Saturday, May 10, 2014

Being Catholic

I'm Catholic.

Yesterday, I had a chance to practice my faith and deepen my faith and share in it with Caroline as she prepares to make her 
Holy Communion next week-end.
We had a Bread Retreat for the entire second grade.

We made bread.
Simple. Humble. Delicious.

We said a blessing over every single ingredient:

"Bless this flour.  May it remind us of all who have helped us come so far.  
We pray for all people who work to make the world a better place."

"Bless this sugar.  May it help us to be sweet in our words and actions toward others."

"Bless this water -- a sign of our baptism.  May we always remember that we are God's children."

"Bless this milk.  It reminds us of our first food -- mother's milk.  Bless our mothers who love us and care for us each day."

"Bless this salt.  Life first began in the sea.  May we show respect for Life in how we treat all of God's creations."

"Bless this wheat flour -- it reminds us that change is hard.  The wheat had to grow in hot sun, be cut, ground and milled.  Sometimes we also struggle to do what is right.  Give us strength Lord."

Even the pans got a blessing:

"Bless these pans that give bread shape.  God has shaped us from the earth and love.  
May we remember that He is always there to help us and love us."

Honestly, the whole day is a lesson in being grateful for the most essential and simple items that we take for granted and barely notice.

It's humbling and beautiful and it fills me up for a good long a cold, icy drink on that ragged, hot day...I am so so good after this retreat.

Caroline brought home her bread, eager to share it with all of us.
We had to wait until John got home from a business trip so we waited a day to break the bread together.

And in one day...a tiny blip of a few hours...
our priest was arrested and put in jail for statutory rape of a minor.

And that is being Catholic too.
(And I'm not being ironic.)

We are in this together.  There is no us vs. them.  We are all us. 

Bad things, terrible things, heartbreaking things are all around us.
Really good people make really bad choices every day.
People who you count on, disappoint.
Hell, we disappoint ourselves and the very people we love dearly, constantly.

It's messy being human.
It's hard to have moral courage day in and day out...damn near impossible.

It's shameful and heartbreaking and sometimes just plan sad.

But then we get moments like this:

And it all becomes really clear.

We only have each other...for a limited time at best.

Even when it's messy, scary, dangerous, or maybe especially when it is those things, 
we need to cling to each other.

Cling to the ancient wisdom that is our faith.

Cling to the holy words of St. Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.  
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.

Oh, Divine Master, grant that I may
not so much seek to be consoled, as to console.
To be understood, as to understand.
To be loved, as to love.
For it's in giving that we receive.
And it's in pardoning that we are pardoned.
And it's in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Somehow.some.way.we find comfort that this messy crazy world has been just like this for thousands of years...full of broken people doing their best  -- and failing quite often.
Still in this world of sadness, disappointment, loss, ignorance and hatred there is the beauty.  

Unmistakeable beauty.

It is full to the brim with miracles like water and salt and sugar and love and redemption and second chances and new life...
over and over again.

For some people, faith seems ridiculous.

For me, especially in times like's the only thing that makes sense.
It is a comfort to know that others have been right here in the middle of their messy, broken lives and found a way.
It's a comfort to rest in the words, the prayers and the basic truths that are my faith.

I'm going to wait for the light.
It's coming.
I have faith.

Until then, I'll make my peace with the dark.
For that's what makes the light even more beautiful.


  1. Beautifully put Beth! Your words are very comforting at this difficult time. Thank you for writing this!
    Jennifer Harrison

    1. Jennifer, Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know!! I really appreciate it. ~Beth