Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Learning How to Be Catholic

I hear it repeatedly: yes, your heart is Catholic. Yes, you may have the intellectual stuff down, but you still have to learn how to "live like a Catholic". This is a frustrating thing to be reminded of. Living it is different from knowing things about it, doing things that exemplify it or feeling something related to it. Going to Mass & saying the responses don't make me Catholic. Praying the Rosary & learning Catholic prayers don't make me Catholic. Feeling the Presence of Jesus in the Eucharistic expression doesn't make me Catholic. Even kneeling & bowing & crossing myself don't make me Catholic. These are all symptoms, if you will, of something that yet needs to be made manifest.

What's most frustrating is that I can't necessarily speed the process along, no matter how hard I try. Its kind of like waiting for a baby... everything is exciting at first, but by month 7 or 8, enough is enough! I've heard pregnant mothers tell me how they're tired of carrying all that weight, that they want to be able to wear clothes without elastic waistbands, that they want to be able to sleep on their stomach again. Of course, the addition of a healthy baby would be nice too, but the primary focus seems to be on getting things back to normal. But what's "normal" anymore after the birth of a child?! Everything changes.

Something is being formed in me. Realistically speaking, if I knew 9 months was the appropriate time for the development of a child, I would be very frightened if that time was cut short by a premature birth or some other anomaly. So I'm trying to think of my spiritual development as such. Even after I'm finally able to partake of the Eucharist, the process of living as a Catholic will take time, much like being human does. Though we are human in the womb, outside of it, we must live life to become "fully human", to realize our potential. Only in living life do experiences & intellect become a part of who we are. They change us, affect our perspectives & temper our actions or lack thereof. We "become" who we are over time. Learning how to "be", how to live like a Catholic it seems, is going to be a lifelong journey.

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