Friday, July 15, 2005

The Revenge of the Rattling Marble

Every now and again, I get something stuck in my craw. And what's worse is even after talking it out with someone else I know the following: 1.) I had no power, I hope, over how this situation arose, 2.) I have no power over how this situation can be reversed, 3.) and I don't know what, if anything, to do. It just leaves me shaking my head. On the flip side, it does leave me strangely grateful for the way I grew up, i.e. without the Catholic Faith.

Now, yes, I do know that, objectively speaking, it would have been better to have been baptized as a cute little baby and lived in the bosom of Sancta Mater Ecclesia rather than being crash-coursed (my euphamism) as a gawky, ackward teenager. And yes, objectively speaking, it would have been dandy to have gone to parochial schools, especially high school. I even recall feeling jipped when I discovered there was a Catholic High School and couldn't go because I was a senior when I made this discovery. And then I deal with the products of these institutions and I am struck by how much of the equation is not determined institutionally but rather personally. The work of conversion, the work of assent to the Truth happens not because of an institution but rather because the person sees things as they actually are for the first time. The Church is not an "it"; the Church is "she", she to whom all the wealth of Christ's teaching and grace has been handed over. Because the Church is our mother, giving birth to us in the virginal font, we should love her and see how in the various eras, she has held on so that each man, woman, and child can know the certainity of having found Christ and thus are set upon the path to salvation.

Certainly, things like strong parishes and strong parochial schools and well-formed families make the work easier, but it doesn't provide guarantees. A child raised in the best environment, provided with every opportunity to learn, to grow, to experience the presence of Christ in His Church, can still turn his/her heel and kick you square in the bridge of your nose. And that is what I am feeling right now. I feel as though someone I care about kicked me square in the bridge of the nose, and I can't figure out why they would do this.

Thanks for reading this.

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