The Body of Christ, and How My Parish is Helping Me Believe in Jesus

Bringing Holy Communion to this woman and her daughter is teaching me about accountability.

I don’t always feel like getting up and going to Mass on my own. There are so many Catholic churches in this town, I can go to Mass all day long on Sunday. I used to go to whichever Mass was convenient for me on that given day.

“I can make another Mass,” I told myself. But there were so many options, that I often just didn’t go.

I used to live my entire life by what was convenient for me. I was ruled by my feelings, and what I wanted.

And I let a lot of people down– but namely myself. It’s a selfish way to live, and you miss out on a lot.

Since I had no routine, I didn’t feel rooted in any particular parish. I had no spiritual “home,” so to speak.

Then I took off Sundays from work, specifically so I can go to Mass– because I missed it. And I’ve been happier since.

But the days when I sleep in and miss Mass, I don’t just feel guilty as a Catholic. I feel sad, because I missed out on it.

Because truly, my church is da bomb. It’s not just Mass– it’s like a party for God.

Because Mass is real– it nourishes me. Receiving Holy Communion nourishes me, although I no longer take the wine.

I believe that it’s not just bread– but Jesus. I was skeptical for most of my life.

But what else could explain the change in me? I have my good and bad days.

But by volunteering to bring Holy Communion to this woman and her daughter, I’m becoming more responsible as a result.

I’m becoming more motivated to go, because I don’t want to disappoint them. And because they are so patient with me, which makes me want to do better because they deserve better. They are understanding if I have needed to cancel or re-schedule.

That makes me want to not cancel or re-schedule, because I want to be someone they can rely on.

I’m beginning to really look forward to visiting them, too. We’re starting to talk more.

And lately this woman has been wanting to KNOW about what happened at Mass– and I want to be able to tell her.

She wants to know about Father Ray, and how he’s doing. I can’t answer that if I go to Mass somewhere else. She’s been wanting me to bring her a copy of the bulletin. And it’s not the same if I just bring ANY bulletin– she misses the people in THAT church.

In our church. I’m finally admitting, this is my church.

I have a hard time committing to things. But I’m getting better– and Mass is really helping me to feel rooted.

The first step for me was choosing a parish. The next step has been going regularly.

Knowing that I can count on going to Mass at my parish every Sunday makes me happy. Knowing that this woman and her daughter can count on ME is making me feel even happier.

I usually sit with my friends’ parents. And I usually arrive late.

But I think I’m going to make a point to get up earlier, and sit closer– so I can hear better. I like sitting with my friends’ parents, but they will understand. And heck, maybe I’ll even invite someone to go with me too.

Luckily it’s a small parish, which is one of the reasons I like it so much. It makes it easier for me to hear, when so many larger parishes and cathedrals echo too much. I’m too far away, even when I pay my best attention and sit as close as I dare.

But this parish is just the right size for me.

And the priests who preach rotate, which I also like. Father Ray leads us, but he allows others to preach too. And they are all commanding speakers, with good voices that I can mostly hear.

This is not coincidence.

We also have a live band– with drums! I love it. It’s so different from every Catholic church I’ve ever attended.

I’m a Democrat, and my parish embraces and champions social justice. It’s a progressive Catholic church. They DO exist!

I feel like I BELONG. I have friends there, who are always happy to see me. I’m also starting to want to go more to see them too.

There are candles you can actually light, and kneel down and pray. So few churches have that anymore– and the ones that do mostly have these cheap electric candles– it’s not the same at all.

I’m so grateful. It recharges my week! If I don’t make it to Mass, my week doesn’t have the same charge of joy.

I’ve had a hard time connecting to the idea of Jesus– but I’m beginning to really believe it now.

For the first time, I’m beginning to understand the concept of the Body of Christ.

In my Roman Catholic family, and in the members of my parish– which is also a family.

They accept me as I am. They never chastise me for being late, or for missing Mass.  They don’t care about what I’m wearing.

They’re just so happy when I return next time.

Without feeling any judgement for my tardiness or absences, it makes me want to be there– and not miss a minute.

This parish is helping me to believe in the authentic, healing presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

Because if I leave Mass every week feeling incredible, that’s the spirit of the Gospel.

I’ve never been a big Bible reader, but here I am, blogging about my faith. Something deeply personal, for which I know others may judge me. But that doesn’t bother me anymore.

Because not long ago, a friend whose own faith is in flux told me that reading my blog makes *her* want to go to Mass again.

And I felt a little unsure about it, but I texted her a Bible verse– I didn’t want to be pushy. And she said it was perfect. She thanked me.

And I sometimes want to quit blogging, but hearing that this blog is helping her makes me want to keep writing.

We never know how we may be quietly influencing the lives of others around us.

And that’s Jesus at work.

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