Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Am I Really Just a Protesting Protestant?

I’ve been participating in my church’s RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) for the last few weeks. There’s a young lad I’m supporting while he explores more of what the Church can offer him, and I also wanted to contribute back to the program that taught me so much about the faith lo these seven years.

With the lessons we’ve gone over recently, and especially with some of the questions that have been posed to our group afterward, it’s becoming clearer that my understanding of the faith has been formed through a somewhat tinted lens.

I’ve always thought that I got what the Church was, and to an extent I still believe I do. But my knowledge isn’t as complete as I thought it was. Or rather, my action isn’t as connected to my knowledge as it should be.

When the Church was revealed to me in all her Veritatis Splendor, after so many years of being formed to be an anti-Catholic, I was angry. Quite angry, frankly. Many people I trusted had told me things that were – to be as charitable as possible – inaccurate. They had shot from the hip, had made wild conjectures, and, when stumbling across wisdom deeper than they were capable of appreciating, summarily discarded it so their own petty worldviews wouldn’t be shattered.

Harsh words, I know. Very uncharitable. But that’s how I felt. Betrayed, even. I would have nailed 95 theses on a door of a grand cathedral, or publicly rejected the authority of a central faith figure, if Protestantism had any such sacramentals to personify and thus deface.

So it was with a certain veil of animosity that I consumed all the Church had for me. Imagine a ravenously hungry man eating morsels and crumbs, being told there is no other food in the universe that won’t kill him dare he touch it. Then one day this man happens across a rich feast and takes a chance – and finds that not only is he not dead, but he is more alive than he has ever been before. Would he not look with some scorn on all the years of lost nourishment?

The man would be well within his rights, says common wisdom. Yet, “Let justice be your sacrifice, and hope in the Lord,” says Psalm 4:6. God often calls us to give up the things we think we’re entitled to for the greater glory of his name, whether it be property, esteem, or even justice.

So it is with great difficulty that I release my anger.

Now on with the task of growing in Christ.

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