The past few days I’ve been trying to figure out what it is that draws me to the Catholic church. Is it the beauty found in the rituals and tradition? Is it the reverence and awe with which they treat the things of God? Is it the dedication to social justice causes?
Well, yes. All of the above.
But it’s more than that. Something I can’t quite put my finger on, and something I definitely can’t put into words.
The truly bizarre thing about this entire journey is the fact that I’m considering it despite these two major factors:
- There’s no expectation or requirement for me to do this.
- It’s not the easy thing to do.
More than one acquaintance has asked me, “But… why?” The thing they don’t understand (and to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure I understand it either) is that it’s one thing to respect, admire, and appreciate the practices of the Catholic church. It’s another thing entirely to do the research and take the tentative steps to possibly become a member of the church. There has to be a catch. There has to be a reason to go to all this trouble.
I mean, looking at it from their perspective, I totally get it. It even strikes me as bizarre sometimes. What’s the incentive?
- My faith is solid and my salvation isn’t dependent upon becoming a Catholic… so that’s not it.
- There has been zero pressure from colleagues, coworkers and administrators to become Catholic despite the fact that I teach the faith to children. (It’s not like I was given the job on the condition that I enter the church within the next five years.) So, there’s no requirement there.
- I’m not in a relationship where the deal is that I become Catholic in order to further pursue the relationship. So, there’s no expectation in that regard.
So, why bother? Why not just find a nice, Protestant church with strong Christians actively pursuing their faith? Why the Catholic church? Why the classes, the meetings, the books, the discussions, the questions? Why not just let sleeping dogs lie? It’s all good… No ONE and no THING is requiring this of me.
And I have no other answer than the fact that, “I can’t.”
I can’t just let it go and not dig deeper when I’ve seen what I’ve seen, met the people I’ve met, learned the things I’ve learned, and witnessed the things I’ve witnessed. I can’t just say, “Oh, that’s nice. I’m glad these Catholics are ‘real Christians’. Good for them. They have some pretty cool stuff going on here. I like it. Catholics are cool.”
No! I feel absolutely compelled to find out more about it. And sure, I could chalk that compulsion up to being a natural “seeker” but I’ve sought out other things before… done the research, done the digging, asked the questions… and once I’d gotten all the answers, I felt satisfied enough to go on my way, wiser and better informed.
But this time, it’s different. Even if I were to get all the questions answered, I’d still be left wanting more. Because I want to be part of this… thing. This weird “thing” that I can’t put my finger on. (And… okay…I can’t believe I’m going to say this because it feels strange and foreign… but there’s a big part of me that wants to receive the sacraments.)
I KNOW! What is that?! A year ago I didn’t even know what a sacrament was, and now I want to receive them? Good grief, ya’ll… what is happening to me?