I love being a Catholic

By  Elena Feick, Youth Speak News
  • November 23, 2007

I love being Catholic. To say so reminds me that I have received the best gift ever given.

{sidebar id=1} My path to God’s church has been long and anything but easy. I began walking it when at about 12 I realized that an atheist was something I could not be. I knew that God existed and there was a reason for my existence.

I had no concept of what this God would be. I practised Wicca for about five years, and Unitarian Universalism for three. I also researched the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Islam, Buddhism, Druidism and Protestant Christianity, among others. I spent one full year intensely studying each religion as I heard of it, asking questions and above all else, praying.

I would come home many nights and be capable of nothing aside from tears. I can still sometimes feel the knots in my stomach, the confusion-induced headaches, and the fear that maybe the reason I couldn’t find God was that He didn’t want me to. I would fold in on myself, curl up on my kitchen floor and just sob, begging God to show me, tell me, let me find Him and belong to Him.

The one religion I had never looked into was Catholicism, though I was attending a Catholic school at the time. I managed to avoid attending any of the school Masses. In our World Religions course, I proved myself more knowledgeable than most concerning every religion that we covered — with the exception of Catholicism, about which I was woefully ignorant.

It wasn’t without reason that I avoided the Catholic Church. All I thought I knew about Catholics was that they thought a lot about sin. I didn’t want the true God to be the God of the Catholic Church, as I felt certain that a Catholic God would reject me as evil.

Eventually there was a school Mass that I couldn’t skip — and that Mass was my first true experience of Catholicism. When it came time for Communion, I went forward for a blessing to avoid standing out.

I was shaking, until I felt the priest’s thumb trace a cross on my forehead. Immediately, every knot in my stomach loosened and I felt something I had never before felt. After a week of thinking about nothing else, I identified that feeling as love.

I contacted the priest who had celebrated that school Mass. After he assured me that he truly was that same priest who had blessed me, I demanded that he immediately tell me everything about the Catholic Church.

He didn’t tell me everything, but he told me enough. I recognized my fear of rejection as faulty, though it was not entirely banished until my reception into the church on Holy Saturday earlier this year.

I love being Catholic and I say so at least once a day. I can always recall what it is to be without faith, without certainty, without the church, and so I am extra grateful now that these things are just — the centre of who I am.

(Feick, 20, is a first-year general studies student at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom in Barry’s Bay, Ont.)

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