Saturday, June 2, 2012

Feeling Faith

This afternoon I went to my second confession. The whole thing is still a little scary for me. I went to a church I had never been to before. They had the stained glass, the Holy Family & various saints in every nook & cranny. The Stations of the Cross loomed larger than life- they were full on sculptures that lined the walls. The ceiling was high & the acoustics were so phenomenal, you could probably hear a pin drop in there. It was one of the most traditional looking Catholic churches I've been to yet (which didn't exactly help with the nervousness)!...

I entered the closet sized confessional & sat face to face with a priest I'd never met. He was very kind, very patient & led me through the parts I forgot. I was done in no time & walked out feeling relieved. I've decided to make a point not to wait until I commit a mortal sin to go to confession... In fact, it was suggested that I go at least once a month so I can become more familiar with it. This seems like a good idea to me. Why? Because the sacrament of reconciliation is accountability. Its my response to & reception of God's love for me. How? Well, by going to confession, I acknowledge I'm a sinner- not only to God, but to a "one another", the priest. He hears me with the ear of Christ, intercedes for me before the throne & proclaims to me the grace I need to "go & sin no more"... As the voice of Christ, the priest speaks that forgiveness which empowers me to live a better life & to (as the priest said) "go out & try again". How significant it is to hear those words with my own ears.

This evening I went back to that same church to attend my first Novus Ordo Mass in Latin. I was mostly lost, but the choir was amazing. I just closed my eyes & took it all in. The sound was alive... palpable, as if I were being embraced by the harmonies from the inside out. It made me feel very full inside. I think its interesting that I tend to "feel" a lot more within the Catholic expression of faith than I ever did as an evangelical protestant (& I come from the charismatic side of things!). I know faith has nothing to do with what I feel or don't feel, but things are noticeably different now that I'm a Catholic. In my former ways, faith was more about what I could get from God because of what I lacked. Now, its more about what I can bring to God because of Who He is. I don't go to receive from Jesus anymore. I go to receive Jesus Himself. I go with the understanding that I must lay down my life as He did for me.

It struck me this evening that this thing is real- faith is life & death. So often, its treated as nothing more than a symbol, a thing we do because that's how we were raised or it just seems right or (add your reason here)... but faith is not a thing we can take off like a jacket. Faith is the skin we're in... it holds us together. How wonderful it is to actually "feel" my faith, as opposed to the numb nothingness I experienced for years...

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