My heart was heavy and had been for a while. I decided to walk the three blocks to our church so I could reflect before my confession. During my confession, I completely unloaded every sorrow, hurt and feeling of anger that was weighing on me. As I walked home from that confession, I felt an unburdened weightlessness and heard God say to me, “You know, that feeling of completely shedding the weight of sin has always been available to you. What took you so long?” In a moment of pure honesty, I responded to God by saying:
Please forgive me. I have been lazy, ignorant, selfish, slothful, neglectful, prideful, entitled and indifferent. I didn’t reach out for You because I knew how much I could handle on my own. I can be more comfortable being miserable than having to change my ways or admit I was wrong. The truth is, I became so comfortable with You being a loving and merciful God that I put aside salvation, my relationship with You and asking You to be in every aspect of my life. I know You are always with me, so I became selfish and used You more like the genie from Aladdin than my God and loving Father. I thought that by attending Mass once a week I could “keep my membership” and then keep You on standby in case of an emergency. I just assumed You would always be there, that the Church would always be there, and that there was nothing more I needed to do on my end. During Mass, I would hope for shorter readings and a shorter homily—not that I was paying attention either way. During the hymns, I would cross my fingers that we wouldn’t sing all of the verses. When I received communion, I just went through the motions and didn’t consider that I was actually receiving You, nor did I consider that I was then carrying You out into the world. I let the staff at my parish pull all the weight of the work that needed to be done. I didn’t respond to volunteer requests because I hid behind the excuse that I was too busy when, in actuality, I filled my calendar with so many things that have no bearing on my soul or salvation. I haven’t tried to form relationships with fellow parishioners because I haven’t taken the time to get to know anyone, or even stick around long enough after Mass to take steps towards cultivating any kind of friendship. When I really think about it, my parish became a social club for me that had no real fees or expectations. I continually promised You that I would do better, but I just said that to appease the guilt I was feeling for how I had been treating you. Then, in the moments of suffering, I would put the blame all on You for being distant from me and not loving me enough to remove any potential suffering from my life. Forgive me Lord. If I treated my children like I treated You, my kids would be taken away from me because neglect and empty promises are not a relationship.
Needless to say, after this conversation with God, I was emotionally, physically and spiritually drained, but it was all worth it because I needed to have a fresh start in my relationship with Him, and a restart in truly living and practicing my Catholic Faith.
What I discovered is I cannot grow if I am not honest about where I currently am in my journey. As humans, we want to be perfect, but God is not asking us to be perfect. Living with God at the center of everything we do is the prescription, the instruction and the only way to live the fullest life possible. When we don’t do that, it is not us failing God, it is us settling for something less than He is offering. He has set up the Church in a way that accompanies us through life the way He does.
One of the aspects of working for the Church that I find most exciting is to find creative ways to accompany people on their journey. This requires a lot of talking and listening which is why we created “UNSCRIPTED,” a new web series and podcast. Each episode gives me the opportunity to take a drive with someone who is living their Faith in a creative way and hear their story. The conversation is free flowing and brings the comfortableness of having a chat on a road trip. Join us on these journeys by:
• Watching the videos of each episode at: diolc.org/unscripted
• Download the audio podcast versions at this website or use the QR Code below:
Director of the Office for Family Life