Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Wretched, imperfect faith - a neophyte's journey

As my neophyte year draws to a close, I am reminded of a great speech given by Ronald Reagan where he said of his political rivals, “It’s not that our Democratic friends are ignorant – it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.” Well, that’s my worry – that my “convert zeal” is robbing me of a true understanding of prayer and scripture. Church is meant to be the connection between God and man – a connection that is necessary. But there’s so much to understand, and this recipient is too often found wanting (I am sure) by his Creator.

When I pray to the Saints for their intercession, do they laugh? When I pray the Rosary, does Mary listen or turn her attention to more worthy recipients - or say, “What a silly man playing with beads”? If she did turn away, would she not be right to do so? Why should my prayers be answered when there is so much suffering and genuine need in the world? I have a wonderful family, and others cannot even conceive – should their prayers for a chance to be parents not be preferred over mine? Is my prayer not selfish when it seeks aid for me or my family?

These thoughts and doubts plague me all too often. My faith is “strong in weakness” yet it never leaves me completely. I do not seek a miracle or divine revelation. I have no desire to see God’s face in a potato or a bleeding statue. I just want something between me and that son of a b*tch Satan. So I pray, and read and go to Mass.

On the upside, as a neophyte I enjoy homilies that explain scripture – especially the parables. I remember hearing the one about the field or the prodigal son and thinking “Man, I agree with those workers who spent the whole day working in the field wanting more money than the guys who showed up just before dark” or “If I was that good son I’d be really p*ssed too” – only to be granted an “A ha!” moment when it all got explained. But part of my heart is never fully converted to the right way of seeing the explanation, and holds back.

I’m sorry to say it – but Easter is hard for me. Why should Christ have died for me when I clearly doubt I’m worth it? I have never seen the movie Passion of the Christ. Know why? I couldn’t hack it. Since I believe – no, I know – He died for me, I just can’t watch it knowing I don’t deserve it.

Man, that is so whacked.

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