Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Slowing Down and Allowing the Questions

It is amazing what some perspective can do. Taking time to go deep and just sit there in the Presence of God Who bursts into bloom within the heart that is open to God. Giving voice to things with a trusted person helps that to happen.

In meeting with my spiritual director today, a Jesuit, I was able to do just that; but something more important happened. With no prodding from him, the Holy Spirit stirred my deepest thoughts and allowed them to rise. More questions than answers.

When I step back and look at the Church, I see it as gasping under its feudal structure; yet I also see the countless mystics who remained within it, calling it to a deeper holiness. No human institution is perfect; I  have no illusions that it ever will be. And therein lies the rub.

And yet it goes deeper still.  It is being willing to stand in and with and within this Mystery, knowing that God experiences all of this with me--the joys and sorrows. God made it, yet God contemplates it with and through me. This is holy ground even though it feels as if the ground beneath my feet has fallen away.

This liminal space invites me to let go of what was, yet not be fully part of what is to be. In this place of in-between, God calls me to look at Creation through God's eyes. 

Jesus knows this intimately. He protests the horrific conditions in which his people live. He embodies compassionate action. He does this even to the point of asking that this chalice pass from him the night before his execution. Jesus is profoundly human and this is what makes him so compelling.

This very human Jesus invites me to walk with him as he walks with me. He asks what do I have to offer a Church and world so sorely in need of love and transformation. I want to run and hide, saying "who, me?" But Christianity is not done alone; it is communal in nature. So it is with this question that I am left and must engage. The answer remains a mystery for the time being.

So, what is this Catholic do about going to church in light of this. This does not have to be answered definitively right now. I have this tendency to want to fill in a hole when it becomes evident. Better to allow time to be silent and listen to the Holy Spirit.

I am going to be spending time with the Quakers for now, and also going to Mass on Saturday or during the week. And, more importantly, I am going to let it all go and allow God to lead the way.

It is amazing how these insights came to the fore in the compassion of my spiritual director who held the situation gently, allowing it all to simply be.   

Sunday, January 6, 2013

To a Place of Grace

Did I leave the Roman Church, or did it leave me? Maybe we left each other; maybe it doesn't matter. But let us be clear: I am still a Eucharistically-centered Christian in love with the saints and mystics, and most importantly, Jesus. But the Eucharist, the saints, mystics, and Jesus embrace a whole lot more than just the Roman Church! 

I wish I could hang in there but I can no longer take the abuse from the Pope, the bishops, and many priests; I refuse to take part in my own oppression any longer. The hateful language they spew forth over gay/lesbian and women's issues befouls the Church. Their response to the abuse crisis has rendered their moral authority flaccid. I thought I could hang in there until the "seeds of regeneration" break ground or at least have that hope, but I no longer have that desire. Merely finding an inclusive parish does not solve anything, either.

But, I also have theological reservations with this Church. For one thing, where does one draw the line with theological disagreement? When does one stop being a Roman Catholic?  It seems to me, that many, whether conservative, liberal or somewhere in between, want their dissent and their Church as well. That can only happen to a point, but then it can go too far and a person has to ask himself or herself that all important question.

So, for now at least, I dance in the Heart of God, interconnected with all life. It is "outside" the Roman Church, but a place of grace nonetheless, as a friend of mine said upon hearing I had decided to leave. If I am called to embrace a Christian tradition later, it will most likely be the Episcopal Church, as I find myself more in sync with Anglican theology, delightfully finding God in the messiness of ordinary living. It is both Catholic and Reformed, as am I; it is within it that I practiced for over 15 years.

I am, however, one of those odd ducks who both loathes, yet is somewhat attracted to, organized religion. It is not always the most comfortable place to be, but it is there that I stand. It seems I didn't "leave" anything after all, but, rather, embraced the fullness of living within the joy of God.