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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Veering off the Via Media

It occurs to me that, as of this Easter, I have been a Catholic longer than I was an Anglican.

It seems incredulous to me, for these last thirteen years have flown as time does when one reaches a certain age, that point at which we lose not only the child's understanding, but that innocent connection with eternity in which a summer lasts forever and Christmas is always distant.

My faith in God was well established as a child.  There was never any question in my mind that He who created the universe had time to not only tend the lilies and sparrows, but help this little girl catch fish.  That faith never wavered.  It still hasn't, and it has brought me through much when nothing else would have helped.  It was what gave me the hope of salvation, I needed no proof of anything beyond it, it was sufficient enough for me to trust.

It is a bittersweet truth that we cannot remain as children, though.  Belief does not always require understanding, but without it, it will not survive into adulthood.  The world is full of pain, cruelty, hardship and evil that calls even the most devout to question God, sometimes even calling us to question His very existence.

Gratefully, my life is not such that I ever truly doubted, but I did ponder the whys and wherefores of the  religion into which I had married, and when my husband chose to convert, I reluctantly followed, finding, even with that reluctance, a fuller Truth, a complete Faith that never ceases to thrill me in Her day to day lessons, that explains so much and yet still holds a Mystery that compels me to attend Her repetitive rites, finding in them that which is Eternal, that which is the Same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

It is an humbling thing, this acceptance of a Sacramental God.  For the first time in my life as a Christian, it was no longer about simply believing.   There was a consummation in this Faith, much as there is in a marriage, that left me altered, much as Saul became Paul, the scales removed from his eyes by the sacramental touch of the Apostle.  In taking the Body and Blood of Christ on my tongue, I was compelled to change, to grow in this Faith that I had consciously chosen and publicly professed.

Here, before these altars, I found that there is no middle way.  There is no lingering in those things that bring me complacent comfort.  For the first time, religion became more than merely believing, more than an acknowledgement of the Eternal Truth, but the consumption of it, and in that act, that willful acceptance of Our Lord's Body, I recognized that the faith I once found sufficient was hardly enough to offer to the God who became man, who gave Himself as a Pure Victim, spotless and holy.  I needed to do more than to believe.  I needed to offer myself to God sacrificially, to immolate that which I knelt to worship and adore, that which I owed my all.  

I am glad to be a Catholic.  May I be an acceptable one to Our Lord, and may my prayer always be that He make me worthy of the perfection He has promised us in eternity, and until that moment, may He order my days, our days, in His peace.  Amen.