I’ve spent my Sunday afternoon curled up in a recliner, wrapped in a blanket.  I’m house sitting for much of this month, and am thankful for a day with almost nothing scheduled, a day when I can drift and try to rest.

And that’s what I’ve done today – drifted and rested.  I’ve folded laundry, and worked on a crochet project – a gift for a dear friend scheduled to deliver a baby anytime now.  I’ve caught up on some of the television shows I enjoy, and tried to mostly eat healthy foods (while enjoying a bit of chocolate, because life is always better with chocolate.)

It seems necessary these days – to devote whole days to a seemingly purposeless lack of moment.  I’m achingly weary, and it doesn’t seem likely that that weariness will dissipate in any sort of hurried manner.

Life is complex now.  This journey towards Catholicism is a big part of that.  It feels a bit at a standstill.  I had another (rather awful this time) meeting with a priest at the parish I’ve been attending.  The meeting was a few weeks ago now, but it has ushered in more turmoil and pain than I could have ever imagined would be possible. The meeting was to discuss the issue of the validity of my baptism, and that subject has only grown more complicated since the day the meeting occurred.

As far as baptism goes, things are at a bit of a standstill, and I have no idea how I can move forward. The priest I met with is insisting that I need to provide a document from the church I grew up, stating in writing in some form that I was baptized in a trinitarian formula. My dad (the pastor of the church I grew up in) is equally insistent that he (and by extension my brother, his associate pastor) will NOT be providing that information in written form. So at the moment I’m feeling a bit trapped between a rock and a hard place – one side is unbending in their nods to bureaucracy, the other in their sense of personal offence. It’s a mess.  Ironically – no one is denying the validity of the baptism itself, they’re simply demanding (or conversely refusing to provide) written proof.

The sum total of all this is that I’m feeling weary.  I’m juggling the tenuous relationships with my family, some ongoing heavy challenges of my living situation, and all of my own thoughts and emotions.  I’m at turns angry, heartbroken, and just plain old exhausted.  I feel as if all life and joy has been sucked into a vacuum from which I can’t quite recover it – one in which I can only long for it, and resent that it is absent from this place in which I currently exist.

The tumult of being caught between the structure of the Catholic church and the less structured church I grew up in has had the effect of deeply undermining the confidence and peace in this journey that it took so very long to achieve.

I’m weary, and confused, and the silence in this space these last weeks reflects that.  I haven’t had the energy to engage my own feelings and thoughts, even in writing.  It’s taken everything I’ve had to get out of bed each morning, put my best face forward at the newest clinical placement I’m working in, and then make it home to a place where I can simply turn off my brain and drown my exhaustion with just a bit of brainless television entertainment.

It seems right, somehow, though, to chronicle even this aching weariness, and so today I’m writing about it just a little, and hoping that if you read this you’ll say a little prayer that I would have wisdom and strength to keep journeying.

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4 Responses to Weary

  1. Don’t panic. You can move forward. There is such a thing as a conditional baptism — “If you are not validly baptized, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” if push comes to shove, that’s what they can do, no sweat. What diocese are you in? You can talk to your priest about it, of if need be, talk to your bishop.

    Alternately, a written affidavit from anybody who was present at your baptism ought to be enough to verify it.

    This is not the end of the road, but just the beginning. 🙂

    • Lisa says:

      I’m in a Canadian diocese, and after conversations with the priest, who has supposedly been communicating with the diocesan office/bishop, they’re insisting at the moment on a document from the church itself stating the trinitarian formula was used. This is the problem, since I come from a small non-denominational church and the pastors (my dad and brother) are refusing to put it in writing.

      I wish they would allow the affidavit from someone who attended. I wouldn’t have a problem getting that. :-/

      • I checked in the Code of Canon Law, and it does say that “those baptized in a non-Catholic ecclesial community must not be baptized conditionally unless, after an examination of the matter and the form of the words used in the conferral of baptism and a consideration of the intention of the baptized adult and the minister of the baptism, a serious reason exists to doubt the validity of the baptism” (CIC 869, §2). So it is probably a good thing, though it may not seem it, that they are holding out for proof: because they don’t see a “serious reason to doubt the validity” of your baptism. If there were serious reason to doubt, they could baptize you conditionally, but they would rather take your word for it. I would definitely bring it up with your priest or bishop that you could easily get testimony from others that you were validly baptized — maybe one or two or even three people? If all else fails, write the pope. He might even give you a call. 😉

        Don’t despair. God is with you on this. He brought you this far, and He will not let the road end now. And the Church is not going to let a worthy daughter be stopped at the door by sore Protestants! I will be praying for you.

  2. Lisa says:

    I appreciate the prayers for sure. I’ll try again with the priest and diocese, but at the moment the attitude they’ve presented me with has been less than amenable. It’s definitely been discouraging, especially since the opposition is coming from both the catholic church and my very protestant family.

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