Note: This blog originally published in July 2011.
I go to Catholic mass every Sunday. I sit in the same pew most of the time, surrounded by the community of people that I have come to know in the last five years. When I miss mass-they notice.
Going to mass is one of my favorite parts of my week and I feel blessed to have a wonderful priest that every week says at least one thing that makes me contemplate my faith and relationship with God and others.
For years I went to church because it was an obligation. I was raised Catholic and my parents had a rule that as long you lived in their house, you had to go to church. Then I moved away when I was 23 and had to work weekends and going to church was not a priority.
I moved around from the east coast to the west coast and even though I didn’t work weekends any more, going to church still wasn’t a priority for me.
Searching for inspiration
It wasn’t until seven years ago, when I was living in Seattle, that I returned to the church. I was going through a difficult time in my professional life and was searching for something or someone to inspire me. The priest of the small church in my neighborhood I swear was speaking to me each Sunday. His message was always consistent “It’s not about the car you drive, the house you own or how much money you make-it’s about the life that you lead and how you treat people”.
I knew then that I belonged back in the church. I found what I was missing in my life.
Now rather than tune out during homilies by reading the bulletin, I listen to the message in the homily. I sing the songs with the rest of the congregation and each Sunday I feel grateful for being a part of a community.
I am not a religious person. I can’t quote scripture. I am not scholarly when it comes to the bible at all. I do my best to live a good life and treat others with respect. Every night before I go to sleep, I pray for people in my life that need some extra attention.
Faith is something you feel
A dear friend of mine years ago took out a stack of books from the library on spirituality and religion. I silently thought to myself, you can’t read about it, you have to want it, to feel it. Years later, she still has not found the spiritual connection that she craves.
It took a personal crisis for me to return back to church and today as I face health challenges with my parents, I am more grateful than ever that I have my faith to sustain me through difficult times.
Religion and faith are private. I don’t preach to anyone about the role of faith in their lives. My only advice is for those looking for peace in their lives, that having a faith filled life is very powerful.