He Who Has Faith Is Never Alone
The existence of faith and God are two things I’ve often doubted.
Not so much for lack of understanding – my parents did an excellent job instilling the fear of God in all of their children – but because of simple disbelief. To say that as of today my Confirmation in Catholicism has not taken place. My parents did enroll me in the appropriate catechism classes as a teenager, but after months of skipping the Sunday gatherings at Assumption Catholic Church the priest pulled me and my brother aside one day to ask us one simple question: name me one of the seven holy sacraments, he implored.
We stared at him blindly, at each other with mischievous grins, trying our best not to burst into laughter. Finally he gave us a choice: either we got up and left voluntarily then and there or he would parade us in front of the rest of our class as an example of what could happen when you didn’t do what you were supposed to. We weren’t about to be humiliated so we got up and walked away. As we drove ourselves home, our greatest fear was breaking the news to my mother. In those days she was a devout Catholic and took tremendous pride in the fact two of her boys were completing their Confirmations.
Even our godparents had already been selected for us – mine was to be the same padrino who had baptized me, and my brother’s was to be my mother’s youngest brother. I don’t remember anymore how we eventually broke the news to her, but to this day she still scolds me about the choice you and your brother made to not get confirmed…I signed you all up for the catechism classes, but you weren’t kids anymore and it’s not like I could have forced the two of you to attend the classes. As a parent we do what we can and that’s all we can do you know. If a child doesn’t want to listen anymore and they feel they are grown what can one do? To which I just smile and say nothing.
I say nothing because at this point in my life doubt has no place in my faith. One too many times when I’ve sat at the brink of despair a higher power has pulled me through, comforted me on the other side and allowed me to do the same for others. It’s a sensation unlike any I have ever experienced. One in which peace reigns over the exhaustion of my body and soul, where the trails of sadness running down my face are wiped away, under which for no explainable reason I know things will be okay. Sometimes they aren’t, and even then a spiritual presence tells me the road I’m on, no matter how rocky, is the right one. That somehow there will be some logic to the hardships in front of me.
More than any words could ever promise me.
I don’t attend Sunday mass every week. I don’t live my life according to the bible, although maybe I should. I haven’t confessed in four years. I’ve entertained more than one religion. I have committed many, many sins. Not that I am proud of any of these truths, but despite them all I feel close to my God. He was there for me when no one else could be, when all I had inside me was rage, when my spirit was broken. When my prayers went unanswered, when my sadness was blinding, when my hunger for revenge was insatiable, when nothing at all mattered to me anymore, and he showed me forgiveness and repentance.
On this, the celebration of his resurrection, I can do no less than remind myself how fleeting words can be and rejoice in the wisdom of his presence in my heart.
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You put into words how God is present in each and every one of us despite all of our imperfections.
This has been one of the more difficult things to write.