Recently, I've really been contemplating my spirituality. I believe it's root was from a conversation with Andy this past weekend. He said (I'm paraphrasing here) that he didn't think people were religious... unless they truly followed the rules of that religion. Believing in God to him was spirituality... not religion. I always considered myself religious but not a practicing Catholic... but hey... that's all in the semantics.
Anyway - he noticed that I was getting a little upset... and I too noticed I was getting a bit defensive. We quickly changed the subject back to snowboarding, travel, drinking, food, etc... you know ... light happy subjects. But in the back of my mind... that defensive feeling lingered.
In addition, I had been reading a few books. Many of which had been focused quite a bit on religion... Christianity to be exact... and to be more specific even... Born Again Christian. I am not a BAC but I am a Catholic... or at least I thought. Anyway... it was good I read these books. Many of them were about women (coincidence) who never thought of their religion more than what is on the surface. They said the prayers without speaking with God. And in a lot of ways, I am much the same way. I realized the other day that that is exactly why I was so defensive. It's not that I'm defending myself to Andy but rather I'm trying to convince myself ... that I truly do believe because recently, I haven't been acting it.
I've been on a spiritual quest for the last couple of years. I've managed to put that quest aside almost immediately after I started looking... then I start again. I suppose I'm starting again now.
Catholic church to me seems very traditional, very formal, very... thoughtless. I've grown up in the Catholic school system, in the Catholic Church and in a Catholic home. I was even an alter server. And through all of this, I memorized the prayers, I read the scriptures, and I said the prayers... but I don't think I ever spoke with God. I don't think I was ever encouraged to try. I realize that Catholics believe in the communion of fellowship just like other Christian religions, but I haven't seen it. I know smaller communities along with other Christian religions are very into their fellowships and I want to be a part of something like that. But my belief system... it's very much Catholic.
I believe that the Virgin Mary is blessed. She carried my Lord in her womb... that is the very essence of blessed. So when I pray to her... I don't mean to worship her, instead I respect her and I want to ask her to also pray to God for my soul. I believe in saints. I don't believe in worshiping them, but I do believe that they walked through life giving themselves to the Lord and trying as hard as they might to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. I believe that that self sacrifice should be rewarded and commended. As someone who has easily turned her back on Christ, I know how hard it can be. But there are a few things that are so strongly Catholic that I disagree with too.
I don't believe that the Pope has any type of divine power for he isn't divine. God is divine, and his power is the only divine power I know of. I do believe the Pope is an instrument of power and at least within my lifetime is a man dedicated to serving the Lord the best he knows how. The best he knows isn't always the best. But the Pope is only human. I don't believe that the Bible is the give all done all of all scripture. I believe that there are more books, more accounts, and some manipulation. Even though it is believed that these scriptures were written by God through man, I've seen and felt God work through me and in moments, I'm sure I've put in my own little artistic expression. I wouldn't be surprised if these men had done the same. I do believe in the acceptance of ALL people because I believe Jesus and God truly do love all people. I believe they even love the bad and evil and it sorrows them that they haven't turned their ways. It doesn't mean that I do love and accept all people, but I do believe I should try. There is more... but really in the end I believe that Jesus loves us ALL and how can your religion... not and still say that the goal is to live lift like Christ?
Anyway... so here I am... trying to fill this spiritual void that I found I have and it's hard. It's hard because I believe I need some type of fellowship with people who are on a similar plain as me. I also think it's hard because it's something new. But mostly, I believe it's hard because I don't know where to start.
I've always prayed. I believe that prayer does help you. I think that my spirituality should be based on my personal relationship with God and those people around me. I don't know... it's a void I need to figure out how to fill.
For now I find myself reading the Bible. I little bit every day. And the New Testament for a change. I can't live and love like Jesus if I know only what I remember is from childhood religion class. So I sit, I read, I ponder, I pray and then I sleep or go about my day depending on what time it is. I hope this is a good start.
I want to stop worrying about everything little thing and entrust in God's plan for me. I want to trust that He wants what's best for me and will help me achieve those things. I want to believe that it's all in His hands. I also want to believe that I can do better.
I think the next step will be researching fellowships and retreats. Maybe I need a young women's retreat to jump start me into what I'm looking for.
Wish me luck!
God, please help me find my way.