I can’t say I lost God because that would imply that at some point I found God. I have always had a faith – I guess a belief in God, most likely brought about by a Catholic upbringing. To be clear there is a tag for the Catholicism I experienced as a child. It’s called being a C&E Catholic – Christmas and Easter. We were a common group.
I attended a state primary school in the 1970s and the good Catholic ladies ensured that the kids with a C noted as their religion were rounded up to complete the sacraments. I recall very little of the process except that it was a welcome diversion to the boredom of doing little else but going to school and being at home.
There were lessons with baked goods at the end (the best part).
We visited the church to give confessions (my standard mantra was – Forgive me Father for I have sinned, I have had bad thoughts) which I hadn’t – as all in all I was a happy kid who had no dramas, found academics almost too easy and lived to play netball in winter and softball in summer. Life was good, so I confessed to bad thoughts and dutifully said the three Hail Marys as penance.
My two older siblings had completed their sacraments in Scotland before we arrived in Australia so my brother who was two years older was also part of our group making first communion. My parents had a photo of us standing together outside of the church which disappointed my Mum when they were developed (back then you would leave your film at Kodak and wait at least a week for the pictures to come back in a packet) because I had dirty knees from playing which did not match my little white dress but did match my personality exactly!
So, I have asked myself – Am I losing my religion? The more I think about it, the less I feel I ever had one to lose. I married in a Catholic Church – yes, the same one but I only had photos taken in the garden this time so NO dirty knees! My husband is Catholic and he absolutely has religion. Weekly attendance at Catholic mass is vital to him – he describes it as the one hour a week he stops to focus on how he can do better. He lives his religion and wishes to adhere to the formalities of his church. He was not and never will be a C&E Catholic.
I spent most of my life with religion. We went to mass as a family. We opted for Catholic schooling in the hope that the environment would best match the family values in our home and extended family. Our kids all completed the sacraments, willingly and happily enough. I believe they have a sense of faith, a belief of more than the immediate. As adults though, they do not participate in their Catholic communities. They do – out of regard, respect, perhaps compliance, attend services during holiday visits with us. If they don’t realize it – doing so, means the world to their Dad.
I do need to contemplate my own faith, my beliefs and how I can best restore and nourish my connection to that which is more than the here and now. My faith is being tested, has done so now for too many years. It seems like my prayers are not being heard and are far from being answered. It has made me less inclined to show up on Sunday. I feel no guilt when I don’t. That kid in me though, falsely confessing to bad thoughts does try to double the efforts after an absence in the hope that perhaps those prayers will be heard and the much needed miracle will happen.
My prayers are not for me and that just might be where the searching I need to do is leading me. I do not ask for myself. I have been on my knees in churches around the globe praying for the health and well being of one I love. I am telling God that this life is declining and where are your eyes God, why won’t you look? Where is the miracle – and what person will not bend and beg for the miracle to bring back energy, wellness and life – crazy, hectic full capacity life to a loved one.
Faith – we need to spend some time. There’s a bit to do.