My best friend heard this one at her Bible Study:
Knowledge is knowing that a Squash is a Fruit.
Wisdom is knowing that a Squash does not belong in a Fruit Salad.
OK, so when she told me, the fruit was a tomato, but I altered it, thinking that tomatoes might be pretty good in a fruit salad, but that’s not my point.
I’ve been really pondering things as of late. It might be our Book Club selections (we just finished reading The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis, and I’ve just finished reading The Great Divorce by the same) or it’s the fact that I am beginning to have more time for deep thoughts… I don’t know. I guess the best way of putting it is that I have experienced a re-conversion.
If you are a reader of this blog, you know that I converted to Catholicism when I was in college and since then, I have gone through the highs and lows that come with being a woman of Faith. I am not just talking about personal highs and lows, but those mountaintops and valleys, oh the valleys of Faith. It’s a funny thing about conversion. When I first entered the Catholic Church, I as on fire for the Lord. I was saying and doing all of the “right” things, but looking back, I really wasn’t feeling them. Almost predictibly, as time went on, that fire began to cool a bit. I can liken it to being in a new relationship, because that is what it is.
You know, when you first start dating or seeing someone, it’s all wine and roses… you are giddy at the thought of their name and there is nothing that you would want to do to disappoint them. You might even make the conscious effort to change for that person. You are so happy and there is nothing that can take that happiness away. But then, the honeymoon period ends. It’s then you start seeing the irritations in your new Beloved. The way he breathes through his mouth, the fact that she refuses to ask for directions, how he never takes you up on your offer to drive… for each of us, there is something. SO, you end up at a crossroads, do you break up with this person or do you persevere?
The same thing happens with Faith. When you are a new convert you want to shout it from the rooftops. You want to prove how many sacraments you know and what differentiates a venial and moral sin and you want everyone to know the names of the twelve apostles and you are a font of knowledge about your faith. And if you are not careful, you may even start looking down on people because they don’t know as much as you do. But sooner or later, something happens and that zeal begins to wear off. A close friend tells you he doesn’t like your change, your spouse tells you that you are not the person she married, a Priest tells you during a conversation that what you are saying is bordering on heresy. Whatever it is, you start to pull back and you find yourself in the desert. You start to question if you have made a mistake because you now feel alone. You did everything right, and now where is Jesus? Why don’t you feel the same thing that you think your neighbor does? And what about that woman who wears a veil at Mass?? What’s she experiencing??
In the nearly ten years that I have been a Catholic, I have experienced highs and lows. I have followed the rules, I have broken the rules. I’ve been excommunicated (I was under a state of mortal sin and had not been to confession. It’s by the Grace of God that I didn’t die in that state…) and in full communion with the church…
As an aside, this might help:
Excommunication of laypeople principally means that they are cut off from receiving the sacraments. It does not mean that the Church is condemning a person to hell. In fact, excommunication is intended to be a medicine to inspire people to repent and be reconciled to the Church. Once reconciled to the Church, that person may again receive the sacraments. If an excommunicated person dies without being formally reconciled to the Church, he can be saved if he truly and sincerely repents all of his mortal sins before death. Certainly we may pray that a person in these circumstances be interiorly reconciled to God and the Church through full repentance before death. (from “This Rock”, Vol 18, Issue 9)
…but a funny thing has happened to me in the last year or so. I have begun to feel comfortable in what I have become. I no longer feel I have to defend who I am or who I have become. I still love learning more and more about Catholicism and I have will defend Catholicism as needed and to the best of my abilities (with the words of the Spirit because I can’t do it alone,) but I no longer go out seeking confrontations. I have surrounded myself with other women of Faith and that, I think, has been the biggest factor as a friend once said: “You can’t be a Christian in isolation.” I don’t feel as if I have to convert anybody or bring anyone into the Church, after all that is NOT my job as a Christian. As St. Francis of Assisi said: “At all times preach the Gospel; when necessary, use words. ” Only Christ can change another’s heart and bring them Home. My job is to act as Witness to Christ’s Love and Mercy. I don’t have all of the answers and the best part is, is that I do not need all of the answers. I have the knowledge and I can always gain more knowledge, but what I am experiencing now is the Wisdom that comes from the Love of the Son.
I know, I know… I still owe you a post on Abortion… I’ll get there. Also, I’ll be reviewing a new children’s christmas book “Little Star” by Anthony DeStefano. Stay Tuned!