Friday, September 28, 2012

Letter to a friend

Dear Friend,
It's very hard to love your church and find yourself unable to reconcile the behavior of its representatives. It is an incontestable truism that we hold our priests to a higher standard and when they fail (in this case perhaps epically), the sense of abandonment must be monumental.
I remember when I first returned to the church over 25 years ago, I had an idealist's view of what I could expect of Catholic behavior. I was disabused of the notion of  that mythical creature after I enrolled my kids in Catholic school. Take one part small school population; add one part privileged vs. the have nots; mix with insider legacy mentality; and simmer until you have a noxious mess.
Yes, that is how I felt after a while. A lot of what I was feeling was a sense of exclusion and a feeling that somehow I had gotten it wrong; that my expectations were set too high. In reality, I was depending too much on relationships with others and not enough on my relationship with God. I felt if I didn't fit in, than my kids didn't fit. Well, I didn't so they didn't and the principal was a real disappointment in problem solving between the haves and have nots. Solution? I took the kids out of the situation and therefore, myself as well. It was the best decision I ever made.
Funny how perspective and hindsight show one how unimportant these things are. Hindsight also shows us missed opportunities. It took me a while but I'm now seriously studying the Faith; not the Faith as it's lived daily. It can get pretty polluted with day to day influences from commerce, politics, media, distortion of the arts, etc. But the Faith as it was given to us by scripture and tradition and its completeness and compatibility with the ideal of what we can achieve as individuals and as a species.
I guess what I'm trying to say, dear friend, is that perhaps there is an opportunity here. Your work environment was a satisfying one for many years. Now it has changed and you've been disappointed by the people whom you expect to have the extra something that comes from hearing the Call and answering it. Unfortunately, they come with all the same insecurities and failings we humans all deal with and your new boss isn't managing things very well.
I'm thinking that rather than struggle with how their behavior reflects on the church and your faith in the church, perhaps it's time for you to reflect on how you react to this challenge. And you are definitely being challenged. I think there is a door opening for you here. You have made contacts. You know people. What you do can be done elsewhere???? With another agency????
Or perhaps this is the time for you to go inward, study and reconnect with relationships without the job in your way. It's interesting how retirement opens you up to a world of possibilities that work blinds you to.
Our priests are supposed to be the stewards of the Gospel. If they fail, it doesn't mean that God failed. There is no darkness that God's word cannot overcome. I have to remind myself that persecution of the Church comes from within and without. The persecution from within is a lot harder to deal with because it comes from a direction we don't expect. So pray, friend. And pray to His Mother. Ask them what they want of you. Persevere. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
All my best,


Barbara said...

Whoever takes their eyes off Christ is open to the 'doings' of Satan through the Fall whoever they are.

We all need revelation of who it is that lives within us (Gal.2:20) and to know like Jesus did himself that 'of myself I can do nothing'

Blessings to you as you continue your time of meditation and fasting.

Amy said...

Annie, Everyday I need to remind myself that it's the truth I'm in search of. There are many conflicts within the Church but I try to stay focused on the truth. Thank you. Wonderful post. ~Amy