When I awoke this morning the sun was peaking out from behind the clouds and I had high hopes for the day, weather wise at least. Alas wishes count for less than nothing. It’s cold and it’s rainy.
I met my parish church’s new priest this morning – I haven’t been in attendance at mass for a few weeks due to transportation issues and a particularly aggravating cold. We’ve cycled through three priests since we joined this church when I was five, each one stands out in my memory for specific reasons, kindness, conviction and connection are what I remember of them.
Conviction is often the word I have the most difficulty applying to my faith life. I study Humanities for goodness sakes – we dissect the Bible (Christianity) during class, we analyze the teachings of the Talmud (Judaism) and explore the Upanishads (Hinduism) so really it shouldn’t be a surprise that doubt often plagues my mind. However, my colleagues and classmates are both openminded and supportive with regards to religion. It was especially reassuring to interact with fellow Christians (I am a practising Catholic, but we are under the umbrella of Christianity so, I identify with both) who struggle with the same questions I do.
We love our program and personally, I consider it almost like a test of will. Just like a New Year’s Resolution is tempting to break but worth it in the long run, that’s how I approach my religious leanings in the context of the College. If I can nurture my faith and maintain it throughout the remainder of my degree I will have proved my inner conviction to myself. God doesn’t need proof, but it would be nice to do it for my serenity and my own personal peace.
Faith can provide shelter from the storm of life that tends to blow our way every now and then. I’m not saying that you should convert or even attend church. I believe in quite a few ideas that I’m sure don’t line up with my religious doctrine. I approach these issues as I would flaws in person or a product, just because someone or something is flawed doesn’t mean they are not worthy of love or devotion. I outrightly disagree with certain doctrines that are preached and I use my voice when it’s needed. Even so, I return, week after week, because there is certain level of reassurance that attending Church provides, and I find tranquility in our traditions.
I adhere to the practice of loving my neighbour and turning the other cheek. But I’ve also questioned, heck, I’ve raged at God, yet I am still here, still Catholic, because despite everything, I believe.
I am by no means a perfect Catholic, but personally, I feel that without the faith based, the social, the emotional and familial struggles I’ve been through I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Who knows who I would have become? Only one person, well, entity – three entities to be exact know where I would be had I truly lost myself to the liminal world of doubt. I’m just glad that they’ve stuck by me, that they’ve helped save me from the way I tend to be and patiently always guided me back to myself when I lose my way.
My background music for writing today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cf5O2M5GaEA