Unexpected Inspiration -June 2003

anthonys

Well, I stepped inside a Catholic Church today. I know I said I hoped not to. It was very strange to say the least. I am amazed that after all this time, I still know the words, and when to sit and when to kneel. Automatic. Those old feelings. It’s like Pavlov’s Dogs. You hear those communion bells and smell that incense and all your actions, thoughts, and judgments come into question. I fought it off a lot, torn in between resistance and indoctrination, attending a sacred, sad event.

I’ve been reading this book. “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown. It’s this crazy tale of secret societies, The Holy Grail, The Catholic Church and murder. In it, we read of the power play made by The Church. They wiped out the worship of the goddess, the balance of female and male. Jesus was human until they turned him into a deity, to whom they were the only avenue. Do what we say and you shall be saved.

So the whole time at St. Anthony’s I felt uncomfortable, thinking about this book. And myself. And my own confusion. I never wanted to come back in, although I knew I would have to, at some point. That point was today. As I listened to the liturgy, I wavered between left over faith and an intense cynicism of The Word. I felt like The Clandestine Hypocrite all the while surrounded by my entire family. They have no idea, la familia. My old Italian aunts and uncles, straight out of The Godfather, you’d swear. No idea of my struggle, in that pew, feeling like I could explode. My roots, they pull at me. My desire to be true to myself, it pulls too. Torn right down the line, almost. A hurtful chasm if there ever was one. Then the priest gave his sermon. “Change your life.” It is almost like he spoke those words directly to me. An arrow of fire shot across the altar right into my heart. I AM searching. Lost. And I didn’t want to hear it from him, but I listened. “Change your life. Offer up compassion, goodness, ACTION in honor of the soul we mourn today.” By the grace of God, he’s right. What in the world am I doing? Nothing! Swinging in the wind, not making one bit of difference. The time is now. I keep hearing that. The past is done. The future is yet to be. The present; that is the concern. It’s so obvious, yet, somehow, sometimes, it just doesn’t click.

It all sunk in. The message. The situation. The message. Life is precious. And short. You are here. You are gone. Life is for the living. Don’t get stuck until one day it’s too late. You look up and it’s just too late. I walked out of there completely altered, touched by an unexpected source of desperately needed inspiration. A Catholic Mass.

Funny, but I’m still not going back.

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