Sunday, September 7, 2008
A Growing Realization...
That I am one of the more conservative and traditional minded members; in church matters; of our community, and the uncomfortable awareness of being in the minority that this brings about. I've found it better to censure my commentary, than to feel the stiffness in conversation after some discussion or another regarding the faults or merits of the older customs and practices for the church or community life. But here's the rub: I've been considering asking for the Habit when I become a novice (our community did away with the habit a while back, although some of the sisters wear the veil on occasion; which I have mixed feelings about). There are some others in our community who are also in formation who feel the same way as I do; but have decided to opt for a simplicity of street dress instead so as not to make waves. I already do this, and I feel it isn't enough. It's just not as recognizable by the lay community. Perhaps I'm not humble enough and should just be content with my interior relationship with God; but I still think it's important to be a witness to our way of life.
It's just that I'm experiencing a growing realization, or an actual grasping if you will, of the real importance of the traditions our Catholic faith and our consecrated way of life. Yeah, I know, I'm a little late to the gate on this, but hey, I'm a late bloomer. And I'm sure that the strident adherence to the traditions of our faith are not what is of most importance to God. Here is where I'm in agreement with the liberals of my community and my faith. After all, the Gospel itself says the sabbath was made for man, and not he other way around. But then if the sabbath was made for man, why? Precisely because man needs rituals to worship God properly. Reminders; so to speak; of the way man is called to behave when in the presence of the Lord. What I've come to see is that the traditions are essential primarily for us, and without them we've quickly disintegrated into a pack of non-believing believers. People who've lost site of the Sacred, in favor of the mundane. I don't know about y'all, but I need all the help I can get and having all the bells and whistles, incense and customs really deepens my faith and the experience of God's presence in my life.
I feel it is the same with the Habit. When I see a sister in a habit I'm instantly reminded that there is another way of living, one centered in Jesus. That visual image alone does it for me. It's that witness thing again. That much needed sign to challenge those of us who so easily forget and become too focused on the things of this world. So I struggle with the tension of my ever deepening need for true witness and a fear of estrangement from my community who may not feel the need for such trivialities as the habit. For them, it's been there, done that.