Monday, January 23, 2006

Why there's no turning back - Part II

Another quick thing I meant to mention in my previous post:

I am so surprised at how strongly I am drawn to the Church. I feel like going to Mass almost every day; I anxiously wait for the day that I have more time to volunteer and get involved, mainly because I just want to hang out at my new church and be around Catholics more; my Amazon wish list is overrun with books about Catholicism; the only blogs I read anymore are by Catholics (any suggestions for good Catholic blogs, BTW?); my husband and I are planning our next vacation at the local Catholic retreat and we're more excited about that than when we went to Europe; every time a problem comes up I feel like running down to my priest's office and talking to him about it (I suppose I should actually introduce myself one of these days...); etc.

I could go on and on, but you get the point. The cynic in me says that I'm just attracted to it because the concept of God gives me emotional comfort. But that's not it. I've stepped back and analyzed it as objectively as I possibly can, and it's something more than that. Yes, of course it's a great comfort if God exists -- but I openly admit that I'm pretty uncertain about whether or not that's true. But one thing I'm not uncertain about is how happy it makes me any time the thought of the Church comes up throughout my day (e.g. calling to check on some material they're supposed to send me, reading Catholic sites, even updating this blog). It's like Prozac in terms of its effect on my mood.

And that's another reason that there's no turning back. (How's this for irony?:) Regardless of what I end up believing about God, I don't want to lose this new, astoundingly fulfilling part of my life. I may be the most involved agnostic in the history of the Catholic church. :)

3 Comments:

At January 24, 2006 8:15 AM, Anonymous SteveG said...

I am so surprised at how strongly I am drawn to the Church. I feel like going to Mass almost every day; I anxiously wait for the day that I have more time to volunteer and get involved, mainly because I just want to hang out at my new church and be around Catholics more; my Amazon wish list is overrun with books about Catholicism; the only blogs I read anymore are by Catholics (any suggestions for good Catholic blogs, BTW?); my husband and I are planning our next vacation at the local Catholic retreat and we're more excited about that than when we went to Europe; every time a problem comes up I feel like running down to my priest's office and talking to him about it (I suppose I should actually introduce myself one of these days...); etc.

It’s really wonderful isn’t it. When one first truly encounters Christ’s church and starts to learn what she teaches and the richness of her thought, one begins invariably to fall in love with her. One convert I heard on EWTN described it something like this…

It’s the feeling of being a child playing in a small sandbox [the experience of life with nearly any other worldview], and enjoying the sandbox and thinking this is OK, and that this was all there is to life. Then my father (God) lifted me up out of the sandbox and placed me on a beach (the Catholic faith and wordlview). I could only stare in wonder at the vastness of all that lay about to be explored, and felt struck by how grand it was, and how small my old sandbox now seemed. I could barely contain myself as I desired to run along the beach, to jump in the warm waters, to climb the dunes, to dig, to build castles, and all the other endless possibilities that I now saw.

…and I’ve seen it described by Chesterton along the lines that from the outside, the Church looks like just another building (belief), and a bit shabby and frayed at that. But once one enters the small door in the front, what lies before you is a mansion of such vastness, with so many rooms to be explored that it leaves one in awe, in wonder, and falling in love with the depth of what she (the church) has to offer.

But one thing I'm not uncertain about is how happy it makes me any time the thought of the Church comes up throughout my day (e.g. calling to check on some material they're supposed to send me, reading Catholic sites, even updating this blog). It's like Prozac in terms of its effect on my mood.

Is this possibly the hope I’ve been speaking about beginning to creep in? :-) Hope because you no longer feel totally lost? Hope because you see a ‘clear’ path forward? Hope because you begin to believe God DID in fact give us some way (through the church) to know him and to follow him? Hope that you aren’t on your own here and have the vastness of 2000 years of history to guide you?

Hope is one of the major antidotes to what ails us humans and beats Prozac hands down! :-)

And that's another reason that there's no turning back. (How's this for irony?:) Regardless of what I end up believing about God, I don't want to lose this new, astoundingly fulfilling part of my life.

Welcome home! I firmly believe it’s so fulfilling because it is the very family of God. You have literally discovered your Father (God), your mother (the church), your brother (Jesus) and all the rest of your siblings (me and the other billion or so Catholics). For me anyway, it’s so fulfilling because it ‘fits’ the human experience so well. It is what we are longing for. To be accepted into family and interpersonal communion with God and all his creation in which we fully learn to give and receive love. This is what we are made for. This is what you’ve found, and this is what you’ve ‘come home’ to. This is why I say welcome home.

 
At January 24, 2006 8:51 AM, Anonymous SteveG said...

BTW, two other things....

1) You mentioned your husband here briefly, and once or twice in other posts. I often wonder how he's doing with all of this? I hope this isn't overly pushy to suggest, but I'd love to see an update about him some time.

2) Regarding Good Catholic blogs, I'll pass you the ones I frequent (some you've likely already seen, or I've referenced elsewhere, so I apologize for any duplicates).....

Mark Shea

Jimmy Akin

Heart, Mind & Strength - By Catholic family and marriage counselor Greg Popcak. This is a great place to see good Catholic discussions about issues regarding family life. He's also got two fantastic books that I highly recommend Parenting with Grace:Catholic Parent's® Guide to Raising (almost) Perfect Kids and For Better Forever: A Catholic Guide to Lifelong Marriage

Dawn Patrol Not quite Catholic yet, but on her way into the Church this year. This is actually where I found the Raving Atheist (who occasionally guest posts), which is where you found me. :-D

Zippy Catholic - Doesn't post alot, but when he does, it's very good stuff

The Curt Jester (a humorous take on it all from a former hardcore atheist)

Amy Welborn

Shrine of the Holy Whapping

....There are an endless number of others, but these should get you started.

 
At January 31, 2006 9:27 PM, Blogger Amy Caroline said...

I went through a very similar experience not too long ago. I had converted to the church when in high school and fell away a few years later. Not long after starting to homeschool my kids my faith has become undeniably strong. It feels so good just to go to church and sit in the pew. Watching the priest bless the host and when we say, "Lord I am not worthy to receive you, only say the word and I shall be healed" means more to me than it ever has and I truly know my soul is being fed with the grace of God's love.
I fear sometimes that the feeling will go away, like some new hobby you start and then get tried of a year later, but it hasn't happened yet. In fact, my faith is just growing stronger and stronger.
Good luck on your journey!
A book I would recommend would be Scott Hahn's "Rome, Sweet Rome."

 

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