Exploring my Catholic roots

My spiritual journey has been an interesting one. I won’t go into the long winding road except to say that it started when I was seven has led to many roads, sometimes meeting and crossing other roads which led back to previous roads.  I’m not sure how it started exactly except that it may have been when I bought someone a book on the Eucharist by one of my favorite authors, Fr. Ronald Rolheiser.  This led to a series of internal questions.  As I’ve mentioned on my Facebook page, Lonnie and I have been looking for a spiritual home.  This hasn’t really gone anywhere for a number of reasons.  I really was the one leading the charge.  I’ve felt disconnected spiritually from a group and from any sort of spiritual practice.  When I was younger I was much more active in the Catholic Church and one of the things for any practicing Catholic is the centrality of the Eucharist.  Catholics believe that when the priest recites the prayers at Mass that the host and wine BECOME the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ under the appearance of host and wine.  This is a hard belief for some, especially non-Catholics as well as I imagine some Catholics who prefer to think of it all as a just a symbol or metaphor.  So all of this lead for me to exploring this Sacrament more deeply. There are several recorded miracles wherein the host has become actual incorruptible living flesh, in at least one case several hundreds of years old.  When the Church allowed for testing in all instances the host/flesh turns out to be from a human heart from a middle eastern man with a blood type of AB positive.  What’s intrigued me is that these miracles aren’t all old. They’ve continued to occur even into this century.  another interesting thing is that the blood stains from the Shroud of Turin when tested also is type AB positive and from a man from the middle east.  I cannot explain these things and perhaps there is a simple explanation.  It got me to thinking and remembering my experience of being Catholic and how much I enjoyed going to Mass.  The organized ritual feeds me as does all of the symbolism.  the Catholic church is not as far from what modern day Wiccans/pagans practice.  the language is of course different and the theology as well but Most Wiccans would I think appreciate the use of symbols and ritual in your ordinary Sunday Mass. So with all this being said.  I’ve started going to daily mass in the mornings after Lonnie leaves for work.  I find it deeply satisfying and nourishing to my spiritual life.  Now as a proud gay married man you might think this would be the last place I would want to be.  You would be wrong.  I’ve never had a problem with Who God created in me.  I recognize that I am exactly made in His image as anyone in the pew next to me.  The Church, at least in theory doesn’t have any problem with me being born gay.  The Church does have a problem with any sexual expression outside of marriage and of course the Church doesn’t recognize civil marriages and hasn’t Blessed same sex relationships (since the early middle ages when it did).  Further as a married man doing what married people do in the privacy of their home I would not be allowed to receive communion IF I believed I were in a state of mortal sin, which I would require me (by canon law) to “know that something I’m doing is wrong and purposefully do it anyway”.  I have never believed my being gay is wrong. I believe gay people have always been a deeply prophetic voice in this world.  I don’t believe my marriage is wrong, in fact quite the opposite.  I know my marriage to Lonnie has made us both better, loving, kind and thoughtful people BECAUSE God is Love and our Marriage is based in Love.  At first I didn’t receive communion because I didn’t want to be disrespectful but then late last week, I think it was Friday as I’ve meditated on the meaning of  the Eucharist celebration any reservation I might have had was washed away. It was a deep internal conversation and at the end I knew that there was no reason at all to refrain.  I have received Communion everyday since.  There is more that can be said I will share more of  the place I find myself now. I share my experience because I do believe that by sharing my experience it might help someone who feels just a little isolated and alone in their experience.  Further I can’t help to hear the words of a really wonderful Catholic friend of mine who I use to work with in Seattle. There was a whole group of us, the girls and me.  We’d go to Ivars after work sometimes for drinks and nibbles.  One day she asked me why I didn’t go to Mass anymore and I told her it was because of the way the Catholic Church IS with gay people.  Her response is what’s stuck with me all these years.  “Be the Change you want to see in the Church”.  So I want to thank Trishy for her wise words and her many years of friendship.  I think she’d be happy with the road I’m on now.

Advertisements