“The Year of Faith” Ends, but Mine Continues

I caught a late Mass tonight.

I’m lucky to live in a very Catholic town, where I can choose which time to go.

And I’m lucky that right now, I have the luxury of going to Mass. For many years, I didn’t– I always ended up having to work. And I have to say, I think missing it did effect me. It’s been a gift to have Sundays off for the last several months, so that I could go.

I think that’s helped me to grow in faith more than anything. I understand why it’s a day of “rest.”

My faith has been tested a lot this year, and I’ve doubted more than ever. But doubt is a normal part of your faith journey, as are moments of despair. Those are called “dark nights of the soul,” and hopefully they bring us closer to God if we turn to prayer.

By admitting that other traditions are valid, I’m not invalidating Catholicism. I’m merely acknowledging that there is more than one path for us to walk in the light.

As a Christian friend of mine once said, “God doesn’t mind which house you visit him in.”

I’ve personally visited him in several houses– attending services in different denominations.

But the one that always brings me the most peace is a Catholic Mass.

Tonight, there were two families seated behind me. One was a mother with three young children, and behind her, a father with two kids? I think two. I could hear the littlest girl, maybe about 3, chattering away and playing with books. It reminded me of myself– I used to be very hyper in Mass. My parents had a challenge! But her mother was patient with her– never scolding. At one point I glanced behind and she was holding the girl in her arms, upside down, nuzzling her face. The girl was laughing with joy. And I was glad for her, glad that she has a mother that embraces her spirit rather than tries to quiet her down out of embarrassment. During peace, I shook hands with most of them. A blonde girl with her father in the second pew behind me had on a bracelet that said, “Trust.”

I had a wonderful feeling of peace, of joy.

I don’t know if the decisions I make are “right,” or not. But all I can do is make them in good faith, pray for strength, and keep walking.

Trust. The foundation for everything we need, and every hopeful interaction and decision.

This year I’ve let God into my heart in a way I never dared previously– and I’ve learned more than I ever have previously. I’ve learned to let go, to forgive, to humble myself, and to love myself and others unconditionally. To ask for, and accept, help. To give it, without being asked.

I’ve still got a long way to go.

But I’m grateful to have this chance, and even the challenges.

I’m grateful for this blog. I’m grateful for my family.

To those who have been devoted, and tho those who support me and give space when needed.

I’m grateful for self-awareness.

I’m just grateful, every day.

And that, I think, is the true gift of faith.

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