As someone who was born and raised Catholic, worked at a Catholic high school, and attended Catholic schools my entire childhood, it feels uncomfortable to struggle with my faith. There is so much about the Catholic Church, especially on the east side of Indianapolis, that I value. In overarching ways...the tradition, the formality, the consistency, and in more local ways...the community, the friendship, shared morals.
I love the way in which I was raised and the Catholic Church had a lot to do with that upbringing. The fact that I recently played in a kickball tournament with 14 other women that were in my 8th grade class (a class of around 30 total) is just one testament to the strong ties instilled in us by Catholic institutions.
But...as I have become an adult I have realized that there are things about the church that I don't agree with. This is not the forum to list and discuss these in detail; however, I will say that it has made me pause. It is uncomfortable to view a religion that I grew up seeing as so inclusive, so warm, so welcoming, now seem selective, exclusive, and judgmental.
I should say here that I am not trying to start a debate or pass judgment on Catholic Church teachings. I am truly just trying to put into words MY current feelings. Religion is so personal, and I hope that everyone can find a faith in which they feel hope, solace, guidance, and inspiration. If Catholicism is that for you, then I say "fantastic." For me, I am just hoping that someday I can say with confidence, "I'm Catholic," without feeling the urge to follow that with a "but..."
Before we know it, the time will have come for Ramona to begin schooling, and so we have begun the process of trying to figure out what school will be the best fit for our family. And as a part of this process, I have started singing in the Folk Group at Lourdes again. I love this group of people! It is always fun to be around extremely talented people...it makes you up your game. This opportunity also means that I am attending Mass once a month, which is, sadly, an increase for me.
I am trying to use this time to rekindle a connection. To listen to the words, to think about the message, to concentrate on the prayer, and confirm that, even with my hang ups, this is still the community where I want my family to grow.
Today we sang a song that has been sticking with me since I learned it two weeks ago. The message is simple, and if feels like the words I have been trying to find for awhile.
"Lord increase my faith. With all our hearts, may we always follow you. Teach us to pray, always."
As we all go about our days, making decisions, raising our children, finding our place in this world this is what I hope for each of us. The strength that comes with faith, and the peace that comes with prayer.