissed off pulling out of the church parking lot after Mass if someone cuts me off in traffic! While sitting in church I wonder what I'll make for dinner that night.

I know what's comfortable for me...... Maybe I should dive a little deeper into this and find a level not so comfortable, stretch myself a bit more. I want my kids to learn compassion, empathy, and charity. I want my kids to understand why Dad doesn't go to church. I think it's OK that his views are different from mine. We've had an amazing 20 plus years together, 11 of those in marital bliss (after he agreed to step into a Catholic Church to make it official!!!)

I'll leave you with a quote that pretty much sums it up for me "God; The more you chase him, the more you catch him."

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