a poverty awareness trip which I participated in during Lent was to be as ecumenical as possible, but part of the experience was to be a Catholic MASS as understood from the beginning of the trip preparations.
When we were asked why we were going on the trip, I answered that I was “testing” a calling, or my ability/resolve to that calling, to work in overseas missions and possibly as a religious.
then one of the trip leaders said, near the end of the trip, that we might go to an Anglican service instead of MASS, if the timing was more convenient. I told her that I was not comfortable with that - and that attending an Anglican service would in no way meet our Sunday obligation (she had identified herself as a practicing Catholic back in September).
she said that just because the Church said it was a sin to miss MASS didn’t mean that it really was. she proceeded to discuss how once she had been told by a deacon that attending a protestant service would not meet her obligation and that she was not permitted to participate in their communion. She told me that God shouldn’t care where she went to pray, and that she would receive communion in whatever church she happened to be in at the time.
she thought that I was being silly to insist that, as a Catechumen, I would NOT receive communion anywhere until after my baptism, and that even so that I still needed to attend a Catholic MASS - and would not consider attending an Anglican church INSTEAD.
I tried to explain to her how I have come, over the past year, to trust that even if I don’t always understand Church teaching, I WANT to be bound by it because I trust the Church’s conscience more than my own.
then she asked me, wasn’t the beach the best place to pray - wasn’t God more present outside than inside a church? I told her that God is present in a special way in the Eucharist - and honestly told her my favourite spot to pray was in a Perpetual Adoration chapel, where God has spoken to me before.
finally, when we were discussing music, I was asked in turn what type of music I listened to. I, again just being honest, answered that though I often enjoy secular music, I find myself listening more and more to Christian music when left the option. It is also the only type of music I can play with any confidence.
one person told me that I had made her think about her faith a lot, and that she was thankful for my example and was rejoicing with me over my upcoming Initiation into the Church. I appreciated that, though it hadn’t been my intention to effect anyone else’s faith but my own.
But then one of the trip leaders told me that he thought I was narrow minded, especially when (again, upon being asked) I said that I would first ENSURE that MASS would be available before going into any type of mission work. He said there’s other things in life than religion, and that too much “God” will put people off of me.
I told him that my long-saught for faith is center of my life (where else would it be?) - and that everything else would naturally flow from that center. he then said he thought I was narrow minded, changed the subject, and declined to ask me any more questions about myself or my opinions.
honestly, was I being narrow minded? If God is all I think about - if I get to work and I pray before I start and at every break, if I (now that I’m Catholic) look forward to, all day long and every day, to the moment when I can receive Jesus in the Eucharist, if I write primarily praise-God, religious music and poetry, or essays about the benefits of chastity and faith, or if I would rather make my hour of Adoration than go see a movie with my friends (unless it’s the PASSION with my godparents) - or if I insist on attending MASS - if I listen to mostly Christian music - if I love my faith so much that it has not only touched, but changed - deeply changed - everything about me and my life - if it affects my political opinions, my interactions with my family and friends, my thoughts and my words - I mean, these things all together - am I narrow minded?
should I have felt hurt by his words, or by the attacks I recieved for being simply honest, or for insisting on going to MASS? was I wrong to persist in asking that we attend MASS, or in answering as I did?
have I gone overboard? is there a time and a place? should I get a grip on myself and come back to “reality”?
I’m feeling a little confused, and I know this negatively affected my trip experience… but should it have?
in love and faith,