Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Jesus Is My Home

Matthew 12:30 - Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
This scripture has stuck in my mind since this whole HHS mandate controversy started. Whenever I read this verse, I often think that Jesus is drawing a line in the sand. He seems to be telling us that there is no middle ground here. No neutral zone. No partial agreement.
It is all or nothing.
I have no doubt where I belong and where I stand. Jesus is my Lord. He is my life and my love. But lately I have come to feel a certain kind of loneliness. It is hard to describe. It is that loneliness we sometimes feel in a crowded room. Like we might as well be invisible. Or misunderstood.
It is that loneliness we feel when we are among people who do not understand our experience or us.
When I am at church, I do not feel that way. But outside “in the world” so to speak, when I am among others who do not understand my faith or practice it or agree with it, there is a different feeling. There is a sense of estrangement.
When I went to the Holy Land many years ago, I had such a special feeling about Jerusalem. God was present there in such a special way. Praying at the Wailing Wall, I had an experience of being united with many faiths all praying in their own way. God was a priority. Number One.
There was no feeling of loneliness in Jerusalem.
Returning home to a secular society was so depressing. Again there was that feeling of loneliness. Of being a stranger in a strange land.
I was beginning to think it was just my imagination. But then I read Paula Huston’s book, Simplifying the Soul, Lenten Practices to Renew Your Spirit. She had gone to Jerusalem and she too had that same experience! She too came home and was depressed to see the secular society that we had become.
Then she went to Mass and discovered that she could experience Jerusalem again. She found that she saw the Mass in a new way - the prayers, the readings, the Eucharist.
“For the first time, I understood that Mass is not merely a beautiful ritual but is instead a genuine mystical experience, an intense moment of full communion with God.”
Reading this, I felt so much better. It was as if I was not alone any more. And I went to daily Mass that morning, hoping to experience some of what she had experienced. And the first thing the priest said to us in greeting was – “Good morning, believers!”
Believers.
And what was his homily about? Faith. Belief.
Thank you, Lord.
I still get that lonely feeling from time to time. But the good thing is, I know where to go to not feel lonely. I know where to go to find family and comfort and to be who I am without apology.
This line in the sand is not going to go away. I am pretty sure it will get more and more divisive.
But I know where I stand. I know what I believe and whom I believe in. I know I choose Jesus.
And when I get lonely, I just need to go to “Jerusalem.” Not the one in Israel. The one in my Church.
I just need to go to Mass. Community. Eucharist.
Jesus.
Home.
(published on my blog March 26)

5 comments:

  1. Like you have so beautifully expressed here, I, too, often feel such loneliness. Even in a crowd or with people I enjoy, I often feel alone. Many times I literally run to Adoration just to breath, to find that peace and acceptance that the world cannot give me.

    I like the thought of going to Jerusalem via my church, Eucharist and community.

    Thank you.

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  2. Oh Colleen, I love how you described your feelings. I can so relate! I went to our local Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally last week and when I tried to encourage others, they just looked at me like I was a bit extreme. I feel strongly that we need to oppose this mandate and that Jesus is asking us to do so.

    I'm now reading a book about the writings of a priest who lived in Wisconsin and the first chapter is about Christian Unity. Strong stuff that people don't want to hear.

    Bless you for speaking out!

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  3. Daily Grace, I feel that way about going to Adoration as well. We have to find God and each other when we are feeling so alone. Sometimes I think people look at me like I am a holy roller. Well, I guess I should be thankful - they see where my treasure is!

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  4. Noreen, I feel just as strongly as you do about the mandate. I have had so many arguments with people who want to turn this into a debate about women's health care or contraception. I hear a great homily a couple of months ago about being "fools" for Christ. I guess I am one of them! Praise God!

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  5. That loneliness, I know so well.
    And then, each week, when I enter my holy hour of Adoration, and I bow to the floor on my knees...I lift up my eyes to His True Presence...and all that loneliness disappears.
    It feels so good...so right...so real....so true...so peaceful...so sacred.

    The current administration is doing its best to divide the Catholic Church. I remember, when the Holy Father first took the Chair of Peter...he was asked if he was worried about "sticking to" the "rigid" Teachings of the Church and whether he thought that would drive people away from the Faith. His response? He said to "let them go"...and that it would be a "smaller, yet holier Church".

    I think that we are beginning to live the realities of that.

    But, as you so beautifully state in this post, we know what we believe...we trust in God...and we will stand with JESUS until the end!

    Thank you, Colleen...not only for this wonderful post, but for being my friend. It is "less lonely" when there are special people like YOU to share the journey with!

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