Last month, I attended Mass at the border; I was part of a community of believers uniting around bread and wine miraculously made into flesh and blood.
I was on the Mexican side, sitting on a concrete street curb next to another Catholic sister. Together we were a color pop in the assembly: we stuck out in our bright turquoise T-shirts declaring “Catholic Sisters for Compassionate Immigration Reform.” Nearby sat our friend, Br. David, a Franciscan Capuchin, bearing witness in his dusty brown habit. Guests to this area, this Mass we were attending coincided with the events of the School of Americas Watch Border Convergence throughout the entire weekend.
We were among a crowd of a couple hundred other folks. Some sat upon haphazard rows of folding chairs, others leaned against fences and buildings, many stood. We were gathered on a crumbling, uneven street formed from a mishmash of concrete, asphalt and sandy earth. In front of us was…
[This is the beginning of an essay I wrote for Sick Pilgrimat Patheos. Continue reading here.]
According to many who were present on Saturday, it was obvious I was boldly burning with a fire of love for Jesus; my family; my friends; my FSPA sisters; my Rabble Rousers; and my partners in a life of Messy Jesus Business, including all of you!
May God bless us–we are all in this Messy Jesus Business as we set the world on fire with Gospel love! Amen!
Much like a food allergy, I’ve found that something just isn’t sitting right with me and the Church. My experiences in spirituality, what I find inspiring and comforting, just don’t make sense with Mass anymore.
Imagine writing that on a religious blog. Eesh.
So what do you do with a troubling spirit or food allergy? You find the source! You put it all to the side and slowly, ever so slowly, you sip each aspect. Let it sit and ruminate in you. See how you react—see if your soul sings! Or flops.
My process is both arduous and lazy. I’m finding I lack discipline when I don’t fear the wrath of God so much. But I am approaching my delicate questions with sincerity and a quiet determination to resolve them.
Do I know Jesus as a person? And Mary? The Bible tells me certain things, but what were they really like? Ohhh, I love Catholicism and its myriad of prayer styles. This will help me.
Are you still Catholic? Yes. I may not be making sense of my devotion at the moment, but I am aware of other religions and can at this point absolutely say “Yes.” I am trying to be Catholic.
What do you miss of Mass? The community, the ritual, and perhaps the discipline (although I’m not a fan of being judged for not partaking in certain disciplines). This all or nothing approach really wounds people.
Why are my most spiritual experiences considered sins? Ah yes, there it is. There’s the allergy—my Church wound. I haven’t balanced this one out yet. Still working on it. It’s probably the hardest to reconcile.
This is a long, long process. But honestly, it feels right. I can’t explain it. I get little nudges every now and then to continue on it, so I am, and it’s healing. I’m healing my Church wound. This is hard for me to write about, so I hope it’s received in understanding. But I happen to think that with so many people my age choosing to not tie down to a religion … this might mean something. So, I thought I would share.
Emily Crook, a good friend of Sister Julia’s, says “the only appropriate place to put this mess is Messy Jesus Business! It’s not possible to contain all the holiness that goes on in this place, but with this blog, it’s at least easy to read and enjoyable to view. We hope you like it!