November is the month where we focus on giving Thanks. Not only am I thankful for all of you, my readers for giving me inspiration to write, but I am also thankful for the gift of Faith, Hope, and Charity that comes from Our Wonderful Savior.
Over the next few Sundays, I would like to share with you Regina’s Journey… not her real name, but in her words (via email.) She’s given me permission to share her story with you and I give you permission to share with others. You never know where someone will be met on their journey, but remember… no matter who you meet, where you meet them, treat them with love and respect but do not deny the truth.
So, when we last left Regina, she was struggling with parts of Catholicism, specifically the Church’s view on homosexuality and treatment of women. This was a struggle for her personally because she and her husband want to have their daughter baptized in the faith, but didn’t know if it was right to have her baptized if they didn’t fully believe in the faith.
I asked her how she felt about the Eucharist (the source and summit of our faith) and to find out why the Church essentially does what she does with respect to the sticky-wicket social issues. (And I know that that is a total mom/teacher answer… “I could tell you why, but it’s better for you to find it on you own!”) And what did Regina discover?
I love the Eucharist and feel blessed, graced and warmed when I receive it – it is an important part of my connection to God. If it weren’t for the feelings that I get when I receive the Eucharist, I am sure I would be researching other branches of Christianity rather than trying to conserve my connection to Catholicism.I’m down with God being the Father (rather than some ambiguously gendered being, although I doubt God conceives of himself as limited by “Him” – He has many feminine aspects to Him, but anyway). I much prefer mankind and humankind over men. It just sticks in my craw. But I agree about not getting caught up in the little things.Part of me -old agnostic intellectual (Regina) – finds it difficult to turn myself over so completely to God, and I think that might be why I keep fighting with the little things. But since I’ve met my husband and given birth to my daughter my sense of worship and wonder at the world has changed significantly – for what can love and birth be but an act of God?
I had my pre-baptism meeting with my pastor today and we talked a little bit about some of the things we talked about. He had some interesting things to say on certain issues. The one that I felt particularly convinced of was his explanation of the church’s attitude towards homosexuality: he argued that as we currently do not know whether or not gays or lesbians are the way they are because of nature or nurture, it is difficult for the church to not view the act of gay sex as anything other than disordered – in the same way that premarital sex and contraception are both “disordered” to God’s plan. He said that if the Church ever decides that gays and lesbians are “born this way” (to steal from Lady Gaga), then they must have been made in God’s image and it would be only right for the church to accept them fully. Considering it took a few hundred years for the Church to accept Galileo, I’m not holding my breath, but his argument did give me peace. I think he genuinely appreciated my questions and interest, and I got the impression that he would rather see someone asking questions and thinking through things rather than blindly going along.I’m going to do a bible study through http://www.salvationhistory.com/studies/courses/online as a way to deepen my own faith and understanding of Catholicism, and I’ve been looking at some of the different resources you’ve suggested. My husband is investigating RCIA, but I think our plan for now is that we make a serious commitment to attend church as a couple this year, and see where that leads him. He has difficulty with some of the more mystical aspects of Catholicism – namely the saints. He got off on a bad foot when he was looking at the study guide our church provided for the new mass translation and found that it featured saints days with the face of the Virgin appearing to people. We are both getting hung up on the details, I think.