There’s a lot for a moderate, mostly lapsed Catholic woman like me to comment on this week.
Pope resigning. (Hooray! I never saw him as the kind of spiritual leader who could help me answer the persistent questions and concerns I have about faith in general, and the church in particular. As far as I’m concerned, Sister Simone Campbell is my Pope.) Ash Wednesday. Lent.
While I don’t attend Mass regularly, I have developed kind of a weird habit of praying the Rosary while running. The repetition of both exercise hypnotizes me in a comforting way.
I live in “sin” with my boyfriend and I don’t think that’s wrong. I use birth control, and think more people should – and should get it for free. I believe, without judgement, that love is love and the heart wants what it wants – no matter what or who that leads a person to. (And no God that I know “hates” anyone.)
Yet, I still believe in the promise of the church and the teachings of acceptance and charity taught in the new testament. Because I believe in those things, this is one of my favorite times of year. It helps me understand what I find to be the most beautiful line of scripture:
A light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Truth be told, I attend Mass every Christmas Eve just to hear Father Harry (possibly the world’s most wonderful priest) say it. There are so many dark days in life, and whether you believe in God, or Goddess, or science, or nothing at all, it’s nice to understand that darkness – in whatever form you confront it – may be defeated.
So, I like Lent because it’s an opportunity to build on that thought, to contemplate our mortality — our internal darkness — and to make a small sacrifice to try to be better, to not be overcome by it.
This year I’m giving up my biggest vice – dairy. So, back to the “vegan kickstart” only this time it’s 43 days, not 21. Wish me luck, and whether you believe in some of the same things as me, or now think I’m just a zombie-Jesus believing nut job – I wish YOU luck with whatever struggles you’re up against.
Enjoy them, fight through them, learn from them.
The struggle, just before finding a light, is the best part of being human.