Good Lord, I hate that usage.
It’s like that “Stuff Christians Say” video: being “intentional,” stuff being “put on my heart,” being “accountable.”
Feeling “convicted.” That feeling of shame because you did something wrong in the eyes of the Church, or, more likely, in the eye’s of the Church’s members.
Because that’s what we’re actually dealing with here. The judgment of other people in the Church. Since we’ve already established, at least as far as I know, as far as I’ve been taught, that God is not a vengeful, wrathful, judgmental god, but a merciful, forgiving God. Which means while it sucks to feel like you’ve done something that might let God down, in my experience, that doesn’t feel half as bad as feeling like you did something that other people will judge or ridicule you for.
I truly believe that while God might think it swell if I attended mass or confession or adoration a little more, that He’s not particularly upset when I don’t go. It’s other Christians, other Catholics, that seem more upset by it.
and I mean, I’m guilty of it too! I get particularly vexed at those people who come to mass late, and then leave right after receiving the Eucharist. Like, those people don’t even play. They walk up there with their jackets on, purses slung across the shoulder, got their Body and Blood and are like, “peace out, guys, see ya later.” Would it really kill them to stay until the end? It’s MAYBE 10 more minutes.
But who am I to judge them for that? I mean, when I think about it, I doubt God cares. He’s probably just, “cool, good to see you guys, glad you could make it, hope that after-mass stuff goes well!” With no sarcasm.
Side note: do we think God is ever sarcastic? Because I find that to be a hilarious image of my God. I would absolutely love it. Like that paraphrase of Jesus’ words where He’s all “LOVE EVERYONE!” and we’re all “even the gays and the prostitutes and Obama?” and He’s all “did I fucking stutter?” Obviously, he didn’t say that exactly, but how awesome would that have been?
The thing is, and certainly other people can and will disagree with me, I don’t think God intends for us to feel “convicted.” I don’t think His goal is to shame us.
He’s often painted as a parental figure, right? Our Heavenly Father. I believe He just wants us to recognize when we do something wrong and make attempts to not repeat those mistakes.
I’m frustrated. I’m upset by the fact that I feel more “convicted” when I snap at someone at work, more ashamed of my lack of patience and compassion and love, than I am about the other things I do that the Church says is wrong, AND the fact that my fellow Catholics seem much more concerned with those things than they are with the things I’m actually struggling with.
I’m upset by the fact that some of the people who were excited that I chose to become Catholic are same people who are upset with me now for not being “Catholic enough.”
I don’t want to call anyone out; I think these people know who they are. and I don’t want to make THEM feel convicted! Okay, maybe I do a little. I’m a bad person like that. But since I feel called out, it only seems right to return the favor. Eye for an eye, yeah? Kidding. Again. Duh..
I just need them to understand how upsetting this is.
I had also said I was going to write a post about why I chose to become Catholic if I disagree with so many things in the Church. and then I realized, I don’t need to do that. Because I already have. This post and this post pretty much sum it up when read together. The first is a post I wrote when I was going through RCIA, citing the reasons I was drawn to Catholicism. The second is my more recent post about how I don’t agree with 100% of the things any Church teaches.
In short, becoming Catholic is what made the most sense for me personally at the time. I really shouldn’t need to defend it if you ask me, but apparently there are those who feel otherwise. Some people may not like it, but it’s totally within my right to pursue my faith in the best way that I see fit.
If I decide tomorrow that I feel called to the Jewish faith, I can pursue the means to become Jewish. and if a year later I feel like it’s not a good fit anymore and I want to go back to Catholic Church, or the Lutheran Church, I can do that too. And while maybe it’s your right to judge me for it, I’m pretty sure it’s more of a sin for you to judge me than it is for me to pursue my own faith.
Because I feel called to the defensive, I will actually add a little to that old post of mine about becoming Catholic. One thing I loved at the time was that being welcomed into the Catholic Church gave me a sense of community, a sense that is sadly fading as I continue feeling attacked. Fortunately, I do have some other Catholic friends who a) accept my non-traditional Catholic views and/or b) hold similar views, so I’m able to find community there. Thankfully.
It may also seem that my love of the use of both Scripture and Tradition simultaneously would go against my whole not agreeing with 100% of the doctrine. I disagree. My point there is that even traditions evolve. The Catholic Church has made some big changes in the past, and I believe they’re not even close to finished even if nothing is changed soon. I just believe that, oddly enough, the Catholic Church, in some ways, is more open to change than some Protestant Churches, because they’re not teaching “sola scriptura.”
It was fun also to revisit this post and realize that I’m still struggling the with three things I listed at the bottom. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever come around on the Mary deal. But I’m working through my understanding of Purgatory, and I think at some point Confession, as a sacrament, may very well become a reality for me.
But those are things I can and will address in my own time. Not because a fellow Catholic thinks I’m wrong. Just like fellow Catholics who are anti-contraception aren’t going to dwell on and change their thinking just because I call them out on it. That works both ways, you guys.
And yet again, my intention is not to offend or attack or persuade. Though Lord knows I’m not always great at expressing myself, so I’m sure it comes across as otherwise. If anything, I would simply want to make others think, as I am constantly doing. Constantly thinking and changing my mind and evolving and growing.
and if you can’t handle that, well, I’ll just reiterate from Cherry-picker post, that it is my faith. MY faith. MY spiritual journey. I may ask for help sometimes, but ultimately it’s my thing. So you know.
On a happier note, who’s excited that Lent and Easter are coming soon? Huzzah!