Amidst the increasing turmoil in the world, politically, spiritually, culturally and scientifically; one stands out from the others in an amazing way. Our spiritual well-being (read: faith) is the singular aspect of our life that we completely and unequivocally determine, ourselves.
Faith, you see, is created and lives inside each of us, if we allow it there. Free Will, the gift God gave us, empowers us to choose for ourselves, what we believe, how we think, how we act, and ultimately, how we live… Forever.
Growing up as a Catholic, I was taught that “Church” was a holy place and a place of
worship. That is still true today, however, my view of Church has matured to realize that in the entirety of religion and faith, Church is funadamentally, a place. In my truth of the world, Prayer is very important, however, I believe one can pray anywhere.
We are doing ourselves a great disservice by creating an imaginary boundary by thinking we are only allowed to pray, to exercise our faith, to grow as Spiritual Beings of God, in a particular place.
“The reality is that prayer can be exercised ANYWHERE, and all that is required is that your mind is properly prepared, that your mindset is pure, humble and in reverence to the Holiness of God. And when you begin to pray, place is inconsequential, immaterial and irrelevant. What IS essential, is the the intent in your heart, the authenticity of your thoughts, and the determination to follow-through on your conversation with God.”
To a large degree, all organized religions have their own self-induced boundaries, limitations, rules and expectations for followers to behaviorally exhibit as requirements to “belong”. While reverence and tradition are certainly important, they are, specific to each religion, intended to control your thoughts and behavior, and fundamentally, keep you coming back, in a survival type of mentality.
With no disrespect intended, I find that demoralizing, overbearing and unnecessary. To clarify, I proclaim myself a Christian, rather than a Catholic. As evidenced in the world today, Satan has wormed his way into Catholicism, the Papal Office and yes, even the Church, i.e., the Holy Place of Worship.
As a Christian, I am a Christ-follower. I rely on the Free Will, the intent of my Heart and the Goodness in my Soul, to direct my faith, including when and where I pray. My foundation is the Bible, not a physical place, but rather, a Supernatural Space.
Indeed, time will tell for each of us… God Bless and Be Well. Pray, because your eternal life depends upon it.
Certainly worth the wait….
Yet there comes a time in each of our lives when we reach a plateau of sorts that represents a plane of existence, comprising our ideals, core values, fervent beliefs and yes, religious and political advocacy. You may reach the plateau at any age, however, typically, and more often than not, it will be some time after you’re out of the K-12 school system.
“Truly, it is completely normal and entirely expected that we will (and should) be challenged about our beliefs, for it is in these “Moments of Truth” when we learn more about who are; as sons and daughters, as husbands and wives, as mothers and fathers… most importantly, as spiritual beings. For if our beliefs are never or seldom challenged, we lose focus, motivation, self-awareness and yes, direction in our lives.”
And without question, my childhood was no exception. Born and raised a Catholic, I regularly attended church, was educated for five years in a Parochial elementary school, served as an Altar Boy, learned the Mass in Latin, and of course, was instructed in the constructs, requirements, expectations and directives of living as a Catholic.
I began to seriously question, for lack of a better word, the validity of Catholicism as contrasted to other “alternatives” within the Grand scheme of the world, even universe. Keeping in mind this is MY personal journey; upon inquiry, discussion, research and comparison, the Catholic Religion emphasized an inordinately large amount on finances/”dues”, spent an equally small amount of time on the Bible, and ubiquitously created the mental hierarchy of Church, Priest, Catholicism and lastly, Jesus Christ (in that order). Needless to say, this troubled me in a deep and huge way.
And then, I began to read the Bible on my own. I began to personally experience Jesus Christ in the most wholesome, reverent and meaningful way, like I had never envisioned before. It was as if I had just discovered that Santa Claus (Catholic Church) was not the real deal. It caused me to feel betrayed, angered, frightened and anxious about my future. In short, it challenged my core values to the point of nearly destroying my sense of self, value and being.
I have always been, and am, however, a Survivor. Throughout my life, I’ve trusted my instincts and my gut, to analyze, make decisions and move forward in my mortal journey. Truthfully, my transformation from Catholicism to Christianity occurred well into my 30’s, as it simply took my faith that long to mature. And I remain confident in my path, who I am, who is Jesus Christ, what our relationship has become, and what my expectations are of myself to effectively and successfully live life as a Christian and Child of God.
Am I perfect? HARDLY. I struggle, like everyone else, with the sins of humanity. Yet, that realization does not hinder nor prevent me from striving with every breath I take, to live my life in His image. Do I have guilt as a father for not having done a better “job” raising my children as Christians? EVERY DAY. Yet, that reality, when examined, yields the conclusion and belief that every human being has a Free Will and uses it to form their own thoughts, make their own decisions, create their own behaviors, future and certainly, their personal accountability for their life.
As a father, I provided the toolbox and attempted to teach my children (and myself) how to use the tools of life; compassion, integrity, accountability, motivation, enthusiasm, reverence, humility and forgiveness. Now, it is their choice which tools to use and how to use them; or whether to use them.
Does the Catholic Church serve a purpose? Absolutely, as a resource about Jesus Christ, history, self-discipline and community. My most trusted reference, however, is the Bible, for it represents the unequivocal “Word of God” and when viewed holistically, is the ultimate Book of Life.
I am a Christian and I live to become exclusively like Jesus Christ. There is no other. I humbly ask that you pray for me as a Christian to continue down the righteous path. God Bless You all in finding yourself; in finding Peace, Love, Joy; in finding your Savior and Salvation. There is definitely something in the water. Be well.