Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Finding Faith....

I have a very strong belief system albeit one mixed with a mosaic of the world’s religions. My belief system comes from my heart and I have learned throughout life that when I can trust nothing else, I can trust my heart. I start here because during meditation this morning it was weighing on my heart that I have unevenly misrepresented my belief system. Although my blog is in its early stages, there is not one quote from Catholicism or any mention to it when in fact the first place I turn in times of trouble is prayer and to mass. A few months back when I found myself unable to understand what was happening, living in a state of disbelief despite reality staring directly at me that I found myself feeling hopeless and lost. I went to mass daily and prayed and took communion. I went back daily and waited to be relieved from the pain that my mind could not really conceive because it wouldn’t even accept the reality of the situation. This entry is not the full story to when I finally accepted the reality and let go, but rather a few other tid-bits that I have failed to share along the way.

One day, I was running a few minutes late to the 12:10 mass, so I scurried in and took my place near the back of the cathedral and listened to the priest as he continued with is homily. In all of my years of attending mass I had never heard a homily quite like this. Sure I have heard the Catholic Church speak about homosexuality and abortion, but not the entire homily speaking down on someone who has an abortion or is attracted to the same sex. I began to “go down a tunnel” aka have a panic attack. Have a panic attack in mass??? This was ridiculous. This was supposed to be my sanctuary, my oasis in the middle of the desert. My mind began to race. “How could I take communion from this man? I don’t agree with him. I don’t feel it is my choice to place judgment on any other person. Although a decision is not right for me, who am I to say what is right for someone else? Does the bible not say that charity (aka love) is above all else? What if god gave us all of these other differences to make us realize the most important thing is love? How can I take communion from this man?”

That was the moment I realized I had began putting faith in man and that my faith and relationship with God has nothing to do with man.

So, now that I have introduced a rather jolting experience that strengthened my relationship with God, but would likely be seen as blasphemy by a more traditional and non "Cafeteria-Catholic" such as myself, I have a little more food for thought. Below I have provided the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, something I have used as my centering “mantra” for many years now to ground me. It is actually on a placard in my favorite city in the United States, Saint Augustine. St. Augustine is lovely and charming. It is the oldest city in the States and has a tiny little chapel. It has never been hit by a hurricane and is said to be protected by the prayers of the nuns who originally came over. My family and I vacationed in St. Augustine when we were children. The photos here are from a mother/daughter trip in December of 2008

“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love,
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved, as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life."

- St. Francis of Assisi 

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