My friends, Dr and Mrs, (the parents of the squeezies and the ones with whom I spend my holidays – very important people in my life) are Catholic. Their families are Catholic. Their TOWN is Catholic. And whatever weird thing about me that causes it, I’m a pretty good Catholic too.
Now, let me set this straight. I am NOT Catholic. I am not a member of the Roman Catholic church. I have not been confirmed, and, in accordance with strictest standards, I do not take communion during mass (I do always go up and receive the blessing). But: I do frequently attend mass. I celebrate the seasons of Advent and Lent. I know my saints (I do not pray to them) and I can hang saying the Our Fathers, Hail Marys, and Catholic Grace with the best of them. Maybe it’s because I pay attention. Maybe it’s because I have a degree in Religious Studies. Maybe it’s because I’m half Mexican and maybe it’s because my BEST FRIENDS IN THE WORLD for the past eleven years have been Catholic (or at least raised that way, ::ahemJoyahem::).
But Catholic is kinda like pregnant: you are or you aren’t, there’s no ambiguity. To be Catholic, certain things have to happen. There are rites, blessings, rituals, classes, confirmation. And to be absolutely crystal clear: I love Catholicism. I love the songs and the stories and the reverence and the TRUTH in the origins our church Fathers set ohsomany years ago. I am not so foolish as to think all things Catholic are correct (or that all things of my church are). I agree with Luther’s theses (those that I understand) and am, as well as I can define, in agreement with reformed/Calvinist doctrine. (It does bother me, though, to capitalize his name and be called by it, as I’d like to reserve that right for my first love, Christ, and my eventual love, a husband I believe I will one day know on the earth).
Meanwhile, back on the path I started down…I am not Catholic, but I do love Catholicism. I love it like I love my biological family. They are imperfect, but the are beautiful, and they teach me in all that they do. I cannot leave them, even when I want to. They are where God chose to put e at birth. They are unlike the others of this world and being with them, like being at mass, reminds me of where my story started.
But I love my church, love our worship and theology, like I love my friends. They are the ones I chose (shush, Calvinists, I think you know what I mean) and keep choosing. They are the ones I would not leave if given the chance. They are the ones God knit me to, deep, in my heart. He knit himself in there when he made me. So my church, my home, part of the lower-case c catholic body, is like my friends: the family I got later in life, that doesn’t remind me of anything I’ve known, and yet continues to shape and inform who I am. Here is where my story, my small part in God’s story, continues to be told.
The conversation that started this blog was between myself and Heidi, the good Dr.s older sister, at Thanksgiving dinner. We were talking about going on a Catholic retreat, and that I needed a sponsor. I said Aunt Denise (one of Mrs’ aunts, who loves me much) would do it:
“Aunt Denise will do it. She wants me to be Catholic so bad.”
“You’re NOT Catholic?!”
“oh. Oh. uh….yeah I really thought you were Catholic.”
“I’m a pretty good Catholic, for not being one.”
“Yeah… You are.”