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Speaking of Faith
It is hard for me to talk about my faith. Not because I don't want to, but because so often when I do, my family, and my friends assail me with their infectious doubts. Doubt is a poison to faith. It is a poison to the soul, but it can also be a spur to keep us from ever confusing our faith with certainty.
My mother is primary voice of doubt. She raised me to be a Baptist. When I converted to Catholicism, she lost that common frame of reference we used to share to discuss matters of faith.
I pray the rosary. She cannot understand why.
I pray to the saints. She cannot understand why.
I pray for the souls in purgatory. She cannot understand why.
My house is full of icons, statues, and books by people she never heard of before. She cannot understand why.
The reason I say she "cannot understand" instead of "does not understand" is because we are no longer speaking the same language. Joseph Campbell once compared religion to a computer's operating system. Programs written for Windows will not run in OS X. That is why she cannot understand. Her operating system is Baptist, mine is Catholic.
These problems are even further exacerbated by my discovery of Creation Spirituality. She follows a fall/redemption path.
I do not think it is my job to convert her, but she feels it is her duty to convert me.
She asks me probing questions. She cannot understand why I went through so much to become Catholic, going so far that I nearly became a priest, then monk. Now, I no longer attend a Roman Catholic Church, but I still consider my self catholic.
That is the source of my doubt. I consider myself a Seraphic Christian. I live (to the best of my ability) according to the Rule of St Francis. I recite it once a month, and draw inspiration from his writings. I live my catholic faith to the best of my ability in the Seraphic Father's path, guided by what I have learned about Creation Spirituality and through the practice of Deep Ecumenism. I feel the loss of the community. I miss the liturgy, but more than anything, I feel the loss of Holy Orders.
As a child, I wanted to be a preacher. After I converted to Catholicism, I wanted to be a priest or a monk. I pray the hours daily, and to this day, I live a very monastic life.
What do I think Holy Orders would have given me?
Authority? No, it would have given me a communion of believers who walked the same path, practiced the same rituals, and prayed the same prayers. It would have given me people to share this journey with who spoke the same language, and ran on the same operating system.
This sense of community is one of the things I miss more than anything, and it is the very thing that feeds my doubt, and makes me less likely to share my faith with others.
I have dreamed for years that I would find a community of people who believed in and practiced Creation Spirituality. Now I have found the Creation Spirituality Communities, and I hope I have found such a home.
I am going to start sharing my faith, and listening as others share theirs in hopes that I can find a community to belong to. I have read the forums for some time, and I feel like this is the time for me to open up and start participating. We are close to the start of a new year, and it is time to share with others who seek out the path Matthew Fox laid out before us. I look forward to the journey, and thank you for giving me the courage to share my voice again.