08 January 2006

A hidden Epiphany

I've been trying to post about the amazing things which have been going on in my spiritual life of late, but for many reasons it all just gets too involved and way more personal than appropriate at this stage.

The basics: I fulfilled my first resolution for the liturgical year, and on December 30 went into the church where I was baptized when I was received into the Catholic church at the age of 15. God be praised, it hasn't been wreckovated!!! It was late in the afternoon on the Friday before the New Year. The church smelled wonderful from all the evergeen hangings. There's a new baptismal fountain in the back (yes, you read that right; it runs constantly), and of course it has nice wide edges at waist height, so its beautiful green marble is all plastered up with signs telling people to not put things on the edges. Clues? Anybody?? It's nice, though.

I knelt in front of the tabernacle and thought about all the times I knelt here thirty-some-odd years ago, when I was a new Catholic, the church was going completely daft, my parents had divorced, my mom's alcoholism was in evidence, and my dear one had left me.

Over the weekend, I learned that Sts. Joseph and Martin de Porres had chosen me. Participating in that custom, and having two such high-yield saints take me on, gave me a delighted and awed feeling.

Then, on Tuesday, my friend disclosed to me "by the way" that he was baptized into the Catholic faith in the 1980s. He was such a cynic when we were kids. I was just blown away. He was pleasantly surprised that the discussion in the formation class was so intellectually challenging. He made the decision to go ahead and be baptized.

To my soul, this is the answer to my anguished prayer, "Why, God? Losing my friend... having to go on without him... was arguably the worst thing that ever happened to me. I don't mean to be superstitious about it, but if that's what it took to bring him to the font, then it was worthwhile.

I have known such peace since he told me that.

However, when it comes to feeling at peace in the Church... well, I've had my share of hurt at the hands of those who've worked tirelessly to eradicate any hint of devotion or piety from the Catholic experience. And this is where I end up typing and deleting ... let's leave it that my experience of The Changes in the church was remarkably similar to what I went through as my mom descended into the dregs of alcoholism: Last week, to do such-and-such was a grave sin; this week, it's commanded. And if you DARE to protest, you're a disloyal, ungrateful daughter! Case in point: communion in the hand. The practice is the result of Pope Paul VI's reluctance to confront flagrant disobedience. I was following it at the time and remember it well.

I'm with the Curmudgeon and Elena of My Domestic Church: The Council of Vatican II is one thing; the Spirit of Vatican Two is something else entirely.

In the end, I had to detach from both "parents." My mother had to quit drinking due to health reasons, so she and I could reconcile before she died. It would seem that the Church is recovering, too, led by its wise and loving Papa Benedetto. I'll keep on praying, asking for light and strength to find my way back to the practice of the faith. I suspect some of you have been praying for me. [mock scowl] Seriously: thanks. Being able to be part of this community of writers and thinkers - and pray-ers! - has been so helpful to me.

And it's only January 8... what can the rest of the year hold?

1 comment:

HeyJules said...

I'll admit to dropping a prayer or two or three your way. I always wonder what it would be like to go into my old church - reading about you doing it made it seem a little less intimidating. Maybe I'll go stick my nose in an old haunt or two myself.