Seek and you shall find…

This is my first Triduum without any association with RCIA. For my first, I was a seeker contemplating becoming Catholic, and the RCIA director of the parish I had decided to attend recommended I attend Triduum to get a feel for what Catholicism was all about. It was incredible, beautiful, and I moved forward. For the second one, I was actually in RCIA, and the third one, I was receiving confirmation and communion. For the fourth one, I was sponsor to someone who received confirmation and communion. For the fifth one, I was supposed to be a member of the RCIA team, watching our catechumens and candidates get baptized, confirmed, and communioned tonight, but everything fell apart for me with the RCIA program at my parish, and that, combined with some other insoluble problems, put a pall over my feelings for my parish, despite my love for it and for the priest and my friends there. And all of this disruption made the 30-mile trip each way to get there each week feel a lot less justifiable; so, as of January 1 of this year, I am technically still a member of my parish, but am in fact rather parish-less.

In January, I started to attend a parish (Parish #1) that was only 8 miles away. I had been there several times and I found it nice enough. Also, that parish is where the Secular Franciscans meet and I had gone to a few of their meetings, so I thought all of this boded well for a possible new church home for me. And I like the priest’s approach – very hands-on, action-oriented – we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk. I hadn’t yet committed to becoming a member of the parish, because I just hadn’t gotten the little “go-ahead” signal from inside me, the small, guiding voice I use for all my decisions as much possible. But I think that my experience at this parish on Palm Sunday might just pour cold water on the idea of becoming a member of Parish #1. While this priest is great at practical spirituality in action, he seemed utterly out of his element in the more mystical environs of Palm Sunday and the upcoming Holy Week. The palm leaves were just piled on a table outside the church, and there was no procession. What a grave disappointment. And when it came to his homily, it was basically “Christ died for your sins, so if you feel far from God because of your sins, don’t worry, because God forgives you through Christ.” And while that is true, and that is indeed the Good News, it seems to be a rather banal topic for the occasion, which is the run-up to the most mystical event of all of Western Civilization. And since I did tell myself that Palm Sunday to Easter is where you find out what a parish is really made of, that makes me feel like I might not become a member of this one.

For Holy Thursday and Good Friday, I went to another parish (Parish #2), also 8 miles from our house. I had been to this one several times before, and actually considered it as a possible home parish before I realized how much I loved the parish I am currently trying to leave. The Holy Thursday experience at this parish was a great improvement over Parish #2  – almost to a fault! The church itself is much larger and more spacious and much more beautifully decorated. The priest, far from being uncomfortable with mystical topics, gave his homily with eyes closed half the time, and it was completely about the Eucharist and the importance of it. I think because my home parish tends to attract lots of highly-educated liberal folk, our priest’s homilies tend to walk a line between mysticism, practicality, and intellectual knowingness, a place that I find very comfortable and easy to feel inspired by. So this homily about the Eucharist, which gave no food at all to a hungry intellect, was challenging to me. On the other hand, the Eucharist is something that I am always struggling with, something I still don’t totally “get” and I want to get, and it was something that was obviously extremely personally important to this priest, so I thought, this is probably a good angle for me. My feeling that this parish was very strong in the mystical aspect of the holiday was confirmed in the lovely chant and procession to the adoration in the chapel, which was beautiful and moving, and whereat I had a genuine spiritual experience/transformation/epiphany, overturning some lifelong beliefs and understandings, which I am still processing.

For the Good Friday celebration, it was still daytime, so that wonderful darkness and focus I feel from having these services in the darkness was not there. The Celebration of the Passion of the Lord was pretty good, but the genuine grief and intensity that I have felt in the past were not there. The cross was quite small, maybe 3 feet tall max, and the people holding it would wipe it off with a napkin every time someone kissed it. I get why, but it was weird and I don’t think very effective for the intended purpose anyway. At my first Good Friday, the parish had a gigantic, heavy, wood cross that the congregation would move over their heads, down all the pews of the church, and you would feel the weight and burden of it. Then they laid this giant cross down and you could go up there and kneel down and kiss it and touch it and do whatever you wanted without anyone standing in line behind you. It was extremely moving and devotional, and really I have never experienced anything to compare with that since. So, although I got a little teary during Were You There When They Crucified My Lord, frankly, I want to feel a lot more than that on Good Friday. As for the homily, he chose “Why do we call it Good Friday? Because it is good that Jesus suffered this death and suffering for us”, etc., which again made me miss my current parish, where the priest would never fall for that simplistic mistake (this did make me reflect on how different parishes have to appeal to the demographics of their congregations, which is interesting per se, but it’s not really what I want to be thinking of at a time like this.) I had been planning on going to Tenebrae that night, but I felt more tired than spiritually fed after the Good Friday experience, so I skipped it.

And so we arrive to today, Holy Saturday – Easter Vigil, as soon as the sun goes down. I had planned on going to Easter Vigil tonight at Parish #2, because since 2012, that’s what I have done. And again – my first Easter Vigil was unbeatable. The music, the images, the emotionality and the fire and the darkness, the sheer length of it – I have never experienced anything like it before or since. But I feel emotionally tired tonight, for reasons not having to do with any of this, so I’m considering skipping Easter Vigil and instead going to Easter Mass in the morning. I guess the question is: will I get spiritual food if I go tonight, or will I become even more drained?  (I may go regardless.)

And underlying that question is: will I ever find another parish that will actually feel like my spiritual home again? Stay tuned.

 

 

 

The question of whether Jesus existed

I have many atheist friends on Facebook. Most of them never say much about their lack of belief, but there are a couple who seem to feel a type of moral zealotry about denigrating religion, Christianity in particular. One of them expresses this by posting many links about the wonders of science along with the occasional snotty anti-Christian meme or comment. Another one makes fairly regular, randomly scattered comments about how irrational Christianity is and how bad and stupid it is to believe in it. Today this particular person posted a link to an article about a scholar who examined a number of historical records and came to the definitive conclusion that Jesus never existed. When I countered his argument, he referred me to two fringe scholars/writers who claim to have proved that Jesus never existed. I asked him if he thought that proving Jesus never existed would cause Christians to give up their faith. He said no, because being a Christian is irrational, therefore rational argument will not persuade them. Not wishing to argue, I left it at that.

When I hear these arguments about Jesus never having existed, my first response is that it doesn’t really matter if there really was a Jesus or not – the teachings attributed to Jesus are inherently valuable, no matter what their actual source. My second response is that whatever the facts of the physical existence of an individual named Yeshua in that time and place, there is a consistently striking – almost shocking – consciousness and perspective that comes through in the statements attributed to him, one that fits perfectly with other manifestations of God-consciousness, such as the Tao Teh Ching and wisdom from other Eastern religions, and I do not believe that the consciousness expressed in those words and stories could have been manufactured out of whole cloth by a scheming human mind. And my third response is: of course Jesus existed – I know him!  (irrational, as charged).

However, despite my feeling that the existence of a specific person named Jesus is not utterly necessary for me to be the Christian that I am, it still bothers me, a lot, when I see people trying to prove that Jesus never existed. I was wrestling with why this should be, especially because I do encourage people to seek out the truth, no matter how uncomfortable or difficult, so it shouldn’t be any different in this case. But in this case, I think the thing that bothers me is that the impetus for this project is based on an incomplete (or totally missed) understanding of Christianity. It is not an attempt to seek out truth for truth’s sake, but a targeted mission to destroy something based on a faulty understanding of what it is. It is actually an attempt to codify and legitimize an obscuring of truth.

It is not hard to understand why there is not an abundance of historical evidence for the historical Jesus – in secular terms, he was a nobody. He was one of many Messianic street preachers and teachers, the illegitimate son of a carpenter. His followers – fishermen, street people, the poor, the sick, collaborators with the Roman occupiers and others on the margins of society – were also nobodies, people of little to no, or even negative social status. Historians of that time had reason to record the names and actions of Caesar Augustus, Quirinius, Pontius Pilate, Herod, and all the other political leaders of that time. But there was no reason for them to record the actions of a cryptic Jew rousing the rabble in some backwater Roman province. The ones who wrote it down and preserved it and passed it on were the ones who knew him and loved him, and those who knew and loved those who knew and loved him. Basically, a bunch of nobodies, whose names we don’t even know for sure and whose lives we know nearly nothing about.

Given this, the fact that angry atheists feel they can prove that Jesus never existed actually fits in perfectly with everything about Jesus and what he did.  God incarnated into humble circumstances, and everything he did in life aimed at “putting down the mighty from their seat and exalting the humble” (the fact that the mighty actually officialized his teachings into a state religion and the powerful henceforth adopted it without actually understanding it does not change the truth at the heart of what Jesus taught with his life and words). So, the fact that the physical Jesus is a historical nobody as well only fits in with his own teaching and narrative – it wasn’t power, but love that carried his teachings forward – at least at first. So, no, you won’t find him in the history books as an important person whose deeds were to be recorded for posterity. But his spiritual imprint was such that it outlived all the governments and civilizations that co-opted it and used it for their own purposes, and that is the clear truth that those who wish to destroy Christianity refuse to acknowledge.

And finally, as Christians, it’s up to us to undo the wrongs done fraudulently in his name by the mighty and powerful, by adhering to his true  teachings and eschewing the desire for power over others, to become nobodies (in Zen Buddhism, a “true man of no rank”) and carry out our words and actions in truth, love, and trust.

 

 

On the body

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 365 The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the “form” of the body: i.e., it is because of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.

I remember once talking to a friend about a time when I felt suicidal. I was taking a university course on Modern European History,1900-1945. I was being bombarded every single day with the horrors of European history – two world wars, Nazism, Fascism, Communism, new and innovative ways of killing, the horrible deception of bringing innocents onto the battlefield to fight for imaginary valor and values, the senselessness of it all – and it had started to get to me. I remember laying on my bed, staring at the wall, wondering what the point of it all was. If human beings were capable of this sheer amount and concentration of horror, violence, and atrocity – why be here at all? Why even be a part of it?

This wasn’t the first time I had felt suicidal – I have a memory from when I was a teenager, of holding a large number of pills in my hand, considering whether I should take them. In my mid-20s, I forced myself to get online and talk to someone in order to keep from harming myself. These moments were the result of the nihilism and self-hatred instilled in me due to my upbringing, and not related to anything outside of myself, like man’s inhumanity to man. For reasons I can’t explain, I ended up not actually taking action at those times. I just knew it wasn’t something I shouldn’t actually do, no matter how much I felt like it at the moment.

But with this particular incident, which happened in my mid-thirties, I was better able to delineate what I was feeling and why. It wasn’t that I really wanted to die – I just wanted to be oblivious to these awful feelings, these awful realities. And something else, something new, had occurred to me then as well. The awareness quietly flooded into my mind that my body was its own being, that it had a right to live, and that that right had nothing to do with me or what I wanted. I felt very strongly that it would actually be wrong for me to kill it, just because I personally was having trouble coping with life. I was aware of my body as being a unique living organism, whose life was to be respected and cared for apart from myself, and that it was healthy and vibrant and in the midst of untrammeled life, and I essentially had no right to kill it. And that realization cleanly ended all my thoughts of suicide forthwith.

So, during a time when I had dropped out of RCIA because I couldn’t intellectually square Catholicism with what I already knew, and I wasn’t yet willing to allow aspects of myself other than intellect to take their rightful place there, I was recounting this episode to a friend. And when I told this friend about what I had realized about my body, that it had a life of its own which I had no right to take, and so suicide wasn’t an option, he remarked that this was a very Catholic way of thinking. That was one of the moments that made me question my decision to drop out of RCIA, that maybe there was something to being Catholic that wasn’t exclusively to be found in intellectual comprehension and consistency.

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One of the things I have loved about Catholicism is the valuing of the physical body – from the crucifix to the Eucharist, from the statues and relics to the rites and prescriptions for fasting, the physical body is not something to be minimized and forgotten about, but to be enthusiastically included in a spiritual and holy life. As someone who deeply appreciates beauty and sense pleasures, and who also seeks meaning and unity in everyday acts, the fact that the Church uses physically-manifested aspects such as beauty, pleasure, attraction, and desire as tools to bring us closer to God and closer to each other is something that deeply resonates with me. I experience it as extremely life-affirming and holistic. When I am at a non-Catholic church, seeing the empty crosses everywhere, lacking Jesus’ body – it makes me feel sad and empty. The fact that he gave up his BODY is what makes all this possible – why should we discreetly tuck his body away from our sight?

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I have had a complicated relationship with my own body. I was raised by a mother who had severe self-hatred of herself and her body, and, as usually happens that got injected into me, the oldest child. This sense of self-hatred and low self-esteem led me into situations as a teenager and a young woman that further degraded my body and my sense of myself, and this of course led to further twistedness in mind and heart, which I’ve had to wrestle with and heal. Cultural messages, too, that our bodies are insufficient unless they conform to some imaginary standard, and that it is okay and even desirable to objectify people and their bodies for our own pleasure – these also have impacted my ability to have a healthy relationship and appreciation of my body. And for all this, I find solace in the Church. As I stood up in front of the congregation last weekend with my candidate at the Rite of Sending, with my body essentially on display, I was aware that I was in a place where my body was seen as having inherent dignity, not as a tool for the pleasure of others, nor the judgement of others, but as a pure creation of God, with its own inherent value and worth that has nothing to do with its conformity to an ideal or what it can do for anyone else. Sadly, I also thought of the children who were sexually abused by priests, that their bodies should have been given this dignity and safety too, but instead they were harmed in one of the worst possible ways, in a place where they should have been the most safe. I hope those people, and everyone else who has ever been physically or sexually abused, can partake of the kind of healing I experience when the members of the Church are truly acting according to its teachings. I can’t think of anywhere else where such an experience is possible, and for that I am incredibly grateful.

Dealing with authority

Two memories are lingering in my mind tonight:

1) A friend and I discussing authority, the various levels of respect for authority. I told him that I generally don’t take authority seriously, probably because my parents were lousy authorities, and so I learned that authorities were not to be inherently respected, just tolerated until I could get away from them and do my own thing, according to my own inner compass.

2) Talking with my RCIA director about why I wanted to become Catholic, and his telling me that above all, Catholicism tests your relationship with authority.

It’s ironic that someone who doesn’t think much of authority went and became a Catholic. I think for a long time I just kind of set my disagreements and doubts aside, but lately I’ve been struggling lately with the authority of the Church.

I’m sure this was set in motion because we did IVF to get pregnant last year, and while we were in the middle of it, the Pope said publicly that IVF was a sin against God. It still hurts me in my heart and my gut to think of those words, how cruel they are. I will say outright that I disagree with most of the Church’s teachings around sex and reproduction. I believe I understand what their reasoning is, but I believe that reasoning is faulty. However, since I am not gay or single or divorced, it didn’t affect me directly, so I could just keep my disagreement distant and abstract. Now, the Pope, whom I love so much, is telling me that my efforts to have a child are a sin against God. Now that’s personal. That hurts.

The reason why I never had kids before was because I was born into a family environment that left me emotionally and mentally traumatized, with few life skills, and utterly devoid of the basic skills of human relating. If I am a capable and competent person, if I now find myself in a healthy, loving relationship, with a good job and a happy life, that is 100% due to my efforts and that of my husband and other kind people along the way. Other than giving me my great genetic health and my basic gift of high intelligence and sensitivity, their actions have done more to impede from achieving those things than assist me. Because of this, it took me until I was already nearly 40 until I felt like I had worked through the trauma of my childhood and young adulthood to be feel like I was capable of taking care of someone other than myself. And by then, guess what? It was too late. My eggs are now too old.

I struggled with whether we should have children or not – for a long time I didn’t want to, precisely because I felt like I could barely be functional in life, let alone being responsible for another one. Then I was afraid I would be a neglectful mother, like my mother was. But becoming Catholic helped me with that – the fact that I both loved and resisted the image of Mary led me deeper into my own psyche, into the idea of the mother, the idea of me as mother. After years of seeing my body as something that existed for the use of others, then something to be hated, then something to be avoided and ignored, I finally was able to perceive my body as something warm and loving, something that could grow and nurture and give birth to and feed a child.

I prayed and prayed, and asked God if it was His will that we should try to have a baby. Was it right? Should we? Then one day I was in church, with my husband beside me, and I said to God: “Is it your will that we keep doing this, that we keep trying to have this baby? Because if it’s not your will, you’re doing a lousy job of letting me know. Put your answer in my heart, so I can know.” And guess what? The answer came, and it said, “Isn’t my message already in your heart? In your heart you want the baby. That’s your answer.”

So, God puts me with a crappy family who stunts my growth as a person for decades, then puts the desire in my heart for a child after I’m already too old to have a child without assistance – then his spokesperson tells me that to get assistance in having a child is a sin against God? Please ‘splain, Lucy, because this makes no sense at all, unless God enjoys putting his devoted servants into rooms full of funhouse mirrors and toying with them.

It can’t be that God really is against IVF, and that’s why we lost the baby, since I personally know Catholics who have successfully had babies through IVF. Does God find those innocent babies to be a sin against Him?

So I think the question here is – what do you do when God’s will and the Church’s teachings are in conflict? Am I supposed to bow my head and my heart in obedience to the Church and ignore God? I think the answer is, you’re supposed to follow your conscience, your well-discerned conscience. Okay, but it makes me sad, because why should God be against life? Is God such a jealous God that He can’t stand us to use our God-given rational knowledge and science to further life, to help life come along? We aren’t replacing God – we can put the sperm and the egg together, but we can’t control whether they fertilize or what happens to the embryo after that. Why and when these things happen is still a mystery – it’s still absolutely up to God, no matter what. We have no control over that. And why would God put someone in a specific situation, plant a burning desire in someone, and then tell them they are wrong to pursue it? It seems wrong, all wrong to me. I don’t believe our God is a petty, jealous, fearful God. I don’t think God makes mistakes. And I think the Church needs to trust that human variation is a part of God’s plan, and we – the infertile, the gay, the transgender – we are not mistakes. We are the way God made us, and we deserve to live full lives, not partial ones. And the Church needs to rethink its view that God made us all wonderful, unique individuals in every other way, but like little cookie cutter robots when it comes to sexuality and reproduction. I’ll have more to say about this later.

Loss and prayer

As my prayer become more attentive and inward
I had less and less to say.
I finally became completely silent.
I started to listen
– which is even further removed from speaking.
I first thought that praying entailed speaking.
I then learnt that praying is hearing,
not merely being silent.
This is how it is.
To pray does not mean to listen to oneself speaking,
Prayer involves becoming silent,
And being silent,
And waiting until God is heard.

–Søren Kierkegaard, quoted by Joachim Berendt in “The Third Ear,” translated by Tim Nevill (Shaftsbury, England: Element Books, 1988).

This largely describes the new stage I’m at these days with my prayer. It’s not because I’ve become more spiritually advanced or selfless – far from it. It’s because I know now that God doesn’t answer prayers. Well, at least not all of them.

My husband and I spent basically all of 2014 undergoing fertility treatment. After months of medications and procedures, in November we got pregnant, and we were full of joy and wonder like neither of us had ever felt before. But 3 short weeks later, they told us that the baby’s heartbeat was weak – too weak. And the embryo itself had shrunk in size. The doctor had never seen a case like this turn out to lead to a healthy birth. Still, we held out hope. I scoured the internet for stories of people who were in our situation and had a baby anyway. It wasn’t likely, but there was maybe some tiny chance that baby could make it. Nevertheless, 1 week later, a sonogram showed no more heartbeat. A few miserable days after that, we lost the pregnancy.

I (and many others) prayed a lot over this pregnancy. I prayed for it to happen, and I prayed for it to be healthy, and I prayed for it to result in the birth of a healthy, normal child. I prayed the Novena of St. Gerard, I prayed the Novena of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and I prayed directly to God and Jesus. But it seems that God can answer my prayers when I ask for some things, but other things – hugely important, sensitive, life-changing things – He chooses not to grant. In short, this miscarriage really dealt a blow to my faith. It’s easy to feel positive and faithful when nothing really bad happens to you. But then when it does, and it was something you had been praying and praying about, like I did – that is really a very bitter feeling.

I know that I could tell myself things like “Well, when God closes a door he opens a window!” or “God only has three answers to your prayers: ‘yes,’ ‘not yet,’ and ‘I have something better in mind’.” But, in the face of real loss, those things feel like unreliable or falsely comforting platitudes. Maybe they could help if you didn’t get the job you wanted, or the house you wanted  – but when you lose a pregnancy that you have struggled so hard for….those things aren’t so soothing at all. I would like to take more comfort in them, but I don’t want to just tell myself soothing stories, if I’m not really feeling the truth of them.

The result of this was that I stopped going to Mass for several weeks. Basically, I still loved and wanted to be with God, but frankly, I was mad at Him and didn’t want to see His face. I certainly didn’t feel like going over His house. I stopped my daily prayer, too. I felt bitter, ironic, about it. All of that prayer, just to have the most wondrous thing we ever did snatched away, right out from under us. And I had believed, too – I believed “Seek and you shall find, ask and it shall be answered.” And I asked, and I sought, and what I got was screwed.

After some time had passed, I started praying again, irregularly. That felt better. I decided to just tell God I was mad at Him, and that seemed to work really well. No Miss Goody Goody in my prayer life – just my real self. And then I started going to Mass again, and that felt better too. The pain and bitterness and anger started to subside, and I felt mostly normal again. Not the same as I was before – something had been lost, and I don’t think it will be coming back. But something new may be arising.

I have started to rethink prayer, particularly the whole “ask God for stuff” part. This experienced has showed me that if I ask God for little stuff, or stuff I don’t feel incredibly intense and/or conflicted about (good wishes for other people, things going smoothly in my everyday life, etc.), those things will happen. But if I ask for big, important stuff – stuff that is of monumental importance to me – it basically doesn’t matter what I want. Ironic, huh? So, partially out of bitterness, partially out of feeling stupid and caught out, and partly out of trying to learn from experience, I have stopped including “asking God for stuff” as a part of my prayer time. Now, I recite/sing the Liturgy of the Hours, and then – I am silent. I am open. I am listening. I still say some formulaic prayers after that, like the Hail Mary and the Prayer of St. Francis, but no more “God, could you please give us a baby or help me lose weight or help me find a new career.” I’m done with that.

Although this shift has definitely arisen out of bitter experience, I do feel that it is somehow a maturation of my prayer life. To supplicate to a Deity and ask It for favors seems….I don’t know, primitive? Like asking the Rain God to bring rain, and the Sun God to watch over our crops, etc. To recite and reflect upon ancient texts, and then to just be open and alive and vibrating and listening to The Creator, confident in being a beloved creature and feeling that it is simply enough to be in alignment with The Creator, without asking for anything in particular for one’s self except the chance to be closer to God – that seems like a more mature faith to me. I’m not necessarily saying I feel any more mature or better than I was before – mostly I just feel burned, and I don’t want to get burned again. But I guess my faith has returned to me in a new way, in a new way of relating to God.

One interesting side effect of all this is that I feel a new resonance and understanding of the Psalms, which are such a large part of the Liturgy of the Hours. Previously, I had recited them, though I felt I could not relate to all the Old Testament propitiation and self-flagellation, and I have a hard time seeing the message of unconditional love that Jesus brought forth in all these texts about sin and sacrifice and holocaust. I continue to do it though, because I have trust that somehow this is beneficial to me, because I trust that this spiritual system knows what it’s doing. But lately, the Psalms are starting to make sense to me, because they are all written in the voice of people who have lost what was basically the center of their lives, the thing that gave them meaning as a people – they lost their Temple, twice! – and it left a vacuum, a void in their spiritual and communal lives that could not be filled. Suddenly, I can relate to that kind of loss. Now I sing those psalms with real feeling, by far more than I have ever felt before.

I’m not really a believer in the idea that horrible things have to happen so that good things can come out of them. To tell the truth, if that’s God’s plan – then I think God is kind of a dick. Still, I will accept any depth or richness I can gain from the loss I experienced. I would happily give up relating to the Psalms, or having a more mature, if chastened, faith and prayer life, in exchange for having my child be healthy, alive, and in my arms. But if that’s all I can get right now, I’ll take it.

Sticky points about being Catholic

Now that I’ve been Catholic for two and a half months, I have some sticky thoughts and questions about the everyday reality of being Catholic.

One thing I started to wonder about yesterday is, why don’t they make the host taste good? Why does it taste like an uncomfortably chewy-sticky tasteless cracker? The wine tastes good – why not the host?

Also, I feel like everyone drinking out of the same cup is unsanitary. I suppose the wine maybe kills some germs, but what about backwash? There were two Sundays where I just didn’t even drink the wine because I couldn’t stop thinking about that.

I’m also struggling with the reality of transubstantiation. Although I have done a lot of fancy mental and emotional footwork to try to believe it and feel it, the fact is, I can’t quite get there yet. I’m not quite sure how to get there, either. I really wish we still had an RCIA group to talk to about things like this.

I definitely feel a lack in my spiritual nourishment right now. I have been praying the rosary, and doing my own prayers, but I miss interacting with others in a shared sense of seeking and openness. I want to be a part of something like that again. I think when RCIA starts back up again I will just start attending the discussions, and hopefully I will be assigned as a sponsor.