I spent some time recently reflecting on my thoughts regarding church in general and the Catholic Church.
A tiny bit of background: I was born into a family that was Catholic, but mostly by name. Due to various circumstances, I didn’t get baptized into the Catholic Church until I was 6 years old. I recall CCD at the local church while attending public school, first communion, etc. I attended Catholic school from 5th to 9th grades and was confirmed. Attended mass regularly (through school, not Sundays) those first few years, and managed to get one of my parents to take me to church on Sundays the year I was being confirmed (yes, they would drop me off and I went alone!)
My parents divorced when I was 14, I changed schools to public school and never went back to the Catholic church. I determined that I “left” the Church for whatever reason sounded good at the time.
At 19, I began searching… being a mother of a one-year-old, I knew I needed something… a Protestant and VERY conservative church (very close to Mennonites for comparison sake) found me. I joined, was baptized again and stayed there for five years or so.
Due to reasons too long to go into here, I left there. For about two years now, I have been searching again. Reading a little here, researching a little there. I returned to college last year and took a World Religions class. Fascinating. Gobbled up every bit I could. Figured every religion in the world had all the same basic points and beyond that it was symantics.
So why all of the sudden did I start feeling like going to church? And a Catholic Church at that? The Church I said I would never return to because it was all redundancy, repitition, corrupt from popes we don’t even remember the names of and just too ritualistic to be the real deal?
I don’t know… and while I have taken baby steps over the last year, I still haven’t gotten up the gumption to go to Mass.
What I’m wondering is this - in my experiences with religion (and I did searching into Reformed Presbyterian, Reformed Baptist, Calvinism and a few others I can’t remember) I have observed people who seem to “get it” and appear religious and moved and spiritual. Yet - I cannot think of a time that I felt any of those things. Does anyone FEEL different because of going to Church every week?
Secondly, I also observed myself during the times I was regularly attending church and found myself being very judgemental of people who didn’t. And when I would express these feelings of “are all those people wrong?” I would get responses like Yes, they’re lost and they’re damned if they don’t get it right! Well, quite frankly, I don’t like being a judgemental person - I’m certainly not going to cast the first stone because what do I know?
My fear is that if I return to the Church for all the reasons I can think up during the quiet moments of life, that I’ll become that judgemental person again and gag - I’m outta there.
Does God keep calling me? Will He prevent me from becoming that kind of person again?
Sorry this got so long… thanks for reading this far and thanks for your feedback.