Monday, March 16, 2015

Dear Ms. Disappointed Catholic Blogger Woman

I read this post earlier today about a woman's disappointment with belonging to an average parish, and how she found her solace in books. It made me a bit sad. I mean, everyone should do good spiritual reading, and I'm all for the good things it can do for your interior life. But it made me sad that she has not seemed to resolve any of the negative people experiences she has encountered as an ex-Evangelical Protestant.

Them people; we need them.

When our interior life is shaped by other believers, and I don't mean just by having Christian BFFs, but because we have thrown in our lot with people because they were somehow part of the scene when Jesus came among us and did something amazing -- when these people become part of our faith journey, God can use the smallest thing to teach whole lessons in seconds. Because there is joint experience and joint memory. And Jesus is right there in the midst of it, just like He said He would be.

I had one such moment yesterday. And the other person involved is by no means my BFF. That made it all the better lesson.

In this thing called the Church, the mystical Body of Christ, we are all called by Christ to give our all -- everything we've got -- for love of Him and also for the good of our fellows. My giving my all is actually needed by other members of the Body, just as their giving all is needed by me. Even when particular members may not exactly be thrilled with each other, we do actually need each other, and the rest of the Body actually needs both our input to work together. In other words, our love for Christ and the gift we make of ourselves really does have to supersede whatever differences or hard feelings may exist. It's ideal when there's nothing to supersede, but in the meantime we are called to keep rendering the gift.

All that in a one-second glance.

So, Ms. Disappointed Catholic blogger woman (and her tribe), I pray that God will lead you to an experience of grace amidst the people of your average, disappointing parish. Beautiful Christian community, a supernatural experience of Jesus among us in the flesh, doesn't always mean everyone feels good. In fact, woe to you if good feelings are what you have your heart set on. But keep looking for Him in your parish. God might just have a surprise up His sleeve for you.


Sterling Jaquith said...

Marie, don't get me wrong, I certainly didn't give up on my parish or the people there. I've been working hard to make it a warmer place but it's taken 2 years just to get them to let me make a welcoming committee! I don't use books as a parish replacement but for me, they give me the extra energy and hope I need to keep trying. I wrote this article to keep people from walking away from the church altogether. We're losing Catholics in droves and we have to stop pretending that's not happening and that it's not a problem. They're leaving because they feel unloved and unwelcome. We have to change that feeling. That won't happen by reading books. We need real people to make real change happen. BUT, in the meantime, I'm speaking to those with their foot out the door. Don't give up! You're not the only one who feels discouraged. But you are discouraged by worldly things. You are not actually disappointed with the Catholic faith. Stay strong!

Marie said...

Thanks for your response, Sterling! One of the first homilies I heard when I started attending Mass was how the Church is the Barque of Peter and Catholics should be bringing people in, blah, blah, blah. And I thought to myself "I feel like a fish who is desperately trying to jump into the boat and I keep getting all these obstacles thrown in my path, inadvertently deflecting me again and again!" It really is scandalous that Christ's Church acts this way.

But you've said something here that's got me thinking... the discouragement is over worldly things. Conversion is the way of the cross. Sometimes we want glory without it.