In a world where Christianity is not in vogue and Catholicism is the most unfashionable in the realm of Christian faiths, it can be challenging to be a practicing Catholic. Throw in an undersized city such as Halifax, Nova Scotia where self-proclamations of atheism, new ageism and agnosticism prevail, and the few Christians who do exist in your surroundings believe that Catholics are glorified pagans, it can be quite disheartening.
Today, I am discouraged and I am not feeling the “joy of the Lord”. I am feeling despondent, isolated and dare I say even resentful. Sometimes it feels like I am serving a God who doesn’t care, doesn’t hear me, and isn’t present. Much like David in the Psalms, it would appear that the wicked are rewarded and blessed, yes even blessed, where the righteous go without.
I came into the Catholic Church in 2010 at the Easter Vigil; it was one of the happiest days of my life. I had been searching for God for a very long time; I had even studied Judaism with an Orthodox Rabbi for two years. How I came to cross the Tiber River was through divine providence and serendipitous circumstances; too long to explain. Almost immediately, all the fear I had held so tightly onto regarding the Catholic Church melted away as I learnt in an intellectual way, truths explaining the whys to the myriad of questions I had around why one should strive for “holiness” and why there are certain guidelines God asks us to follow. I certainly do not have all the answers, but I do have many and believe I have found the truth.
My transformation was from that of an apostate, or someone leading a secular lifestyle who was gifted with an illumination of consciousness. They say “knowledge is power”, but to counter that old cliché I would like to add the truth of “ignorance is bliss”. Once you come into the know of the whys and what will honor God, it makes “sinning” more difficult and a lot less gratifying as you know better, and what you once desired is trumped by guilt and an inability to return to your old ways. You know what is expected of you and you want to do the will of God. We are all called to be Holy; we are all called to be Saints. With knowledge, no matter how much you try to sweep it under the carpet or lock God in a closet and tell Him “Later I will deal with you” – it comes back to bite you. So, I have given up on fighting God’s will, it just isn’t worth it. For some reason, my secular friends can live “normal”, happy lives, and do as they please, and have no negative repercussions whatsoever, but for ME – Well, for one moment of serving myself, I am slammed down for the count.
I surrender; it would seem I am held more accountable for my actions because I do know better. I am given a lot of slack for the choices I make in my life by some of my secular friends. I am teased and asked why did I choose a religion which is from the “dark ages”, I am told I am crazy and that I am wasting my life, and I am serving an invisible god who probably doesn’t exist. If I may be so blunt – living as a practicing Catholic sucks and today I do not feel peace in my heart.
I elect to serve my God’s will over my will, yet it does feel some days like today it is punishment. I do not feel blessed. Then there is dating…. Where I live, there is less than half a dozen Catholics on any given dating site. I tried “Christian Café” and I was practically accused of drinking blood and literally was told I was an idol worshipper and did bidding for the devil. I have not tried “Christian Mingle” because I fear the same results. On “Catholic Match” only men who were on their way to wearing diapers were approaching me. I have tried secular dating, and a guy will go along with me for a few months, but then will bail because of my faith and I am by no means a bible banging freak. I am still human, and I go against my human nature to serve my God. I guess I must believe in Him or I would be joining the rest of the party, but I cannot. I am no longer the person I once was, and it is lonely. I used to serve myself, I used to be a worldly shallow woman, I bought into the notion that God was love and as long as you weren’t harming anyone, what is the big deal? I love my friends who do not follow my faith, and I don’t judge them, as I am not God, we are all on our own journey and a few years ago I was living as they do, but many of them are not shallow like I was. I am glad my friends are blessed as they are good people and deserve nothing but greatness. The way I used to live won’t work for me now, because I belong to God now and I serve Him in everything I do.
People say how can you believe in such nonsense, how can you believe in God, let alone any super power, and the truth is, there has to be something more than what is presented here on earth, outside of the twisted minds which run this world, the violence, the increasing number of narcissistic personalities, the broken families, the pollution & disrespect bestowed upon the earth, the breakdown of identity, the war, the poverty, the greed and the list goes on. I have to believe there is something more out there, and I find that “more” in the Catholic Church (usually).
My struggle is I have been transformed into someone who has no place in this world. So, I wait for a promise many do not believe exists and I wonder from time to time if what I am doing is all for not. I don’t feel empowered or self-righteous by my differences, I feel alone. Today is a hard day, but I still believe and will continue to serve my God.