Today, I had the blessing of meeting with an old friend who is currently questioning the Catholic faith. She is questioning it in a way much like I questioned it 3 years ago. It was such a graced filled time spent with her, and I was reminded of the exact point last year when I paused my prayer, just sat there, and forced myself to answer a few HUGE questions.
*From my journal… (Yes boys, you get a piece of a girl’s journal… but my main man is divine soooo..)*
“Why am I here? In a HOLY HOUR? (Can one truly be holy due to an hour!? Kidding. Kinda.) Why are you praying, Emily? Why are you Catholic? I’ve been praying about this a lot, Lord. And I think I’ve found my answer. I think I’m Catholic because it hurts. Because the saints and the sacraments and Mary/Jesus/Joseph and the other Catholics around me are draining all of the selfish thoughts, emotions, and wounds out of me. And they aren’t “nice” about it either! (Goodness!) They are pulling out all the bad in my heart and the Holy Spirit is filling it with the love of God. And it HURTS. It’s not easy. It’s not pretty. And it’s not at all perfect. But it’s worth it. That’s why I’m Catholic. Because I’m a sinner who isn’t about to take the easy route.
Christ on the cross used to scare me. How could something so ugly be so beautiful? But, deep down in all of our hearts, we are longing for that kind of love. Why was “The Titanic” such a hit? Because he died for her. He loved her so much he was willing to give everything for her to live. People flocked to that movie for that very reason. You don’t see that kind of love today. Or do you? Jesus on the cross… that’s beauty, that’s love, that’s the personal act of love that many believe only exists in the movie theaters.
Catholicism isn’t about following what the gospel says. It’s about living it. It’s about struggling and messing up, like Peter and the apostles. It’s about trusting like Joseph, even when all seems impossible. It’s about Mary witnessing her son die on the cross and accepting this sacrifice with tears in her eyes, and a painful joy in her heart. Nothing about the gospel is easy or shinny or empty.
AND NO ONE FOLLOWS THE RULES.
I’m not Catholic because I want to follow the rules. In being Catholic, I’m breaking the rules. Society wants me to want what I want. And do what I want. And hurt who I want and “kinda love” who I want!
I’m breaking the rules. And I’m living for something more than what I want. And it’s a beautiful struggle.
I am Catholic because it hurts but, in time, that hurt transforms to pure joy.
My meeting tonight has truly been a blessing. I was reminded that it’s okay to be scared of the Catholic church. I was. But the next step is to ask questions, to find the truth, and then to run towards it, no matter the hurt.
Because it’s worth it. And you never know, you could end up a FOCUS missionary headed to New York University…. 🙂