It is no secret that I am a little nuts. I am very passionate and emotional all at the same time. If I love you, you will never find a better friend. But if I don’t, or if you betray me you will never find me again. My husband says that with me “It all comes out of the same faucet”. That is true (If you are from Texas and you even get what the means) Which makes being Catholic for me very hard.
I have often heard “Being Catholic is too hard for me” from a lot of people. I used to be one of the people who would say that. In a way that is a true statement. I thought about that the other day. Why is it so hard to be Catholic? Well it’s because we are told pretty frankly that we are called to Holiness, to perfection. For people who hear that message but don’t hear the message that all the Hope we have is that by God’s Grace that we can even manage to try to be Holy, then it can seem impossible. Because without God’s Grace it IS impossible, and that is why He gave us the Catholic Church with all the tools to receive that Grace. Every Baptized person is called to Holiness. If you are Baptized then you are on the journey of becoming perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect. Anyone who is not perfect will not see Heaven. But it is just that. A journey. It is not a one-time deal. It is not that one time in your life you say a prayer and are saved. It is a lifelong process. There are many people trying to go through the process by themselves. What kind of God would He be if He said “Ok, now work on being perfect, but you gotta do it on your own, by yourself, without the help of anyone else?”. That would be so rude! And yet, that is what I thought for most of my life. No, that is not how it works.
First we have to understand what the Good News is. God loves us, he has a plan for us, sin separates us from Him, Jesus died to reconcile us back to Him, we must repent and accept that Jesus is Lord and then receive the gift of the Holy Spirit to give us the power to live out that faith In Jesus. Simple, huh? I will go further into what each of those means, and how I learned and am still learning about that.
The part that is hard, is thinking that you do that once and that’s that, you are “saved”. That’s where Catholics and Protestants differ. Catholics say that we are *being* saved. And that is hard. Very much so, and I know it all too well. It means that everyday we have to commit our life to God. Everyday we are given the choice to reject Him, and for me I do it a lot of times. It’s the little things. Being lazy, spending too much time on Facebook, or whatever the case may be. But all those little times that I should be serving God and my family that I say, “No, I’d rather do something else.” Out of selfishness are little steps away from God. We all do it. That is why God gave us the Sacraments, to bring us back to Him. Everytime we come back to him in one of the Sacraments we grow, we heal, and we learn. We die to ourselves a little more and more. We start embracing our crosses and start seeing that God is so loving and merciful.
On Sunday I watched someone give a short testimony after Mass. I saw her face, her smile, her glow and her joy. And I got jealous. I no longer have that “newly converted” joy. I told God that that was unfair. I even said “Yeah well wait a year, and that feeling will go away” to myself in my head. I was lamenting about how I wish I could’ve stayed that immature in my faith to where I could “just be happy” and not have to work so hard. Bla la bla, whine and complain. That’s what I did the whole time after Mass until I fell asleep. Well right before I fell asleep I asked a group of my Catholic Sisters to please pray for a special intention of mine. I know this feeling all too well and I know it does not come from God and I had a feeling that I was about to have some spiritual warfare on my hands. I fell asleep praying for the Grace to overcome these feelings.
I woke up on Monday morning planning to go to Mass. I made a date with a friend to meet her in the Narthex after Mass. So I couldn’t get out of it, I had to go to daily Mass. I have not been to daily Mass regularly since September. And I have felt the effects of not going to the core of my soul; literally.
So I get there and as always the reading just spoke to me. Then came the homily. Deacon said the homily so I thought, ehh, this might not be so good. But I was so wrong! It was exactly what I needed to hear. I sat there so focused on every world that came out of his mouth that it had to be the Holy Spirit, because if it had just been me I would have thought about Facebook or my to do list halfway through his homily. Then came the 2×4 moment: he said “when a baby is born and the parents are holding that baby that is two or three days old and someone says to them ‘would you want to freeze time right now so your baby would stay just like this forever?’ The parents would say ‘No, if we did that we would miss out on watching our child grow and enjoy life’”. For me , that was like a whack on the head. That is how God feels! He doesn’t want us to stay babies in our faith. He wants us to grow in virtue and holiness. God wants us to grow up and be mature Christians, and watch us learn how to walk, talk, laugh, and all those things that we as parents remember about our kids growing. God feels the same exact way when it comes to us.
That was my answer to my cry of “Why can’t I just stay in that newly converted stage?” God’s answer was “Because I love you and want to enjoy watching you grow”.
God is so good to me, even when I am a whiney cry baby. He doesn’t care, He still reaches me. He comes down to me and hears my cry. He is my God, everything He does is so that I can make it be with Him in Heaven. It is up to me to keep going, to keep choosing Him every day when I wake up. It is only by His Grace that I can see that. He is a good God, He loves us all. Always. Even when we don’t see it; ESPECIALLY when we don’t see it!
The beauty of being a little bit mature in my faith is that I can see the power of prayer. It was that prayer request for special intention that gave me the Grace to go to Mass on Monday. And to actually hear what God was wanting to get across to me.