This is a great answer to the charge that “the Catholic Church spends too much money on big, fancy buildings.”
“There’s something I need to tell you,” I said to a man on his couch in a Tampa apartment. He — then in his late 20′s and interested in me — nodded, and waited for me to say it. I, then in my early 20′s, breathed in before I did: “I’m saving sex for marriage.” I breathed […]
How are Catholics able to say they have a relationship with Christ, when they pray to…
I have been climbing my way out. Today I felt tears of repentance for things I did not feel guilty for before, things I was not aware were sins (venial). Although I did not commit them with intention, they still negatively effected my life, as poisons. All my sins began with selfishness.
How selfish I become with my time, talent, and gifts.
My priest during my last confession told me that forgiveness was an act of will, not something we feel. I can’t stop thinking about it. How often we need to forgive others! As often as Christ forgives us I am sure!
I am currently in a position in which I am taking care of someone who had abandoned me in my time of greatest need. This person needs me, and although I was happy to help, I had not yet fully forgiven this person for the wounds they had caused me when I was in need of them. Bitterness became my world, I was ensnared in this feeling of anger.
The act of forgiving someone is allowing a wound to heal, and it is the power to cut the chains of bitterness that keep feelings of joy locked away. What an opportunity I have been given to share mercy and love with a person who did not do this for me.
To be the love that another would not give to me, is a precious joy, and in return for the gift of love I give them I hope that they find a love in Christ.
She let’s out a scream, as so often she does during the silence. I can feel heads turning in my direction, their burning eyes of disapproval jabbing into the sides of my head “Don’t look at them,” I repeat to myself.
She begins to flip backwards and let’s out an alarm that rings “Mommy is a horrible parent!” into the ears of strangers, but in reality it’s just, “I’m bored.”
Should I stand up? Everyone in the entire building is on their knees, and here I am standing like a thumb in the crowd with my human siren. “Really?” I hear a whisper from behind me. I’m soaked, but surprisingly its not urine, its my own sweat.
"There is a cry room," another whisper behind me, it seems kind but to my heart it says,"Your child is unwelcome, my right to silence is more important."
She stops her crying and focuses on a light. “Thank God!” I hear, this time it sounds closer. I sigh a breath of relief, but too soon, the light is no longer interesting and now screaming is more fun. They stare. Fixated on me and my inability to make my tiny infant do the impossible; act like an adult. We’re the failures, we’re the burdens in this house of silence and reverence.
With a quick leap I run to the cry room, muffling my six month olds screams in my chest. I can sense the relief of those around me. Don’t look back, I think to myself. I approach the door and duck in, hiding from the glares and sighs of annoyance.
One look around and I see a room filled with sweaty parents just like me. Heads down with shame, a look of hopelessness and faces smeared with sweat, we wrangle our children with our arms stretched out like swinging lassos. A few parents in the corner allow their children to roam around freely, they pretend to not notice them licking the pews or doing laps, just staring blankly forward. I don’t blame them. There’s the tiny infants wailing in seemingly aimless and purposeless discontent, the toddlers bored put of their minds trying to sit still in the form of a temper tantrum, and the in betweens who have no idea what’s going on but don’t like it.
I know my infant is tired and after a few cries she will be asleep, but only until the next child let’s out a scream six inches from her face.
Here we are. The parents. Shoving bottles in their faces, bribing our children with peanuts like circus elephants, shushing and hushing and begging them to do what they were not born to do, sit still and be quiet. If we could all strip ourselves bear and flog ourselves in return for having perfectly behaved adults in children’s bodies, all of us would. But instead we are here in this room with sound proof walls and milk stained carpets because we have been banished. Banished from the room for perfect children by the disapproval of my brothers and sisters in Christ for my children being children.
"Let the children come to me…when they are silent." - wait, that’s not right. That’s not what He said right? Then why am I here? Why am I in this room away from my spouse and older children who sit in the pew with a big gap where mommy and baby sat.
"Be fruitful and multiply", and we have, several times over, and here is my reward. Banished to the cry room.
Is it my parishes fault, my priests? No, they have been more then welcoming of our new addition to our parish, our priest rejoices and encourages growth in families probably just as much if not more then most parishes. The cry room and its purpose is meant for the comfort of parents, for a private moment to collect our children, calm them down when they bump their heads, make a bottle or pep talk a toddler, but it is not what it has become.
So who’s fault is it? Its all of our fault. Who are we as adults to assume that we have the right to complete silence more then a small child has the right to be there? Parents don’t make children fussy, wiggly and demanding, God does. Human young are proof that man kind was made for love, our young is more dependent on us then any other mammal. We need to understand that children cry, that’s what they do. And we can’t have a parish that is open to life but is also without the sound of children, we have to choose, it is one or the other.
As parents we are well aware, and even when it doesn’t look like it, we are doing our best. But they aren’t circus elephants, their humans. Loud, high energy, self centered balls of lightning with an attention span of about three minutes. But we need your support. People were not meant to suffer alone, this is why we have the communion of Saints, we need each other.
Someday they’ll be twelve or at least old enough to understand English and you’ll have your silence. Remember that the children that cause you discomfort in Mass are the future of the Church, they are our priests, our nuns, sisters, monks, brothers, or future spouses, and if you keep hoping that baby leaves so you can have your silence one day that baby might not come back.
Thanks Janelle for sharing! Praying that more of us will think twice before our actions chase yet another person away from the house of God whether it be a fussy baby or anyone else.
How can we respect life when we do not respect the act that creates life?
The Catholic Church has a problem with same sex, here’s why; The Church has a history of poor charity to gay men and lesbians; Why is the Church against gay sex? Are Christians intolerant, judgmental bigots? Which is more old-fashioned, the Church or the modern sex friendly society? STDs, addiction, etc. statistics provided by the gay community; How does the Church explain same sex attraction? Interpretations of the Bible that attempt to justify gay love; God made me gay; Sources of help; Evangelical vs. Catholic outlook of homosexualityThe culture of pushing sex down peoples throats is not working. There is nothing wrong with abstinence from sex. HIV positive or not. It goes for everyone who is not married to someone of the opposite sex. I’ve been single and chaste for many years. You don’t die from not having sex.
The world taught me to believe that just because I experience same-sex attractions, “being gay” is “who I am.” However, I noticed that countless people are forming their lives according to their expectations of “what it means” to be “gay,” and for some, it virtually consumes them. This can happen for a lot of people who are simply trying to find their place and who want to belong—that is exactly where I was at one point as well. The problem is that these types of identity labels are incapable of reflecting the fullness of truth of who we truly are. We are more that our sexualities—and if I want to be more completely honest with myself about who I am, embracing a label like “gay” or “straight” is something I will never be able to do.
It’s not a matter of shame—I don’t feel shame for attractions I did not specifically choose to experience. It’s about identity—the identity I specifically choose to embrace. I used to let myself be defined according to my sexual attractions, but today, out of my love for Jesus Christ, I specifically choose to see myself first and foremost through the lens of Christ. I do this while still being honest with myself about the attractions I experience. Therefore, today my identity is first and foremost rooted in Christ. As a result of that transformation of my self-concept, I have gone from being closed to growing in the virtue of chastity, to being open to growing in the virtue of chastity. This has been a joyful transformation that began in the heart.
People often try to tell me that I am living a lie and that the Church hates me and has even brainwashed me. Their accusations reveal their closed-mindedness to growing in their understanding of people like me. I can’t transform their hearts—that is the work of the Holy Spirit. What I can do is offer you my life as an example of the joy I now experience since this transformation of heart has occurred.
I simply invite you to come to learn more about me, and others like me, who experience same-sex attractions and who have specifically chosen to look first and foremost to Christ. In my choice to do this, I have never felt alone, and I have never been more joyful. I just hope and pray that others like me might come to know that they too can find this joy in Christ. His love is for all of us!
God Bless you. Peace in Christ.
Andrew is a Courage member and a contributor to the Pursuit of Truth Ministries website. He has come to find love and belonging in the Catholic Church—the last place the world taught that he should look, and today he shares his life to show people the true joy that is found within the virtue of chastity. He can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.