Monday, March 26, 2012

Jesus is My Home

Matthew 12:30 - Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
This scripture has stuck in my mind since this whole HHS mandate controversy started. Whenever I read this verse, I often think that Jesus is drawing a line in the sand. He seems to be telling us that there is no middle ground here. No neutral zone. No partial agreement.
It is all or nothing.
I have no doubt where I belong and where I stand. Jesus is my Lord. He is my life and my love. But lately I have come to feel a certain kind of loneliness. It is hard to describe. It is that loneliness we sometimes feel in a crowded room. Like we might as well be invisible. Or misunderstood.
It is that loneliness we feel when we are among people who do not understand our experience or us.
When I am at church, I do not feel that way. But outside “in the world” so to speak, when I am among others who do not understand my faith or practice it or agree with it, there is a different feeling. There is a sense of estrangement.
When I went to the Holy Land many years ago, I had such a special feeling about Jerusalem. God was present there in such a special way. Praying at the Wailing Wall, I had an experience of being united with many faiths all praying in their own way. God was a priority. Number One.
There was no feeling of loneliness in Jerusalem.
Returning home to a secular society was so depressing. Again there was that feeling of loneliness. Of being a stranger in a strange land.
I was beginning to think it was just my imagination. But then I read Paula Huston’s book, Simplifying the Soul, Lenten Practices to Renew Your Spirit. She had gone to Jerusalem and she too had that same experience! She too came home and was depressed to see the secular society that we had become.
Then she went to Mass and discovered that she could experience Jerusalem again. She found that she saw the Mass in a new way - the prayers, the readings, the Eucharist.
“For the first time, I understood that Mass is not merely a beautiful ritual but is instead a genuine mystical experience, an intense moment of full communion with God.”
Reading this, I felt so much better. It was as if I was not alone any more. And I went to daily Mass that morning, hoping to experience some of what she had experienced. And the first thing the priest said to us in greeting was – “Good morning, believers!”
And what was his homily about? Faith. Belief.
Thank you, Lord.
I still get that lonely feeling from time to time. But the good thing is, I know where to go to not feel lonely. I know where to go to find family and comfort and to be who I am without apology.
This line in the sand is not going to go away. I am pretty sure it will get more and more divisive.
But I know where I stand. I know what I believe and whom I believe in. I know I choose Jesus.
And when I get lonely, I just need to go to “Jerusalem.” Not the one in Israel. The one in my Church.
I just need to go to Mass. Community. Eucharist.


Colleen @ ID said...

You are not alone, Colleen! I do know what you mean though. I've never been to the Holy Land, but beside church, this community of bloggers, from geographically spread out homes, helps me to not feel alone. I filled out a survey in my Catholic graduate school some many years ago and the professor said someone came in way off the charts high on their faith priorities. I knew it was me, and I knew I was alone in those values, even in this Catholic institution. Here in blogging land I have found those who believe and value their faith, and essentially put God, put their Savior first as the norm, instead of what it is outside of here. Hate to be cynical, but seems like you must be talking about daily mass too, or be in a very devout parish.

Victor S E Moubarak said...

The world is becoming a lonely place, despite our advancement in technology and other sciences.

Here in the UK church attendance is very low and people may say they believe, although they probably don't know what they believe in. It's not only a secular society, but what is worse is that belief in God is often mocked on TV and the media. It's more trendy and sophisticated to say you're atheist or agnostic.

God bless.

Barb Schoeneberger said...

Really awesome, Colleen. Whenever I think of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, I place myself there in spirit. I know He is there for real, and He is truth. He is my grounding. With my roots there, I can go to the grocery store, to the fitness center, and other places I need to go to conduct business and still feel connected to the Mystical Body.

Like you, I feel estranged from the world. Your post made me realize how much I depend on other Catholic bloggers who are strong in their faith. This is a virtual community that I can learn from to be holier.

The line in the sand has always been there since Adam and Eve fell. I feel sad for the people who are on the other side of the great chasm between us. But I know that Jesus is the bridge, and if I just do every day what He wants for the salvation of souls, many people will find that Bridge and walk across it. It's good to feel the pain of estrangement because it makes me appreciate what I have more, and in all truth, what we have as Catholics was given us freely by God and not something we earned or deserved. So in spirit I must go to Jesus and bow to the ground in thanksgiving.

Karinann said...

I understand what you mean. I have experienced this too~sometimes even with family members!
I think that if the world keeps going the way it is, without God as its center, then we may even experience this feeling more.
Then again, this isn't home, so perhaps a little discomfort in the world is not a bad thing.
Thank God He has given us the Church, our parishes, and communities such as the Catholic blogosphere to make this trip a little more bearable.
Thanks for this excellent post.
Hugs & Blessings!

Colleen said...

Colleen, yes, I am in a very devout, active parish, and I was also talking about daily Mass. But even more than that - just the feeling of going to Mass, wherever and whenever I go. I can go to a Catholic church where I do not know a soul and still feel what Paula described. I agree that this blogging community really helps take away that loneliness.

Victor, we experience that mocking here, too. Whatever happened to respect for each other's beliefs? We are so worried here about "political correctness" (which drives me nuts) but not when to comes to religion. It is open season on Catholics.

Barb, that is beautiful and I agree. I am so thankful every day. "Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you because of me." I guess we are blessed!
When I gave my talk on the Eucharist, I talked about our need to be rooted in the Eucharist. I must remember that.

Karinann, yes, I have experienced it with family members as well. I agree with you - our blogging community, our parishes, they are our oasis! And I agree that we will experience this more and more. It seems to be a trend. I like what Barb said about being rooted in the Eucharist. We have the Eucharist and each other! Hugs and God bless!