A very personal post (about religion)

One topic I usually avoid discussing is religion. My avoidance isn’t really because I don’t want to get into disagreements with people or because I’m uncomfortable with the topic, but because it’s such an intimately personal topic for me. My religious journey, it seems, is ever-ongoing. So why am I writing about it right now? Honestly, I don’t know.

First and foremost, I am Christian. I was “saved” as a child in the Baptist denomination, then belonged to a non-denominational church with a bib overall-wearing pastor while growing up. As a young adult, I fell away from church attendance. The 9/11 attacks, though, brought me (and a lot of other people) to church again. I became a member of the United Methodist Church then and was so happy there.

(Sidenote – my father is big into ancestry and all of our ancestors were Roman Catholic. As a result, I grew up traipsing around the grounds of Saint Meinrad Archabbey. My father had a deep fascination with the Catholic Church despite the fact that he was Methodist.)

Anyway, I moved around a bit as a young adult and eventually had to leave my UM church behind because I left the state. Once I settled again, I met and fell in love with the man who is now my husband. He was staunchly Catholic. There was no budging on this and he made it clear that if we had children, they, too, would be Catholic. Because I always had a healthy respect for the RCC, I began exploring the idea of conversion. This led me to the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) and eventual baptism into the Catholic Church. For four years, I was utterly happy within the RCC. I grew in my relationship with God more than ever before. I prayed the rosary, had a special affinity for the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, participated in Eucharistic Adoration, and even developed and ran my own blogging site about life as a Catholic woman and wife.

And then… something changed. I can’t pinpoint what it was, but it seemed to change at the same time for my husband. We were happy in the Catholic Church where I was baptized, but once we moved back to the city I had lived in long before, we became weary. I honestly believe it was because each and every week, the homily, instead of being about topics to help us live our lives better as Catholics and Christians, was all about abortion. Week after week, the mantra was “abortion is bad, abortion is terrible, we must stop abortion.” Regardless of a pro-life or pro-choice stance, it got old. As a married couple unable to conceive, this weekly lecture became tedious. My spiritual well slowed to a trickle and eventually ran dry. So we’d go to a different church, only to have the same thing happen. I was no longer being spiritually fed. I was no longer feeling Jesus in my life. The prayers became nothing more than rote mumblings before they stopped completely. And then I walked away for good.

One Sunday afternoon, approximately 6 months after we stopped going to Mass, my husband said, “So tell me about these Protestants.” We talked for a while and he told me that he’d like to attend a service. Because I know him and what he likes, I took him back to the same United Methodist Church that I’d belonged to ten years before. He instantly fell in love. In no time at all, we were Methodists. I removed my rosary collection, took down our crucifixes, removed our holy water font, stopped my reading of books by Mother Angelica, and we left the Catholic Church. We ignored my mother-in-law’s declarations that we were hellfire bound and found new spiritual life. Three years later, we’re still members of the UMC. I’m free from the things I never really found comfort with in the Catholic Church (confession to a priest, the heavy emphasis on Mary, the heavy focus on abortion at the expense of absolutely everything else going on in the world) and find myself moved to tears by the amazing sermons of our gifted pastor.

I say all the time that I don’t miss anything about the Catholic Church but that’s not entirely true. The music was reverent and beautiful. I was never more at peace than when I sat in total silence for an hour during Eucharistic Adoration. I miss my intense passion for reading all things about the RCC, volunteering with religious orders, and spending time talking to nuns, who are among the bravest and strongest women I have ever met. The thing I miss most, though, is the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. One particular version of it is done in song and it is among the most beautiful prayers I’ve ever heard. Recently, I decided that I was going to start praying this again, whether I’m Catholic or not. The bottom line is that I’m Christian and I find immense peace and comfort when praying it. It calms my tired soul when nothing else seems to work.

So all of this leads me to the video posted below. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy in prayer is too beautiful not to share with those who might find comfort from it, regardless of the church they’ll attend on Sunday.

Chaplet of Divine Mercy in song – EWTN from Ralph J. Pensiero on Vimeo.

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