St. Peter, who had faithfully followed Jesus, even to the point of walking on water at His Command, suddenly found himself afraid, lacking faith, and in need of Christ's immediate support.
I felt a lot like St. Peter must've felt in that instant this weekend. Lost, near drowning, feeling my faith in myself and my calling all but gone, and boom - I ask Jesus to redirect me and He gifts me a "lightbulb moment" during the Liturgy of the Word.
The last couple days I've been struggling with a few things. Friends are dropping like flies, fleeing from my newfound passion for Catholicism. My husband has gone on record stating that he thinks I'm going insane. Even my mother has chided me for my "over-zealousness." I repeatedly went back to my spiritual director, wondering if this blog, my online threads, my involvement with evangelization... I just needed guidance, and a lot of it.
I was supposed to go to Mass on Saturday night. Things didn't work out that way, so I vowed to go on Sunday morning at 9am (as is typical). Oddly enough, when Sunday morning rolls around, I have the distinct urge to push off Mass until 10:30. I'm not usually that willing to push off Mass, especially knowing that John's had Vincent all morning already. But something was telling me, in no uncertain terms, that I should wait until 10:30. So I did.
Fr. Andrew was a visiting priest. He had originally come from India and knew how to sandwich his homily between two lighthearted jokes. Everyone took a liking to him quickly. I soon realized that Fr. Andrew was why I was to attend the 10:30 Mass. God wanted to be sure I heard his homily.
To recap this weekend's Liturgy, go here. Each reading was tailor-made to smack sense into me.
First reading summary: Silence in the face of evil is a grave sin. Silence makes you culpable for the faults of others. This comes to mind.
Responsorial: "If today you hear His Voice, harden not your hearts."
Second reading summary: Love thy neighbor as thyself.
Gospel: Charitably confront others in their misdeeds. Key word: charitably.
Step by step, God was kind enough to allay my confusion through the Liturgy (so anyone balking at the idea that God really does speak through Scripture, here ya go!).
I've been really concerned with the threads that've been woven as a result of these blogs (reminder to those not connected with me on Facebook: many threads tend to multiply into a conversation between several people upwards of 30 and 40 comments long). Due to the massive amount of disinformation that exists regarding Catholicism, and the heavy, HEAVY anti-religion sentiment many of my friends harbor, it's like I'm constantly putting out a million small fires at once. I'm always battling against those who simply don't know any better. They are very ignorant of true Catholic teaching, but think nothing of spouting their misinformation to others who accept it as gospel. This is the real reason I get upset with "Protestant Catholics" (also known as Cafeteria Catholics).
Anyway, in one of my most recent threads, my Catholicism was lampooned by one of my dearest friends. Because she did it in so public a manner, in a thread meant to invite open, honest discourse among people of all faiths, backgrounds and beliefs, I felt the need to publicly reprimand her for an action that, in my opinion, halted conversation by turning the environment sour with immature anger and arrogance. As a moderator, I take policing my threads VERY seriously, and anyone stepping out of line will be dealt with swiftly and severely(with the hope of stamping out such behavior from happening in the future).
So that's what I did with her. Unfortunately, I was neither charitable nor patient in my response. I angrily retorted, tearing apart her ad hominem argument as well as taking a stab at her credibility. Part of me knew I was 100% correct in my argument and the basis for my anger, but another part of me knew I was going about it 100% wrong.
Within minutes, I deleted the entire thread, opting to start anew as opposed to leaving such gaping wounds to fester in the public eye. I reflected heavily on this, however, as well as recent threads that have also spiraled into this heightened form of verbal warfare.
Thus, the spot-on-timing of God through His Liturgy this weekend.
Since starting this blog, I had been convinced of my calling to educate other Catholics (and those who are interested in becoming Catholic) of the TRUE teachings of the Church. I openly share this with others in the hopes of fostering dialogue (which inevitably leads to a greater understanding of perspective). However, because I take a very traditional, no-candy-coating approach to true Catholic teachings, some of my Catholic friends, and plenty of ex-Catholic friends, take grave offense. Plenty assume I'm attacking their lack of Catholicism, and plenty of others assume I'm attacking their ignorance regarding the faith.
I attack no one for their "lack of Catholicism." That's just silly. I do, however, attack ignorance. Considering my mission to root out ignorance, I am a stickler for intellectual honesty. Just as I wouldn't post a response on string theory (since my knowledge of that is beyond miniscule) without first researching a bit about it, I don't expect others to willy-nilly post what they "think" the Church teaches, or angrily accuse Catholicism of any number of ridiculous things, just because they assume the media paints an accurate picture. Yet that's what happens, time and again.
Normally, I pride myself in my ability to keep a level head and calmly explain Church teaching to those who are ignorant through no fault of their own. Catholic education isn't exactly what it used to be, and again, misinformation has been spreading long before many of my friends were even born. I, myself, have been a willing victim of ignorance for years. So who am I to fault another for their ignorance of a faith that, even if we were given hundreds of years to devote to its study, would still remain clueless about many of its facets?
There are instances, however, when folks accuse me of lies, half-truths, or complete fabrications that I go off my rocker. In those instances, I lose all sense of Christian virtue and go straight for the jugular. Instead of "responding," I react. Instead of patiently explaining, person-to-person (as the Gospel suggests), I tear into them vehemently, in public.
So coupling the Liturgy with Fr. Andrew's homily, I feel as though God would like me to continue my evangelization efforts, but He wants me to big-time adjust the way I deliver the remedy to misinformation. After all, I need to live out the Gospel I preach, right? So that mantra of loving my neighbor as myself must be at the forefront of my mind at all times. In each response I make, I have to think to myself "Would I want to hear it this way?" or "Would Jesus say it nicer?"