I feel like all of these strings on me are trying to pull me into three different churches all at once and it is confusing me. I feel like I am right back where I started when I first started my search for God which was about this time last year. Did I want to be Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, or Anglican? But it was different back then as opposed to now. Back then, I only wanted them because I thought my parents were pushing me toward those intellectual traditions. They were having these weekly meetings with their friends about what Christianity is and how it should be in order to better appeal to future generations. Moving away from Biblicism–or so I thought.
I made the mistake of thinking my “conversion” to Catholicism was about them in order to show them that a) school really doesn’t take “faith” away or tell you “there is no god” and that b) I wasn’t a Biblicist. But, as it turned out, it really didn’t work out to do this in order to please my parents. My mom kept telling me not to make it a religion, keep it an individual search, and don’t be too ritualistic. My dad kept questioning me about the rituals with various questions I really didn’t know enough the answer to. Either way, I ended up with the impression that they wanted my faith to be my own and so the next mistake I made was that of trying.
I actually was trying to make an intellectual assent at the time but my conversations with my counselor about my own conversion experiences really helped to enlighten me that I really wasn’t “certain” of a lot of major Catholic doctrines. Specifically, the immaculate conception is one that I question and still do right now. Especially as I pray the rosary each day, I wonder how the Ever-Virgin could have possibly not once, considered sinning. Sometimes, I wonder as to whether certain, important Catholic doctrines aren’t actually established by advocating half-truths and lies. Such as how the earliest church was all “Catholic” which is hardly true at all. There were quite a bit of divisions in it and appealing to “tradition” to prove the Trinity requires first embracing the vast diversity of views in the early church.
But that’s just it. I’m not looking for my own intellectual “ego-boost” any more. Before, I might have been and have been wanting to even defend, point for point, every reason to my parents, the reason why I was a Catholic had nothing to do with my own “ritualism” but because I had, on my own, found God there–through my own studying I had finally “found” God there. But the more I looked at this situation, the more I realised that this was simply not why I wanted to be a Catholic. These were very bad reasons for becoming a Catholic. I had to re-examine and open myself to the possibility that while other traditions had strengths and weaknesses, Catholicism had an equal amount.
And so, I’m stuck in a dilemma–trilemma actually. Through your prayers, and the prayers of my own parish priest (at least it’s according to Auntie that this has been prayed for), I have been called into three different traditions all at once. Catholicism, High Anglicanism, and Eastern Orthodoxy. I feel being tugged into Catholicism (specifically the Greek Catholic faith) mostly due to a conversation I’ve been in with a parishioner who sends out the weekly bulletins (it’s strange and I’ll get back to that later). But I don’t know if that’s where God wants me since last week, my soul felt bound to Walsingham via the candles Auntie lit for me there. And it feels like some of you who support me want me to give Eastern Orthodoxy a try as well. But I don’t know about what church it is I want and I want to stop making intellectual decisions at this point and just embrace what I’ve been longing for–a surrender to God in the sacramental life prepared for me in each of these traditions.
For now though, I have thought about and reflected on what would be easier for myself at this given point in time which is to re-attend the Sunday divine liturgies at the Greek Catholic parish I was going to before all this calamity fell upon my life just recently. The parishioner who sends the bulletins and I started up a conversation on Friday. She had been sending these bulletins starting Pascha expressing as to how baptism is a death and resurrection which simply just added to my distress–am I not raised from the dead? And so on Friday, I read the bulletin about Pentecost and I just couldn’t take it any more and so I asked as to why I keep receiving these bulletins that remind me of something I don’t have at all. In our conversation, she was asking me if I was willing to explain why–because it requires great faith that God loves you, is light in the midst of heavy darkness, and I’m not really certain if that stuff is true. I wish it was true though. I hope it is true. She had told me it was good news that I could be this self-reflective and that it was equally good news that God is not how I would describe him and asked if I had talked to our priest about my worries. Her reflection though on the entire conversation was that “there is a reason, a something that caused you to you to throw that email question out to me”.
My search is no longer intellectual. If anything, it is a cry for help and a desire for the sacramental lifestyle. I needed that conversation I had with this parishioner–I hadn’t talked with her in a long while. I needed to just be told that I should start a conversation with my parish priest. I don’t know where God wants me to be or where he’ll have me in the future. Will he have me where I’m bound or not? Or perhaps I’m destined by him to “hop” to the places where I need to “hop”. If an unsettled faith is what he wants me to have though, then an unsettled faith is what he wants me to have. It’s confusing for me, I know, but I know that wherever I go, I need to have that support and I continue to ask for that support from you guys who pray your simple prayers for me.
As one person gave me great encouragement the other day would say: “It is easy to get lost in the dark and lose faith in the light but one can’t exist without the other and light, however small, looks so beautiful and powerful in the dark so long as you are not too tired to keep your eyes open.” And so I guess this doomed wanderer who is calling out for help shall continue to trust in the prayers he keeps receiving. If my parish priest is willing to help, and I’m certain that he will be for the meantime, then I suppose that’s my calling. If not, I’ll just go where God seems to want me to go because that’s all I can do. I’m done with trying to do things on my own.