I got outed yesterday. My son told his godfather what some of you probably guessed, and a few of you k now. I am thinking of becoming Catholic. This was not good news to said godfather. And a few others who now know.
When I had my first communion two years ago, on the Sunday of the Samaritan woman, I thought, "This is it. I'm home. I never have to search again."
I believed it. I bought in 100%. So, imagine my dismay two years later when I realized I seem bent toward the Roman Catholic Church.
I've resisted it. And embraced it. I've flirted with it and ran from it. My godmother asked me months ago what is this attraction I have to the Roman church, and I couldn't answer her. In our last correspondence she said, "I'm Orthodox. That's what I am." I was a little jealous, because I knew I couldn't say that with the same conviction.
Recently I met with a Byzantine Catholic priest. I thought maybe I could have the best of both. Be Orthodox and Catholic! Ah, but it isn't that simple. I could gain communion with all Catholics as a Byzantine Catholic. But I'd lose communion with the Orthodox Church, even though we share in common the celebration of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. When I stepped into that Byzantine Catholic Church, I couldn't see much difference, but there are differences. If nothing else the Orthodox dot i's and cross t's.
Maybe I've been knocked around too much, or blown about in the wind. Maybe I've tasted from too many tables, and now my palate is ruined. Or maybe I'm having a hella big spiritual identity crisis. I don't know. I just know I don't like this. I wasn't suppose to have these questions--these feelings. The Orthodox Church was supposed to be the last stop before heaven.
When I told my husband I wanted to be a Franciscan he just shook his head. He said, "It probably won't be your last stop." And I was ashamed. It made me feel really flaky.
Maybe I am flaky. Or maybe I'm crazy. No, surely I'm crazy. No doubt about that. But I have eagerly, passionately, violently followed Christ. I have loved Him, and wrestled Him and given up popularity, money, and a lot more that I don't even care to mention because He was more important to me. I have abandoned anything that I believed wasn't Him and embraced all that I thought was. And let me tell you, sometimes I didn't have a whole lot to work with. I have crawled on my hands and knees on broken glass, crap, and debris through a whole lot of bad theology because I wanted Him. And when I found Orthodoxy I stood up, and shook the dirt, crap, glass, and blood off because I was home.
At long last.
Or so I thought. And then I fell in love with Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day. And then I fell in love with Teresa of Avila, and John of the Cross, and Francis of Assisi. I was already in love with Brennan Manning. I fell in love with Henri Nouwen and Social Justice and I noticed most my heroes shared something in common. They were Catholic!
I've asked myself if I made a wrong turn. When I was feeling this huge shift in my soul two years ago, I told Ken I may convert to Roman Catholic. Ken, who is Roman Catholic, didn't believe me. He found me Protestant (and Pentecostal at that) to the bone. And then I found the Orthodox church.
But what if I just couldn't become Catholic two years ago? What if it took the Orthodox Church to soften me to Catholic Church. I was spoon-fed so much anti-Catholic dogma I don't know if would have been possible for me to make that choice when I choose. That was before Merton and Day. Before Francesco.
Don't get me wrong. I don't have a big beef with the Orthodox Church. My problem is that I have big, juicy love for so much Catholic stuff that I'm a little confused about who I really am. I thought I was Orthodox, and that maybe I was one of the people God would use to build a bridge between the two. But it doesn't seem like many people really want that bridge. And that I have to pick ONE. I don't want to pick one.
Let me ask you a question. If you didn't know I was Orthodox, based only on what you read here, what would you think I am? Just tell me the truth. No answer is too out-there for me to take.
Someone very important to me told me that I was Anglican! I'll qualify that by saying Anglican Catholic! I'm beginning to wonder if she didn't have a point.
I almost want to give up religion, but I happen to think religion is important. I like church now. There was a time I didn't. I love the Eucharist, and have no intention of living my life without it, though I almost want to fast from the sacrament in protest of our lack of unity. But I need the Eucharist. It was the reason I converted, make no mistake about it. It was the Eucharist, and the sense that I'd be safe from the insanity of my youth and the horrid theology that marked it. I just wish I didn't have to declare that I belong to anything. But isn't that a cop out? Because I do belong to something. The Eastern Orthodox Church. So why do I feel like a Roman Catholic trapped in the Eastern Orthodox Chruch? No one is more surprised than me of this Catholic desire welling up in me.
I don't know what to do. It's like I've fallen in love with another man while I'm married. And because I've done that, I can tell you it hurts like hell. Literally. And I'm not the only one hurt by it.
I want to belong to all Christians, and have them belong to me. And you know what? I know all about the importance of sound doctrine. Believe me! I know why it matters. I'm just weary now of the fights over the things that don't matter all that much. And because this change is so painful to me, it makes me reluctant to drag my kids along. My son said, "So we're going to be Catholic now," like I'm going through some kind of religious flavor of the month. And that's horrible!!!! I had no idea what to tell him. And what if I do change? It makes me leary of publicly letting anybody know "what I am." I'm skittish about privately letting anybody know now. Maybe I'll be like Linda in Zora and Nicky. She's a traveling Christian. She just goes around from place to place with her brothers and sisters in Christ. Belonging to all. Belonging to none. But I'd wear better clothes. You have to read Zora and Nicky to know what I mean about Linda and her clothes. But I digress.
What grieves me the most is this: Jesus never meant for His body to be broken. He's still praying for our unity. He's still waiting for the answer to his prayers.
Lord, have mercy.
In deep grief,