Yesterday, Susan’s post Master, to whom shall we go? over at Creo en Dios! caused me to stop and consider. Susan is so good – so organized, so focussed. She is a born teacher. I follow her on Creo, and I always come away with a new, positive way to approach life and God.
On days when The Church and her many parts are frustrating me, I often find myself thinking — “I’m outta here!” I struggle with the institution. My gut screams, at times, when the it seems that the goal is not finding God and responding in with love to the gift of Jesus, but the goal is the enforcement of outer trappings. All those i’s to dot, and t’s cross. Get the official baptismal certificate for my son so he can the paperwork in place to get married. Make sure all the music is in acceptable to the powers that be for this service, or that ceremony. Shake my head at the priest who is uncomfortable with a certain devotion because it must be prayed at 3pm (and I understand his discomfort with something that seems almost superstitious) but then he turns around and becomes a hind-bound, unmovable rock with respect to the performance of other church rituals.
And then I stop – “But where would I go?” At this point I find that, just as Susan describes the path of discipleship, I have no other path that I am called to follow. I can’t leave because I can’t walk away from the Heart of the institution. I can’t walk away from the Eucharist that we celebrate. I know that other flavors of Christianity “have communion” – I’ve been there, and been a part of those celebrations. It’s not my walk. I sucked it up, and said “Yes” to joining this community when I was a college student. Even then I had my questions and my doubts, but there was no other way to go. In looking back, the decision to join the Catholic Church took more courage than going away to college, going away to grad school, going into counselling, getting married or staying married. In some ways, it was more difficult than the decision to actually be a Christian in the first place.
Where would I go? Nowhere. And when I accept that as truth, then the question begins to melt away.