Last Sunday the twins were going to give a presentation to the church young adult group and I was like, “Why don’t you say these things and in this order?” and Christine was like, “Do you just want to give the presentation?” so, I did.
The month of November is set aside for Papist-folk to remember our dead, the faithful who have proceeded us and paved our way. So that’s how I structured my talk. It was a talk about the dead.
Did you ever have a moment where you’re like, “La la la, just functioning within the norms and culture where I’m familiar and everyone understands my words and where I’m coming from” but, then, in a moment of graced clarity you realize that you’re saying things that other people don’t understand/ agree with? Welcome to my last-Sunday night.
I opened with one of my favorite prayers–invoking the prayers of the Blessed Mother. And then I talked about the Saints-in-heaven: the canonization process and how they intercede on our behalf. And then I talked about purgatory, outlining teaching with quotes and Bible verses and illustrative explanation.
If you’re Catholic and reading this you’re thinking, “Right on.” And, I was with you for most of the talk. I was in my presentation-groove: talking about things that are important to me and using my obscure-Catholic-humor jokes.
And then the door at the back of the room opened. And one of my good friends walked in. A Protestant friend. And, not just a friend who is kind-of my friend, he’s a good friend, a close one, one who listens to all of my things on word-vom days, and inexplicably always seems to be around after the worst dates and he teases me about them until I laugh, and the one who came to the zoo with Josh and I and was like, “Wait, let’s stay at this exhibit a little longer…because the animals are so cool.”
And when I saw him I was thought, “Wow. Let’s reflect upon my subject matter: Mary, Saints, Purgatory and (for good measure!) I’m even mentioning indulgences.” It’s like I was asking for a list to be nailed to the church door tomorrow morning (I told you the only brand of humor I have is obscure-Catholic-humor!). Then my eyes wandered and I remembered the other friends who my sibs brought who aren’t a part of a faith experience, either and I was like, “Geez. I hope I’m doing this well.”
Not that I don’t believe in these things, mind you. Purgatory? Yes. Saints? Of course. Indulgences? I hope to complete one this weekend. (Gasp!!!!!)
But, in love and honesty: there’s always a fine line to walk with these non-Catholic people who I love. I’m reminded of, last summer, when I went out to visit an extended family who I really, really love and care for and they mentioned their church and I was like, “What have you been studying at your church lately?” and suddenly, they transitioned to walking on eggshells while talking about their church until I just wanted to gently hold their faces and say, “I understand that you hold different traditions than I do, it doesn’t bother me. You can just tell me about how Jesus is working in your life. Honestly. I don’t mind.” Add to that that Catholicism traditionally has this weird hocus-pocus stigma attached by Protestant faith traditions (count the subtle references, A-Fanks) and this is where I stand when I say things in real-life or blog-life like, “Here’s a quote on purgatory I find inspiring” or “This latest letter by the Pope, though!!” or “Let me talk to you about my Marian devotion.”
I stand in the same place I stood on Sunday, when one of my closest friends walked in to the back door of the conference center of the church. I’m talking about the things I love, and I love them and want to share this love with other people, but I’m not trying to make things more confusing, either. I’m not trying to start arguments. I’m just trying to live and love and learn–and this is the way I know how. This is the way that shows me Jesus non-frikkin-stop.
So, yeah. This is kind of a pointless post, because there’s no “ah HA!” or any kind of closure. It’s just me, walking my Camino and doing my best. And posting Catholic-stuff on a blog. And remembering that people of all faith persuasions read.
To them: holler. I salute you. I just type what I know. And it’s good that you’re along.
I am Nell.