The other night at dinner I was talking with a close friend about our shared Catholic faith. We touched on the profound—prayer and Mass; the silly—new cassock rules from the Vatican; and the seemingly lamentable—shuttered parishes and declining attendance among our peers. 

The conversation stayed with me the past few days. I realized that, as we approached Thanksgiving, the faith that was introduced to me by my parents, deepened by priests and professors, and is sustained by ritual, reading, and writing, remains one of the great blessings of my life.

Along with family and friends, my faith offers hope, makes sense of a sometimes-confusing existence, and challenges me, disallowing complacence and self-satisfaction. For that I am thankful.

I am mindful of the challenges we face as Catholics, both from within and outside the church. As I connect with old friends over this Thanksgiving break, friends with whom I was confirmed and shared a deeply Catholic upbringing, I struggle as they have distanced themselves from the church for a variety of reasons. Some have simply fallen away, others make it clear that they identify as one of the many “nones” that comprise my generation.

But today, I’m thankful for that I’ve been offered a gift, a constitution that is open to faith, and hope that I use it well. It’s the Year of Faith. I’m thankful.

Comments

6466379 | 11/23/2012 - 7:27pm
Regarding my #1 post, correcting an error, not that it really matters much I guess, just that I don't like to leave rcognized errors uncorrected,in paragraph 2, last line, the word should be "parental" not "paternal."
6466379 | 11/23/2012 - 9:10am
“Thankful for the Faith,” oh yes I am! Thanks Mr. O’Loughlin for “swinging the censer” of benediction honoring the swirls of faithful, who like clouds of fragrant incense, now live in the Light of Faith, mirthfully singing heaven’s “holy,holy, holy,” as many on “this side” fleetingly, but faithfully benefit from  only glimpses of Light on spiritual horizons defining  the “darkness” of the  yet unfulfilled forward march in Faith, to Christ and our  Church – tired, aching perhaps and in some ways disappointed but marching forward.

There is, however, a buoyancy in fidelity’s achiness, recalling the words of Jesus, “Come to me all you who are burdened (by the demands of Faith) and I will refresh you!” Also, in other words of Jesus to Saint Faustina Kowalska, heaven’s modern-day conduit of Divine Mercy, through whom the Lord said, “Tell aching humanity to snuggle close to my Merciful Heart!”  I love the word “snuggle.”  Two kinds of people “snuggle” – lovers, one to the other quite legitimately and little children, to parents when frightened or just through sheer enjoyment of  paternal  warmth.


There are many wonders of Faith by which we try to live, but for me and no doubt countless millions of others, the greatest   is the mysterious reality of the Real Presence. The Blessed Sacrament makes a life of Faith all worthwhile and the more that transubstantiated  muscle of Faith called “Eucharist”  is exercised, the stronger, it becomes. It becomes a matter of “knowing” not just “believing” despite the darkness of “How?”  That’s wonderful!

On the other hand, I don’t know what the “cassock rules” are all about. I hope they don’t include that “Dracula-type cape” I’ve seen a priest wearing on a certain television show, with that pompous pom-pom Biretta. It looks so pharisaical. I guess time will tell.
In the meantime, I do believe Lord. Please turn any of my “Faith-waverings” inside out, revealing truth, which as you said “frees!”