An online publication called Faith & Leadership, published by Duke Divinity School, recently approached me and asked me to consider a recent Pew study that found young Catholics to be leaving the church in large numbers and then reflect on why I remain. I gave it some thought, and I kept coming back to what happens each week at Mass. From the post:
During the eucharistic prayer, as the priest consecrated the bread and wine that becomes for Catholics the actual body and blood of Christ, I closed my eyes. I pictured Jesus hiding with his disciples in a dark room, offering his peace to his unsettled followers on the eve of his death. For those few moments, the concerns and disappointments I have with the church vanished. I was with God and my neighbor. I was living out who I am called to be.
I once thought that my peers who left the church were intellectually or spiritually lazy, but I’ve since come to understand their decision. In fact, sometimes I am jealous that they were able to walk away.
But I can’t. A life of faith is difficult, but it is the life I want. It is who I am, and it is why I remain.
Sure, my faith will ebb and flow over the years. But for now I focus on living out the gospel quietly, trying to navigate a life of faith amidst doubt and uncertainty, hurt and anger, grateful for the moments of joy that sustain me.
Read the full reflection here.