Monday, August 3, 2009

Down to the River to Pray

(Alison Krauss)

I love that this song came up on shuffle, because last night I went to church! Love the serendipity. Going to church for some may be an ordinary part of the weekly routine, but not me. I am Catholic. Born and raised...and forever will I be Catholic. Often, I struggle with parts of the church and have been called by some friends a Cafeteria Catholic (which means I pick and choose which parts I believe in and follow). Spiritual seems to be the accepted word lately: "I'm not religious, I'm spiritual." In my life, religion has taken a back seat behind, well everything else. Why is that? I want something more. I need something more.

Every once in awhile I get a hankering to go someplace I've never been before- go exploring. It's one of my favorite things to do. I'd heard of this beautiful church about thirty miles away. "Why not?" I thought. The drive over the mountain was a spiritual experience by itself, with it's awe inspiring beauty. When I saw the church, I got that "I did it" feeling! (Finding a new place is exciting as I am TERRIBLE at directions.) My timing was early, very early so I timidly sat in my car for a bit. When I emerged, nervous, I approached the giant wooden doors and opened them I saw a church; like any other church. There were two ushers opening the glass doors into the church. I found a seat on the edge of a pew. Kneeling, I prayed and for a moment I was overcome with emotion. Fear, anxiety, hope, love...I didn't know what to do, so I sat and wrote. The mass began. A simple organ tune for the entrance. No singing. I was disappointed. Mass was the same. So far, I wasn't sure why I came...until Father Brian began to speak. His sermon...there are no words. First of all, he spoke to us (the congregation) like people. He told us of his own life and experiences. He made jokes. He even used his microphone and spoke in a deep "God voice" and said, "This is your sign." He said his boss told him to pass along the message. Hahaha! What Catholic priest does that? Father Brian does. I laughed. He kept repeating a phrase, "Stop pretending to be Catholic and be Catholic." I feel all shook up inside like a snowglobe. My life was going along fine, on the surface, and now he made me think and question and wonder. That's was church is supposed to do! Now, I'm left with all of these feelings and I don't know what to do except...return to church. Look for answers.

2 comments:

Alice said...

Absolutely love this! I was just talking to my husband yesterday about what it means to be Catholic as opposed to spiritual. I'm really drawn into this entire experience, and love the image of you waiting in your car, arriving early, entering something new...reading about your experience in the church made me feel more centered in my own heart. Really beautiful. Thank you!

1981Shamrock said...

I like this post a lot. Lovely imagery. And the metaphor is striking. But what got me is how you really got engaged to God this past year. Interesting how those words of the year actually work...
=)

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