Lessons I’m Learning

I’m still waiting on the baptism issue to be resolved. This time we’re trying having witness statements as the written proof of a trinitarian formula.  I’m pretty sure this is the last ditch chance.  I have some big decisions to face if this one doesn’t work.  And, to be honest, I’m not exactly holding my breath.  I’d like very much for it to work, but after the many, many painful bumps in this particular step, I’m pretty much afraid to hope.  I kind of hate that, but it’s the place I’m existing right now.

In the meantime, as I walked home from my polling station (municipal election day) after work today, I found myself thinking about some of the things I’m learning about myself, and about my faith in the midst of this incredibly tumultuous journey.

A big one is humility. I’m finding that it’s taking an incredible amount of humility and willingness to submit myself to God and to authority to walk out this journey.  It’s not easy for me to leave a community where I’m known, and a leader, and find myself in a new community where I’m unknown, and without a role.  It’s not easy for me to be okay with starting over at the beginning.  I’m attached, a bit, to that idea of leadership, and more than that, to the idea of being the one with some of the answers.  To being the intelligent one in the room.  (To be fair, my intelligence hasn’t suffered from this journey, it’s just become a bit more of a hidden quantity.)

I’ve spent my whole life in church, immersed in scripture and theology. I hold a bachelor’s degree in European religious history, focusing on the Reformation period.  I’ve read through the entirety of (Protestant) scripture probably a dozen times. I’ve also spent the last year reading and researching Catholicism in a great deal of depth.  It’s weird for me to sit as the pupil in an RCIA group.  It’s weirder still when I realize that because of my background, I can answer many of the questions asked, and could probably give quite a number of the talks we’ve had thus far. So that’s a point of humility – a stretching point for me – to submit myself and find my heart where it is in a place that it can receive, rather than focusing on the bits I “already know”.

And there’s this, too: I had a particularly unfortunate meeting with the senior priest at the parish I’ve been attending. A meeting that created a great deal of difficulty in respecting, and in seeing this man as a pastoral leader with authority.  So that’s a growth edge too – to be willing to accept his authority because of where it stems from, irregardless of personality, and my own feelings. And it’s a big edge to conquer, coming from a background in church that expects very different things from it’s pastoral figures. It’s hard to sit and listen to homilies every Sunday, with ears that are willing to hear, when my mind is racing with accusations and frustrations.  It’s a big ugly challenge – one in which I continually hear the voice of Christ calling me to humility and submission (neither of which I’m particularly good at doing quickly – I tend to be the Jacob wrestling with God demanding a blessing before submitting character… it’s a flaw I’m working on)

And finally, this journey this last little while has been teaching me new things about spiritual realities and spiritual warfare.  This is a part of my journey that I don’t talk a lot about it in public forums because it’s just a bit too “out there” for most written forms (or really for most conversational forms either!). That said, this month I’ve learned again about facing and combatting intense spiritual attack, and about ways of responding to the many spiritual realities that I have for some reason been given the gift of being sensitive too.  And I think it’s important to say that here, in this place where I’m chronicling this journey with Catholicism.  It’s important to say that this journey is something that has stirred opposition – not just in the physical world, but in the spiritual as well.  And as I’ve learned and re-learned ways to combat that, and to manage my own responses and sensitivities to it, I’ve also found some sort of peace in it.  There is something in facing such fierce opposition that convinces me that this is the journey that is right for me at this time, no matter where it ends up.  And that, at least, is just a bit hopeful.

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7 Responses to Lessons I’m Learning

  1. You may be seeing something that I’m not seeing, but I seriously doubt that Holy Mother Church is going to abandon you on her very threshold. These are some serious bumps, but there is a way through them.

    I have (nearly completed) a master’s degree in history, more than half my bachelor’s having been in medieval European history. So I was very much feeling some of the same things you’re feeling when I was in RCIA. Humility has definitely been one of the major lessons God has been teaching me, too.

    God bless you and may His peace be with you. I am continuing to pray for you.

    • Lisa says:

      I think what I’m seeing that you’re not is the responses I’ve been getting and the less than enthused responses to this journey even from within the Church. What you’re also not seeing is this – the more I’ve prayed about it, the more convicted I am that I cannot go forward with a rebaptism should my existing baptism not be accepted. And since the Catholic church here won’t really allow me to be involved in ministry etc. unless I’m Catholic, and I feel that that and the ability to participate in communion in some form, is very important to my life as a Christian, I will likely leave the Church if my baptism isn’t accepted as valid.

      • You’ve found your way to the fullness of truth. To walk away now would be a terrible shame, and to now accept something less than the truth would be an even greater tragedy. Again, I do not think Holy Mother Church will abandon you on her doorstep. I hope and pray that the validity of your baptism will be accepted here. But even if it isn’t, there are other paths. Remember the persistent widow. There is absolutely no shame in a conditional baptism: you know that you are right with God. Even beyond that, I would try another diocese before I would give up on the Church. From what you are telling me, I don’t have a very high opinion of the officials in yours — especially if they are “less than enthused” about your journey. You are the lost lamb, and I know my bishop would do everything in his power, bending over backwards if need to, to run and embrace you. Any bishop with the heart of Christ would. Have you tried dealing directly with the diocese yourself? Are you sure that this is not strictly a problem on the parochial level? This should not be the crisis that your parish or diocese is making it. Many, many converts to the Church have been faced with similar resistance from Protestant family members and pastors, and the Church should be reaching out to aid you and comfort you, not fight you as it sounds they are doing to you.

  2. Praying for you as you go in obedience and also for this baptism deal to be solved, praying for truth as it was a trinitarian baptism. Lisa I am praying fervently for you as you also challenge me. I am holding to Christ as I go through a bunch of bumps in my journey. Blessings friend.

    • Lisa says:

      Thanks friend. Let me know (facebook message me if you want) if there are things I can be praying for specifically with your own bumps in the journey. Blessings to you.

  3. Relax says:

    I conferred a conditional baptism on my grandson one night. Since it didn’t suit our Deacon’s liking, he agreed to baptize grandson fully (as did grandson’s mom, of course). I agreed to his agreeing! Sometimes, though, we run into a tough priest or cleric. In that event, it is time to seek another parish for a sacrament we can’t or won’t live without, or to wait for the priest’s transfer. Those happen in what used to be 5 years (here in America), but with a shortage of vocations, it might take 12. Sometimes life is very VERY different,right around the corner! I’ll be praying for you.

  4. Pingback: On opposition, journeying, and pushing through | For a Land I Will Show You

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