I’m new on the forums. Yesterday I checked out some threads on interfaith relationships and felt I needed to ask some of my own questions.
I’m a Protestant, have been since I was introduced to the church as a child, and have gone to the same church for over ten years (Assembly of God). I have been baptized and, though young adulthood is a trying time, I consider myself to be of good faith.
I’m currently in a relationship with a devout Catholic. It has brought an interesting set of problems, through which I am trying to work. I’ve spent hours praying that God take a look at my heart, open it up and help me to understand how my significant other’s faith is not as different from mine as I seem to believe.
I’ve attended a handful of Masses this year, and for the most part, have enjoyed them. I had trouble with the first Mass I went to (I suffer from moderate anxiety), and continue to have anxiety about Communion (I was JUST explained what to do in order to receive a blessing instead). The motions and ritualistic aspect of it is still very foreign, but I’m learning and it becomes easier every time.
My second Mass was the most thought-provoking; I was very nervous, and a song lyric in particular stood out to me: open hands. One cannot receive any kind of experience from anything, nor gain perspective and understanding, without an open mind, open heart, and open hands. About then is when I started crying in the middle of service.
I continue to feel a foreboding when I walk into Mass, however…I almost feel like I’m being judged for my difference in faith, and that my significant other is being judged for me. I really don’t like that…at all. I’m trying to understand how Catholicism works and I really am trying to get rid of my prejudices and stereotypes about the Catholic church…it has been a process.
I wonder if anyone else has had experiences similar to what I’m doing. Have any Protestants (who do NOT intend to convert) attended Mass to gain perspective? How did you respond to how different the service was?
I want to be as respectful of my boyfriend’s expression of faith as he is of mine.