My Convertible Life

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Lenten Sacrifice

I’m giving up Catholicism for Lent.

In past years, I’ve been on and off with my success in Lenten sacrifice. I’ve done the usual sweets or drinks or that sort of thing. I tried giving up fear one year – but when I went to donate blood (one of the many things I’m afraid of), it turned out I was ineligible.

Probably my best year was one in high school when I gave up an hour each week before school to go to communion service with my dad.

Last month, I started thinking about what behaviors were blocking me from being closer to God -- those things that were obstacles on my journey toward Easter. And I realized, suddenly, it was all the complaining I do about my church. Or, more specifically, my Church.

So I decided it was time to give it up -- the complaining, at least.

Being Catholic is something I was born into. Then it was the religion I chose for myself, following on from my father and grandfather and back to Germany. Catholic churches consecrated my wedding and the baptisms of my two children. In Catholicism, I feel the power of history along with the power of God.

But in the words of Father Frank, I've been a Catholic clutching "the fringe of the carpet of faith" for a long time. When the language changes in the mass took effect in December, it was enough to further weaken my already tenuous grip.

This month we've gone to Sunday services at an Episcopal church for the first time. In some ways it's a lot like Catholic church -- the basic structure of the service is the same, including Communion, the readings, and all the kneeling and standing. In other ways, it's completely different -- like the fact that all four ministers are married and two of them are (gasp!) women.

It's too soon to tell yet if we've found a new church home -- but I will say that the reserved parking space for first-time visitors got us off to a good start. For now, I'm saying prayers, asking questions and forgiving myself for not knowing the answers.

Earlier posts from my religious wrestling:
- Mere Churchianity
- Still Catholic After All These Years

10 comments:

  1. We need to talk! I'm in the same spot and was interested in the Episcopal church. Which one did you attend? Did you like it?

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    1. Sorry we didn't talk about this last week. We've been going to St. Michael's -- I like it, but not 100% sold just yet.

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  2. Oh wow. My husband's family is Catholic and we had our son baptized at St. Michael's in Cary, but I'm uncomfortable w/ the Catholic Church as a woman. If I were much of a practicing anything, I'd explore an Episcopalian or Lutheran church. I love and need the ceremony but can't handle the dogma. Good luck! I look forward to chatting about it next week at The Busy Bee!

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  3. Seriously, the timing is amazing. I spent the last three days in back and forth emails with a friend about her Episcopal Church and my future there. Crazy! I shouldn't be surprised though that we share Ilina in common. She inspires great thinking.;) Good luck on your journey-wherever it takes you.

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  4. I love that parking spot idea. That would probably sell me. Good luck in your search, I suspect we'll go a similar route.

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  5. For years, I would tell my mom after hearing to yet another long tirade about her church, "Isn't church supposed to make you happy and feel better? Yours just makes you feel bad." Finally, this past January, they made the switch, and wish they had done it sooner. Hope you've found your new church home!

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  6. I just love you more and more. We're Episcopal and I love the flexibility to question things. (Though let me be clear that I really don't care if you're Episcopalian or Hindu.) Man do I have a lot of questions about things, and each Episcopal church I've been a part of had room for that. Hope your discernment is fruitful for you wherever it leads you!

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    1. That's really encouraging -- after a month, I'm thinking that Episcopal is probably where we'll land, but I'm still not sure about the actual church. So many different parts and personalities to consider.

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  7. OMG!!!! You know, about a month ago I said this VERY same thing at a Mary Kay Unit Meeting. One of my girlfriends came and we were offering all kinds of munchies and desserts, and some were totally chocolate, and my friend said, “I’ve given up chocolate for Lent.” I told her that I was terribly proud of her bravery, but because I am, in fact, a wimp, I had given up Catholicism for Lent. It got a huge laugh, but I was absolutely serious! :)

    I am having a tremendously hard time finding my spiritual self. Thank you for posting this, as now I get that I’m not out here by myself.

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    1. That's Yeah, I realize that saying "I'm giving up Catholicism for Lent" sounds like a joke -- but it really was a big decision. You're definitely not alone. So far I'm finding the Episcopal church to be a good option, but it still amazes me how hard it is to let go of some of the Catholic traditions. Good luck with your search!

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