Hi- I was raised Catholic and am interested in returning to the Church- I chose not to make my confirmation because I disagree with the Vatican and the Pope on many poltical and moral issues. However, I feel a very spiritual connection with the religion I was raised with, and despite the fact that I have attempted to commune with God in other ways, I feel closest to Her when I am at Catholic Mass. The problem is that I still have views on politics and morality that differ greatly from the Church’s official stance on things. I am a very out and very proud lesbian, a feminist, and passionatley believe in a woman’s right to control her own body. I have no intentions of letting the Church’s position on these things change what I believe, but does that mean that I cannot be a true Catholic? Does that mean I cannot return to the Church and eventually make my Confirmation? I have heard that there are Church officials who think that pro-choice people should not even be recieving Communion. Does the same go for LBGT people? I am very confused, and it distresses me to think that my religion would so easily reject me because of who I am and what I beleive. Is there no room for dissenting opinions?
It might be helpful to ask yourself how passionately you believe in Christ’s Passion. Now THERE is passion for you! Good Friday is the center of history and the center of the Catholic Faith. To appreciate it, there are some questions we all have to ask ourselves. To begin with: Who paid God to create us? How do we dare to be? Why not nothing? Further–Why would God choose to take on the limitations of human existence and then suffer such torture and even death at the hands of His creatures? Could it be that even though all we experience in life has limits, God has shown us something that has none—namely infinite love? If this is so, then clearly we are treading on holy ground. What must be expected of us in return?
To acknowledge the truth of Who God is, is what is known as worship. But this is only the beginning. But it IS the beginning. We begin with God and NOT with ourselves. Our agenda must be subservient to God’s agenda and not God’s to ours. We are God’s idea, after all—God is not ours. To acknowledge God’s preeminence is to be humbled. Compared to God, we are small potatoes!
Now this is a very radical way of thinking, compared to the attitude that prevails in our culture. In our culture, WE come first. Our rights begin with US. If WE determine that we have a need, then WE deserve to be satisfied! Even religion exists to satisfy US! WE are big potatoes!
To this Jesus says, “Can any of you, for all his worrying, add one single cubit to his span of life?” Sooner or later we are all going to die. Our culture did not create us and it has no power over death. It just does not deliver----because it CAN’T! Therefore, it does not have the authority to determine how we should live. It cannot nullify the Ten Commandments. And it cannot show us our meaning—what we are for.
When we look at the saints, the holy ones who have gone before us, we recognize some people who have “gotten it right!” John the Baptist knew this so well. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30) There really is no other way to encounter Jesus, than to recognize this and acknowledge it. This is what conversion is all about. Our whole lives are a continual conversion. That tug at your heart is evidence that God is calling you to Himself----and to conversion. If you follow it, you will be astounded by what you learn and the power you will have to live the kind of virtuous life you never thought was possible for you. God created you to be a saint and you will never be happy unless you put Him before everything else. Remember, if you were the only one who needed to be redeemed, He would have died just for you. You matter that much to Him!
I invite you to write again. There is so much to say that I couldn’t put it all into one communication.
Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.