It seems to me that anyone who is Catholic understands that there is stigma around being Catholic. Sometimes we get annoyed with the rules within our faith, and sometimes we fall back on them–hard. And we’ve all seen Dogma and know how people perceive the faith.
The truth is that I’m not as strict as I used to be. At one point during my childhood, I accidentally said “f*ck” (see, I feel bad typing out the whole word in a blog full of faith) and spent the rest of the night begging God not to send me to hell and saying the Rosary over and over again. I was muttering Hail Mary’s in my sleep and living in fear for months afterward.
And upon dating a very religious Presbyterian, I began noticing the differences between our faiths. There was nothing wrong with these differences, but rather a symbiotic misunderstanding. He got further into his faith, I got a little away from mine. When I graduated high school, he gave me a necklace with a crucifix charm. I wore it every day, even after we broke up in October of my freshman year.
While sitting in a Creative Writing class my Junior year of college, I was wearing the crucifix necklace. All of the sudden, Jesus fell off the cross. Gina, my good Catholic friend who was sitting next to me, said, “That can’t be good…” It was funny, and a little scary.
But I LOVE being Catholic.
- I love that the potential for Hell, sinning, and guilt has kept me from doing a lot of bad things.
- I love that the guilt from doing bad things I’ve done anyway has scared me away from bad habits.
- I love that we all say the same things at the same time (although it seems cultish to outsiders).
- I love the Catholic Calisthenics, the stand sit kneel sit stand dance.
- I love that Catholics can pick each other out in a crowd.
- I love that we can poke fun at ourselves one minute and then defend our faith the next.
- I love the crucifix.
- I love the stained glass.
- I love Lent.
- I love Dogma.
- I love that, “I’m Catholic” draws the response, “Oooh” from so many people.
I am by no means a strict Catholic, but I will cite the beliefs and statutes in my everyday speech. I wish I went to church every Sunday. I felt better when I did. Maybe I ought to start that again. In college at Ashland University, I went every Sunday night with my friends, Dan and Rachel. In North Carolina, I was afraid to go alone, but when I found St. Mary’s, it felt like going home again. When I moved back to PA and started having panic attacks, I went back to church. But between all the moving and traveling every weekend to this place or the next, I just don’t go anymore.
I need to get back to it.