Many people know that the last 10 years of my life haven’t been without trials. Needless to say, it certainly has spiked and plummeted my faith. I have in the past 4 years, gone through 2 major life changes.
All the while… I kept looking for Him – Sometimes to find someone to just hold me, others… so I could give him a piece of my mind. I have been at times angry…desperate, and indifferent…often all the same time.
There was even a period where I wondered into the Orthodox Church. See, Im very much a structure person. When I get scared, I default to “procedure”. Procedure is safe.. its predictable… But Procedure doesn’t work with faith. Faith is unpredictable. Faith ISNT safe, at all. It can be down right terrifying for a person like me.. the simple fact that I DON’T have all the answers.
I often think that’s why many people go here… or go there. We have thousands of denominations, and every last one of them goes back to someone who thought he had the right answer.
Often we aren’t looking for the answers we seek.. we are looking for the confirmation of the answers we tell ourselves. So, we go where the answer makes the “most sense”…rather then where the answer is most accurate – then we claim we have found our home. Why not? Here is where it makes sense. Here is where it becomes easy. Here is where its “safe”.
I’ve always found eastern thought fascinating. It is on surface, less rigid then Western so called “legalism”. But scratch the surface, and there are incredible insecurities. Rigidness that is designed to desperately confirm ones place rather then necessarily allow the vulnerability that leads to the Dark Night of the soul… that point where all seems dark, and bleak..except He who comes.
Today, mass was at St Barnabas. It was in the Novus ordo, or “New Order” of mass (as are many Roman Catholic Parishes these days), but with an out of the “Ordinary” kick, it was Celebrated Ad Orientem – Facing east.. Which.. with the orientation of Churches.. is designed to also Face us “Ad Deum” or “Towards God”.
The ancient tradition of building churches, positioned them this way, to remind us that Christ, is the Rising of the Sun on the New Day, and also calls to mind the Ressurection, the Dawn of the new day. Over the years, both Eastern and Western Churches would build towards this direction – How We pray, is how we believe after all. This causes one perfect thing – We are ALL worshiping together in unison at that point, and being lead by the Priest..the presider of the liturgy, who offers sacrifice.. The Lamb, on ours and his behalf.
I have never lost faith. I can honestly say this. But I will honestly equate myself to Peter. When Peter denied Jesus… he hadnt lost faith.. BUT he had lied to himself as to what that faith was… and who it was in . Likewise.. Often and lately my faith has been lukewarm. Often..my own inequities.,..and my own failings.. have forced me back into a Dark night of the soul.. where the only thing causing me to hang on to my God…was that small light.
Our church has its issues right now, and it can be very easy to Fight or Flight. Many sadly, have a flight mentality. Yet, there is also a solid group of “fighters” who want their answer, to be the right answer. IN reality… the true answer is with Peace and acceptance, acceptance of where you are, and WHOSE presence you are in.
Years ago… I was in a similar “flight”. I had delved into Gnostic writings.,.. under the misguided belief that I WOULD FIND THE ANSWER.. Because I “Was smart” I told myself.. In my arrogance, I believed that I would find the answers others couldn’t. I was wrong… and it stared me in the face. This Mosaic Above…
“This is my Beloved Son, in Him I am well pleased”
The words we here are from the Father. We hear them twice in Holy Scripture – Both at the Baptism of the Lord by his cousin John, and the Transfiguration on mount tabor. IN both instances… people were thinking they had the answers already. Some Thought John was the messiah. In the case of the transfiguration, the Apostles thought they knew Jesus’s mission.
In Both cases…God set everyone straight. This wasnt a warrior.. this wasnt a king in the earthly sense. This WAS IS and ALWAYS will be the Son of God.
At Holy Mass… we hear the words “Behold the Lamb of God”.. each and every time the sacrifice is offered. These are also the words of John the Baptist in Today’s reading… as he tells Andrew and others to follow a new teacher… “Behold him who takes away the sins of the world”.
Ironically, father’s Homily was about people who go all over searching.. trying to find the answers.. and its always staring them right in the face. Behold the Lamb of God – THIS IS MY SON. The words coursed through my body like a tidal wave.
It doesnt matter that I am scared.. or confused. There are constants. JESUS is always in the Eucharist.. and he is always in the Tabernacle.. waiting for me. The Lamb of God.. isnt bound or affected by the confusion of the world right now, Let alone my own insecurities.
That in itself.. is a beautiful process and procedure. Jesus is always there..and there is true safety in that.. and true consistency. I was humbled.. I was moved… and I was confirmed..not because I was certain..but because He is certain. Jesus Christ, Yesterday, Today, and Forever.