A friend from high school wrote to me recently and offered some thoughts on ways that I could stay connected to my faith. One of the more interesting and thoughtful of the people I have been fortunate enough to reconnect with, she has afforded me the benefit of being blunt with her thoughts.
She reminded me of something she remembered being taught that Catholics believe.
“We believe that a Catholic should practice their faith through three avenues: prayer, acts of service/charity, and participation in the sacraments. Given the understandable aversion to priests, the sacraments would prove to be problematic. But you can still practice your faith in other ways. Prayer, whether it be formal prayer or an informal dialogue with God, can offer you the comfort of practicing your faith.”
As for my relationship with God, I think my experience with Gibson and some of the things I saw while deployed to the Iraqi theater of operations has led me to question everything about God. I cannot grasp why a deity, if one does exist, could be benevolent and allow the things I have seen to happen. I have been asked about “losing my faith”, I don’t think I ever had a faith to begin with. I am sure there is a point for those who truly believe, when faith manifests itself out of all the memorization and repetition of Catholic tradition we are put through as children. About the point where that was jelling for some of my contemporaries, I was dealing with what was happening to me and the realization that things are not really what they appear to be.
Intellectually, I understand Catholicism and Christianity. I attended the University of Scranton, (a Jesuit University) where I was required to take theology courses, I think I actually enjoyed them as an intellectual exercise I have read the bible and I have been to church services all over the world from the chapel at Notre Dame High School to St Peters Basilica in Rome. I can honestly say that I felt nothing, I was not moved nor did I find anything spiritual about the experience.. This is all theoretical to me. I know that sounds harsh, but that is my reality. I think I am just a flat line when it comes to religion. I tried in college, I went to church almost every week. But there was nothing there for me. And there still is nothing there for me.
I know my wife prays, I don’t think I even know how to anymore.