I am very lucky to have one of the best evangelists in the world be my RCIA director. If you think that I’m kidding, you can go check out his videos and see for yourself (they are the links on the left beginning with God’s Love) , the man is the real deal. Noe is not just an employee of the Church, but he is a living testament to what a life lived for the love of Jesus looks like. Anytime that I think of walking away from this Church, I don’t because I know that Jesus is real because I encountered Him. That encounter would never have happened if I had not looked at Noe and known that he knew Jesus in a very personal way. Noe had something that I wanted, a relationship with Jesus. I had wanted that since the very first time that I answered an altar call at the age of 8. For whatever reason, I never seemed to be able to figure out how to have a personal relationship with Jesus. I would actually answer “no” when people at the Baptist Church would ask me if I had a personal relationship with Jesus. I stopped doing that when it clicked that the look of shock on their face was somehow a disapproval of my honest answer. That’s when I began just answering the way that I was “should” answer.
Children are so honest. They have no filter because they have no sense of saying what people expect them to say. We were all like that at some point and then we started picking up on cues that told us that being honest wasn’t ok. That we needed to say things that people expected us to say for their sake and we started splitting off from our true selves. One of my favorite cliches is “to thine own self be true” because that is what we all really want to do but we don’t want to disappoint anyone or stand out so we conform and say what it is that we “should” say. Then it keeps going to what we “should” do and how we “should” act in certain situations and then we start “shoulding” other’s behaviors. Before you know it we are all shoulding on ourselves and others. If you know what I’m talking about, you know just how much this damages relationships and authenticity.
This also happens on a huge scale when it comes to the Church and the spreading of the Good News. I often fall into the temptation of thinking others “should” do X and then God would bless them. I think that if people would make the right choices and be responsible they wouldn’t end up in a homeless shelter. When I see someone asking for money, I automatically assume that they must have some addiction and that is why they are homeless. I think to myself about how I would never end up like that because I don’t make those choices, I have better friends and family or even worse that because I have God, HE would never let that happen to me. All of those thoughts are really me saying that I am better than those homeless people. That I am somehow above that happening to me because of something that I deserve and they don’t. That is arrogance.
I am about three months away from being homeless. We are going to have to sell our house, we have bad credit, criminal records and a bankruptcy which means that we probably won’t be able to rent anywhere. I have family that can take in the kids and then my husband and I will have to figure out where to go so that we can start from scratch. It will be rock bottom. The rock bottom that I didn’t think would come because I am better than those people. Talk about a lesson in humility and abandonment to God’s mercy.
After a week of hating God for letting this happen to me, I dragged myself to confession and confessed it all. My arrogance, my gossip, my sloth, my anger and my doubt that God loved me and would take care of me. I asked my angel to please get me up to go to Mass this morning since I haven’t received the Eucharist in 2 weeks because I was mad at God. As usual, my angel was all over it and I made it to Mass this morning. The homily was about evangelizing and how sometimes Jesus goes away and we are left freaking out about it because we have this tendency to want to stay with Him always and not go out and do what He has called us to do, which is evangelize the world with our life. That is so true, I don’t just want a relationship with Jesus, I want to crawl into the Tabernacle and live there. Away from the pain of the world, away from the rejection of others, away from the crazy that is the human condition and away from all the suffering. I just want to avoid the cross and live with Jesus. But there is no life with Jesus without a cross. It’s impossible.
After Mass I sat and read the meditation in the Magnificat. The writer said that what blocks most evangelization isn’t the poverty but the wealth of those who are called to evangelize. We are supposed to “preach the Gospel- the Good News of the Kingdom of God and not that of a better world.” (Madeline Delbrel). She also said that in order to be able to evangelize we must become poor. That doesn’t mean to become homeless, but to become dependent on God in all things. (and sometimes that might mean losing everything including our house) If we are Christians, then we must be willing to lose everything. That’s where I am now after a week of being mad at God, I have come to accept that I might lose everything and that’s ok. God will still take care of me right where I am and no matter where that is, I will be where I am supposed to be. The goal of this life isn’t to make this world better, it is to get to where we belong, which is The Kingdom of God. Knowing that opens me up to an authentic relationship with Jesus, which I can honestly say that I have now.