We Catholics have been called silly. Or worse, stupid. And sinful because we have a Pope.
Our religion is “ridiculous.” (That’s my recent favorite.) We confess to a priest! We have archaic rituals!
Do an Internet search and you’ll see much worse.
Well, I’m one of those silly, sinful Catholics. Not for any of the reasons spouted by our critics, but because I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve done things I’m not proud of.
In the past, I sometimes didn’t fully understand the rules. I grew up in a Catholic family, but we didn’t talk about our Catholicism. Learning about our religion took place at Mass, in Catholic school, or in CCD classes when we attended public school. While I was growing up, we never prayed the rosary together, and I don’t remember having a Bible in our house. Later, after I left two sisters behind at home, that began to change.
But even now I feel ignorant compared to my fellow Catholics. I don’t understand as much as I’d like to. I need Catholicism for Dummies. I’ve even considered taking RCIA if my parish priest would allow it. I’m new to the parish and have not asked.
Bottom line, I didn’t have the sturdy foundation needed to hold steadfast and true to my faith throughout my life. I floundered. I rebelled. I lost trust in my Father.
Like a child who tests the rules while learning them, but who expects forgiveness each time she transgresses, I now keep my heart open to God. I run back into His arms, crying and begging for His love again.
As if He ever stopped loving me.
Looking back, I feel silly and sometimes stupid because of my sinful nature. If you meet me in person, I may appear a bit silly, but you may also detect that I am flawed.
My therapy is reading the Bible and writing my fiction. When I’m angry. When I’m afraid and therefore losing trust in God. When I’m fighting for control over every aspect of my life, knowing I should give it up to Him.
I read about biblical sinners—silly and stupid in their sinfulness like me—whom God loved nonetheless.
Then I write some of my mistakes into my fiction characters. And I hold their hands and help them along to grow in their relationship with God.