Forgive me if I rant, but I feel compelled to seek communication with those who are active in the faith. I was raised Catholic but never felt enough interest in the faith to uphold the tenants, and naturally I rebelled against it as early as the eight grade (I flipped off the Church as I walked away from the graduation ceremony). Fast forward through college. I dabbled with the usual beasts: Marxism, Relativism. It’s not that I engaged in any kind of “activism” (few did) or that I attempted true relationships (Looking back, I treated every woman I came across as an item in a carnival gift-shop). It’s that I shackled myself with ideals, always seeing the world through the bars of my intellect. I thought myself a rebel who bore his wits as a weapon against oppression, when in truth I was nothing more than a man who worshiped a hose while his house burned. In short, I floated on ideals when I should have bravely swam in the sea of life.
But ideals are no more than driftwood in this ocean. They oppressed me. I sensed the absolute insanity of my far-left professors and peers. One professor outright rejected the age of consent laws and monogamy as nothing more than outdated and fascistic concepts (one wonders how his parents, who he spoke warmly about, would react to their son’s hatred for their identity. One also wonders how he did not square the logic that to hate the family structure you generated from is to hate the very fact of your birth).
I converted to alcoholism (An idolatrous religion. The counter is the altar and the bartender is the priest and the sigh after the first sip is an "Alleluia. It’s also another piece of drift wood). This lasted for years before I was given an inconceivable second chance at love ( I won’t go into this, suffice to say the chances of it happening were almost non-existent, and I firmly feel the breath of God in this opportunity). For reasons I can not articulate, for reasons I know only intuitively, I sensed God , and I mean sensed. The thought of Grace and being touched by The Holy Spirit filled me with utter chills. Peace glowed in me. The sensation was almost painful. Gradually, all confusions ceased. I thought clearer than I ever had. It wasn’t a matter of feeling “happy” or “fulfilled”, or even “comforted”. I was still anxious and doubtful and frankly disturbed by how alien these feelings were. I felt entirely removed from my previous way of life overnight. There was no going back, even if I wanted to. I doggy-paddled through this ocean, and as its vastness shrunk the driftwood in the distance, I both loved and dreaded its immensity.
I nowhere near swam. My idealism resurfaced, this time through the faith. I engaged too theoretically with my faith, didn’t let that joyful feeling (and that’s the word for it, Joyful! happiness is simply its plastic idol) emanate from within as much as I should have. Consequently, my faith once again shattered, and it remains in pieces, which I am now trying to pick up. The fact is the gift that I felt come from the breath of God is still (Thankfully!) in my life and despite my efforts to preserve and cherish this gift, I wonder and in fact feel that He is still present and guiding me, and that my own efforts are bumbling in comparison (Because our faith is not a superstitious one. God does not punish us for acting out our wills. We punish ourselves. He guides us like a Father who lets His children run through mud. There’s a cleaner path and He leads us there, but maybe we won’t see the value and beauty of that path until we tire of soiling ourselves ).
Secular culture still horrifies me. Pop culture is without question a religion. Our basest instincts are paraded as banners of liberty. We are a culture of slaves who shake their shackles like rattles and sing hymns of praise. Political correctness gives me a Kafkian dread. Speak against utopian dreams and the intelligentsia readies their legislative guillotines. Part of what interests me in the Church again is that it is literally the only institution on the planet that fights for the rights of the disabled and unborn and all manners of displaced individuals. Not ideally, but truly, actively. No social media discussions about the plight of the poor but door to door service. No word games and historic revisions but prayers and soup kitchens. In my fall away from the Church, I’ve dabbled with the Enlightenment philosophy of “Cultivating The Self”. It worked as far as I thought, but no matter how hard I work at my faults, there’s always cracks though which leaks of debasement seep, and I can’t help but wonder if God has been with me all along, letting me walk my path, pointing at the mud stains on my soul and saying, “Consider the excitement you seek when splashing through the mud. Consider the refreshment of its coolness compared to the hot grass. I offer all that on my path, without the smell and stains.”
And it occurs to me now, as I rant here off the top of my head in the hope I convey what pulls me inside, that perhaps the primary difference between our path and His is simply Praise. What is a gift without a person to thank for receiving it, to remember when seeing it, to share it with? Suppose we ourselves are the gift-givers, then we thank each other, but isn’t that an implication that we are self-sacrificing when our wills are all that matter? God or no God, gift-giving (not material, but personal) is self-sacrifice, and if there is no God, no living source for this altruism contrary to indifferent nature, no Will to align our multiple and opposing Wills with, isn’t the sustainment of gift-giving an almost Herculean task when confronted with the difficulties of this life?
I speculate here because I am still not wholly convinced of my faith. I’ve ranted about myself to escape myself and engage a conversation. I thank you all for reading and ask that you give your honest impressions of this. Does it resonate with why or why you don’t believe?