Friday, June 6, 2008

My Embrace of The Catholic Faith (Part One)

I grew up in a family who had faith in God. My family considers themselves Catholic. We rarely ever went to church, but my parents did allow me to receive my first sacraments, Baptism, Reconciliation, and First Holy Communion. I was read Bible stories and was told that God loved me. My parents sent me to a Catholic school until the 5th grade, which is pretty much where living and learning about Catholicism stopped. Not that my parents did not like Catholicism, it was just not part of their lifestyle.

During Jr. High and High School, I strayed far away from any type of religion. I felt very lonely and depressed at that time of my life. I always felt as if something was missing. I can remember a friend giving me a huge framed poster of Christ on the Crucifix. I hung it over my bed. Every night while I was crying or feeling sorry for myself, I would pray and ask Gods forgiveness. Promising not to do the wrong I had done again. This was a nightly ritual so obviously I did not keep my promise to God.

A few years after high school, I met my husband. Something about him made it very clear to me that this was the man I would spend the rest of my life with. At the time I would call it fate, or my brain being high on the chemicals related to the feelings of love. I know now that I was being called to my vocation, and like it or not my husband was being called to his.

My husband grew up the same way I did concerning faith. His grandmother is a devout Catholic, and he spent a lot of time with her, so his Catholic faith was a little more fine

We dated for four months until he proposed. Some people thought it was quick, but when God is pulling you in a direction there really is no time limit. We stayed engaged for a year and a half. This was my mother’s request. She wanted time to plan her only daughters wedding. Got to love Mom’s too.

Our wedding day approached, and we were deciding on what sort of mass we were going to have. Should we have the full-blown Catholic Mass, or the short version minus Communion? I wanted the short version, not because I did not care, but because I felt I was not worthy to have Jesus present at the wedding. It sounds crazy when I think back on it, but that is how I felt.

Lets bring Nani back in on this. (Nani being my husbands devout Catholic Grandma) My husband told me his Nani would be devastated if we did not celebrate Communion at our wedding. I agreed (thank goodness)

And we had the full-blown Catholic ceremony. Now that I think about it, it is funny how a little Nani can bring such a powerful message of God. If it was not for her and her devastation, I might look back on my wedding with regret that I did not have Jesus there in the Eucharist. Thank you Nani.

Now I believe when God is calling you to do something, it can be very clear sometimes. I knew that I wanted to be a mother more than anything. My husband felt the same way about being a father. We had no reasons why we should not get to the baby making right away. After 7 months of being married we conceived Miss.

We were about to have a baby and move into our new house. It was an exciting and stressful time. I was a bit depressed and still had the old feeling of something is missing. Big D and I were extremely in love and happy, but it was as if we could not communicate it properly. We did not know the deeper meaning of marriage.

We struggled with this for some time. We were also very young. This was my first time living on my own, and I would soon have another life to be responsible for. This new child of ours would be the first baby I would have close contact with. I was a whirlwind of emotion. I had no idea how to be a wife or mother. I wondered if this was the right path for me. I felt I had no one to turn to with these emotions and thoughts, not even Big D.

I was the first one of my friends to get married; I believe they felt I was too young. I was 22 by the way. So I felt I could not talk to them about my problems. I could talk to my parents some of the time, but their advice was, “You’re a team, work it out.” I understood that, I don’t think they understood that there was something missing in my marriage and life and how bad I was longing for it. I didn’t even understand.

I had a few pity parties, and kept up the search for the “thing” I felt was missing in my life. By this time we wanted to have Miss Baptized in the Catholic Church. Big D and I knew how important this was, as did our families. Even though we had the mindset that going to church wasn’t all that important. Go figure.

I called some local Churches and told them I was interested in having my infant Baptized. The question that was asked was, “Do you go to church?” My answer was no. A few of these churches denied us a Baptism. I will admit I was angry. How could they deny my child a Baptism? We were good people. Just because we were sinners did not mean I wanted my child to be one. What I did not think about was the promise of Baptism, to raise this child in the Catholic Faith. Were we really prepared to do this? At the time I don’t think so.

The last Church I called, I spoke to Sister B. I told her we do not go to church but it was extremely important that our child receive the sacrament of Baptism. This wonderful woman had faith in us. She told us they would do the sacrament and she would hope and pray that this would bring us back into our Catholic faith. Thank you Sister B.

The Baptism took place and it was beautiful. After all was said and done, Big D and I occasionally said we needed to go to church, but for some reason it did not fit into our life.

We spent the next 3 years living our lives. Big D worked a tremendous amount. He was never home. I was becoming bitter and disrespectful towards Big D. We were floating through life. Nothing was getting better. Everything just seemed to stay the same.

To be continued…


Ginny said...

I got married early too, age 20. My big regret is that we weren't Catholic at the time (knew nothing of Catholicism) and so didn't have a Catholic wedding mass. I have never thought of our quick engagement the way you put it-God was calling us to our vocation-you're right! I've always looked back at that time and the fact that we got married after only six months of knowing each other as us just being young and crazy. Looking forward to part 2!

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Joyful Days said...

My story is a little different than yours, but it was my sons that God used to call me home to my Catholic faith.