Monday, April 28, 2008

Supplemental: God, Booze & Women

Approximately one quarter of the Catholic churches on this island I've seen, so it seems like a natural stopping point to take a brief pause for some reflection on a few of my favorite things...


I can't say much on this topic that you, if you are giving reading this blog any time at all, do not already know for yourself. Obviously, this blog experiment of mine is a search - a week by week enlightenment about the different houses of Roman Catholic worship this city offers. It's also a search for my identity which I seemed to have irresponsibly misplaced over the years, but hopefully not irreparably so - but then it's like so many blogs in this way, all of us out there in cyberdome searching. It's a journey for direction. A passage for peace. It is too, an exploration of this city which I am relatively new to, having been here for just shy of two years. I am still just a novice in a great and terrible land. My search for churches of my faith is of course my soul searching, and the searching for another soul to compliment my own. It's a scrutiny of my faith as well - my own personal internal feelings toward religion and specifically Catholicism, but an outward look at what the Catholic church is in this day and age - a dinosaur or a sanctuary? And in all this searching - for faith, for love, for awareness; for the desire of calm, and direction, and a place in this big and small world of ours; for knowledge, and sentiment and a connection of all that is my past and all that will be my future - it is truly a yearning of mine to draw closer to God - through these churches, old and beautiful as they are, through the sacraments and through this faith, born into it, having fled, and being allowed graciously to return.

Sadly, like so many of my generation, drinking is my past time. It bonds me together with people, it can set me sometimes in a certain mood that places me in the midst of people that I can share a moment with - a laugh, a confession, epiphanies. It is a wonderment and a curse that it's something I enjoy so much and that I am so damned good at.

I am having trouble letting go of my past; I have always had trouble letting go of the past. Now I must determine if it is wrong or a weakness or even some kind of sin - one that does nobody any sort of good.

I have always had trouble letting go of her...
You talk of your faith-you talk of it being too strong for me-too much-of it frightening me. It is your faith that has set me on the course that has led me here. It is that faith I saw and experienced with you that has shaped me. It is your faith that leads me from church to church around this city, exploring; that forces me to search the eyes and hearts of all I meet and encounter to see if that kind of faith resides there as it had in you. And I find it so seldom. And even sometimes I stare into the mirror and wonder if it is still there in myself.

I have trouble letting go, I dwell on the past. And it is difficult not to when I realize parts of my past have been amazing and may never come again. I do not disregard the future, or the present for that matter, I just can't always let go of where I've been, because I treasure it so badly.

I pray every day that I am doing the right thing and that God will lead me. Sometimes my worst days are my best, as I put everything in God and believe and pray that God will shield, assist, lead, provide. These are things I learned from you above all else.

I look in myself to nurture a faith as is yours. I look in all others I meet to seek your qualities. And I look to God for all other things.

Selections from a recent chapter in my catechism on what marriage should be:

a union
most sacred
most serious
established by God
a holy institution
complete and unreserved giving of self
bound together for life
hopes and disappointments
successes and failures
pleasures and pains
joys and sorrows
better or worse
richer or poorer
sickness and health
until death
solemn obligations
self sacrifice
voluntary and complete surrender
one in mind
one in heart
one in affections
pure love
true to the end

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