My friend posted a comment asking what I thought of the new Pope. I responded to her, but wanted to chat a bit about my experience in the Catholic church.
Like most people, I got hurt. It was through my mother. She was a divorced woman, and although her marriage was annulled, she was sometimes condemned and judged.
When I started going to a Protestant church, I discovered that people from other denominations have also been hurt. It was actually refreshing to hear this, and to know that it wasn’t just the Catholic church.
See, the problem is that we let people inside the church, give them leadership roles, expect them to be holy and without fault, perfect. Unfortunately, they are human. There’s going to be some emotional damage. It’s par for the course.
That said, I have found healing in the church. I have met some great people, who are not perfect, who sometimes say hurtful things (unintentionally), but who love me as I am. That’s amazing!
Toward the Catholic church my heart was hardened. I would act like a defiant child. “You’re not going to tell me what to do,” as I would plan to take communion knowing my heart was not in the right place to do so. I would inevitably end up in tears in the mass, and leave without taking communion.
God has softened my heart toward the Catholic church. For this, I am grateful. For better or worse, it is a part of my culture and heritage. It’s a part of who I am.
I have been spending some time in the Catholic church lately. I went to St. Mary’s church on Sunday. It was early. So, I went to Starbuck’s and got myself an Americano. (The church I regularly attend is pretty laid back, so I did not think much of bringing in a Starbuck’s drink until I sat down.)
The thing I noticed about St. Mary’s was that my Starbucks felt really out of place. I don’t think that God was sitting up on his throne, condemning or judging me. I don’t think he turned to Jesus and said, “Put that one on the smiting list.”
I also did not receive any glares from anyone in the church.
So, if it was not God, and it was not the people, then what or who was it.
Me! As I sat in St. Mary’s watching the people bow and kneel before the altar, I was reminded that God is holy. He is deserving of reverence, awe, respect!
I am getting a little weepy as I write this. The truth of who God is seemed to yell and shout in St. Mary’s. Not in a bad way, but in a very good way.
The church is a place to come and worship the living God, the Holy one of Israel.
So next time I go, I can still have the Starbuck’s Americano. I’ll just get a small one and finish it before I get to church. Or, treat myself to one after church.
Can I get an “Amen”? 🙂
I would love to hear your church stories or experiences. Please feel free to share the good, the bad and the ugly.
Copyright © 2013 by Elizabeth Potvin