At my imagined outburst in the church, chronicled in part 2, little Sister John would have turned immediately to the priest for guidance, to him who, along with all other priests, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, on up to the Pope, himself, was several notches above her on the spiritual hierarchy established in the Roman Catholic Church.
She would have looked pleadingly, I think, to the priest, who would have set me straight, no doubt, with an air of long-suffering about him. He likely would have come over to me and, very gently, put a guiding hand on my arm and led me to the back of the church, handed me over to one of the ushers suggesting that perhaps I needed some air, or a little talk with a church counselor.
Or something like that.
He may have come back with a few kindly-sounding words about “some” who have left the Holy Mother Church, and how we must pray for them, or perhaps have a Mass “said” or “offer up” this very Mass, or “say the Rosary” for them, or complete a “Novena”…
Relieved, little Sister John and perhaps even many in the congregation, too, would breathe sighs of relief, nod their heads in approval, and carry on according to the script.
BEEN THERE…BUT USUALLY NOT A GOOD IDEA
My testimony in other blog posts reveals that I had learned my lesson about approaching Roman Catholics in this manner. Indeed, had anyone approached ME like that, and it happened a time or two, back in the day when I was first learning about the differences between Roman Catholicism and classic Christianity, I would have responded with some combination of fear, annoyance, incredulity, and even a feeling that I, for some strange reason, even had to defend the Roman Catholic Church! As if I were responsible to do that!
In short, at first, even after I became a born-again Christian, my mind would have been in a gigantic spin, indeed, was on many occasions, as I slowly but steadily realized how many of the “spiritual foundations” the Roman Catholic Church had adopted and changed over time were not aligned with original Christian doctrine– the original text and context.
At first, and for the first few years, my mind was in a spin as I read, researched, and understood the truth in those pages and in Jesus’ ministry until at length, my mind calmed as I noted truth that doesn’t morph, change, expand, or continually edit itself.
And so, back to the pew and the ritual and the little nun and the tugging at my heart.
About that time, I looked up to the apex of the church ceiling where there was a tiny skylight. I prayed, “Lord, even if there is just that amount of ‘Your light,’ figuratively speaking, allowed into the lives of the people here, please expand it in their spirits…”
That’s all I believed I ought to do, just then. It seemed correct. I had long since learned that it’s hard to penetrate cathedrals-full of rock hard dogma and finely honed control mechanisms. It was hard when others tried on me, in the first days and months. If any of you who were so patiently “mentoring me” back then are reading this, I apologize again for what I am sure was my rudeness when you tried to point out certain things to me about The Church that was practically part of the fabric of my very self, being newly born-again notwithstanding….
It’s an old, exceedingly refined religious institution that holds the minds of its followers quite fast, many of whom, though they might be born-again believers are likely just not yet untangled from the Roman religious system.
One needs to discern whether or not to speak or to remain silent, stay or go, nail one’s thesis on the wall, or intercede in the catacombs, so to speak.
And one needs to tread compassionately, there.
I’ve come a long way from the urgency of my long-ago, new zeal (which may be well-meaning, but often misses the mark) chronicled here.