In spite of our differences…


My dad wasn’t perfect and I don’t idealize him or his memory.  Lord knows, he wasn’t a great father.  In fact, he could be a pretty lousy father and he even admitted it later on.  But I loved my dad.  Deeply.  He was my rock, even though he could erupt at any moment like a volcano.  And I still love him, no matter what kind of “baggage” we had together.

My dad wasn’t crazy about Catholics, even though he married a lapsed Catholic woman (my mother).  I was sent to a Catholic school starting in 5th grade, for two reasons–the first one being that the public schools in my area weren’t very good and I’d get a better education at a Catholic school (Catholic schools are notorious for providing an excellent education and they do value a well-rounded worldview).  The second reason was because I was being bullied in the local public school.

In my Catholic school, I found a refuge away from the dysfunction at home.  I loved my school, and I loved the Friday masses, even though I was not allowed to participate in Communion.  It sometimes felt like my real home.  The nuns there took me under their wing.  I thought they were angels and (except for one of two of them who could be mean) I was always in awe of their kindness and compassion.  I loved the quiet and peaceful way they moved.  I loved their softness. I loved the way they seemed not quite of this world. These were the qualities I was starving for, coming from a home full of anger, chaos and sharp edges.

Because of my positive introduction to Catholicism, I was always attracted to it, in spite of not agreeing with all of its doctrine.    The Church has changed a lot over the years, since Vatican II, and embraces science rather than denies it.  Science, too, is about the truth.  I feel that the Catholic church is the “thinking person’s Christianity.”  Of course, I know it’s not the only one.  I know denomination doesn’t matter; it’s a matter of personal preference.  I love the liturgy and the history and the mystery of Catholicism.   But that’s just me.

I do have issues with their stance on abortion, birth control, women in the priesthood, and homosexuality.   But these things don’t affect me directly.    I believe with all my heart that the Communion wafer is not just symbolic.  Every time I partake of the communion wafer, I feel filled with the Holy Spirit and know this is Jesus’ gift to his people.

In April of 2015, after nearly a year of preparatory classes (RCIA), I became a Catholic during the Easter vigil mass.   My father, in spite of his misgivings about the Catholic church, gave me this Benedictine Crucifix, which hangs in my room across from my bed, so Jesus is always the first thing I see when I wake up.

Thank you, God, for giving me my new faith, and please help strengthen me in that faith, especially now when I’m in so much turmoil. And thank you for my Dad, who although we had our issues, was able to put aside his prejudices and give me such a beautiful gift from the heart.

13 thoughts on “In spite of our differences…

  1. What I like about Catholicism is the depth and richness that allows such a variety of people to embrace it. It’s mysticism is all a mystic could desire. It also includes practitioners of voodoo, allowing the merger of the 7 African Powers and Catholic saints. Irish and Italians and Hispanics are at home there. Sophisticated and simple each have something to nurture themselves. It is both Pagan and Christian. I see Catholicism to Protestantism as Hinduism is to Buddhism. The former are rich with images, stories, history. The latter are simple, austere and minimalized. Each style has it’s own kind of beauty. I lean towards the former. Although I have no religion at present, I have participated in both Catholicism and Hinduism and don’t regret it.

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    • I also have great respect for Eastern traditions, and actually have a Buddha in my garden. I believe in the chakras and do chakra meditations. I also have a statue of St. Francis, a lover of animals. They both live togehter in harmony in my garden and keep the flowers blooming!

      Protestantism is fine, but doesn’t do it for me. They lack the history and the mystery of Catholicism. I do like the Episcopalian and Lutheran churches though, who kept the Liturgy intact.
      I looked into the Eastern Orthodox church too, but it seemed just a tad too “foreign.” As a Catholic though, I can participate in Orthodox masses.

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  2. I am happy you got compassion from the nuns and away from the bullies. Your thoughts about your dad and the gift of his crucifix are great memories to keep in your heart. Remember God is there for you, and will always love you and comfort you when mere mortals reject us. He is the answer for the wounds we receive. Hugs!

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  3. Beautiful thoughts here. I’m starting RCIA in the fall after decades of being taught Catholics were going to hell and in league with Satan. The safety of the source of authority is what drew me after so many years of local Protestant ministers interpreting the Bible to exploit male privilege and domination over women They get some things right but strip the mystery and majesty and reverence out of the faith. Catholicism makes me feel like I’m part of something much larger than myself.

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  4. Wow, My Lord, you are just great. Friend, Christ is universal, he was more than one denomination , he is not division, he is diverse and he the union between god and man. I appreciate your choice, as a Catholic myself, I feel glad that you have accepted the whole of Jesus Christ into you, not only a part of it. In the name of Jesus I bless you, that may you be a leader, more than a priest. In Jesus Christ.
    Not all are called to be priests, some are called to be fishers of men too.
    Yes priests have special powers given by the seat of authority which God gave us, but isn’t that great, that we can also become part of God’s mission in his own way?
    I pray for you that may God bless you abundantly, may all the answers that you seek, that you think are wrong, may be completed at that alter of freedom, that alter of Jesus Christ.
    For it is said “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6
    I have always said this and I tell this you friend, that we are no one to judge one another, if God has given us his son, then he has given us because he loved us, not because we worshiped him.
    So let us take the full benefit of his son, let us take all the gifts of him, not just one not just two, but all and everything, so that all things in him we can do. Amen
    Hallelujah God Bless you friend.

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      • Good luck. Give your self time to accept the pain that is now in the past and sourround yourself with God and good people


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