Tuesday, May 30, 2006

"Do you also want to leave?" (John, 6;67)

What is your answer?
By Paul Dion, STL

Peter’s answer was another question, “ Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of Eternal Life . We have come to believe and we are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

Do you have a question as an answer? Something like, “What about my civil marriage?”, “What about my divorce?”, “What about my previous drug use?”, What about my homosexuality?”, “What about my abortion?”, “What about my birth control practices in my marriage?”, What about the money I donate to the ‘embryonic stem-cell’ research lab?”, “What about my disobedience to the Church’s teachings about the sanctity of life?”, and finally, “Why should I listen to the Church when you, Lord are no longer here?”

I have been helping Catholics and Non-Catholics alike to come to grips with Christ’s challenge for several years.

I myself have been asked, “Why don’t you go to the Anglican church?”

My answer has always been, “I have my issues with the Pope, I don’t want to have any with the Queen.”

I have friends who have gone to Eastern churches of one practice or another and seem to have done well. A classmate of mine went to the Anglican Church and became a rather well-known preacher of retreats and teacher of theology.

Finally, I have friends who have left the Catholic Church for Protestant fundamentalist communities thinking that they were going to find Christ. Actually, all they found was the Bible and a community of people who were groping around as blindly as they. They comfort themselves by developing themselves into one-issue leaders for the good of the community. When they get old and tired, the issue is left without the sound of their drum resonating through the community.

I have always been able to see Christ in the Catholic Church. I admit that I sometimes get frustrated with the politics that exist at the human level of the Church. I admit that it gets rather difficult sometimes to accommodate myself in faith in the Church and Faith in Christ.

Sometimes I get to wondering how the rules and regulations mesh with the Will of God. How am I going to know that in following the Church I am following God? How am I going to be sure that this is not another Galileo fiasco? What if we really find out someday that the moon is really made out of green cheese? How will the Church react if and when aliens really do make it here from another world? Or what if we make it there first? Will these beings know the same God that we do? What if they don’t? Better yet, what if they do? What if they know Him better than we do? Would we be jealous of them?

See, I have all these questions. I think I know the answer, but I wonder if the Church’s answer is the same. I trust that Christ has the answers, but sometimes I actually wonder if there is anyone at the higher levels who is really listening.

So, here’s what I do. I just talk to God and tell Him that it is His ball game. I figure that there is no better ball park than the Catholic Church, so I let myself go and enjoy truth as it is presented to me by the Catholic Church.

I have answered Jesus’ question often in my life. My answer has always been a clear statement, “Whether you like it or not, I’m staying.”

The nice part of deciding to stay is that I have faith that if Jesus and His Church could be around for 2,000 years, then there is more than likely still room for me for a few more years. I also believe that the drum that I am beating will be beaten by someone else when I am no longer around and the community will be assured of the eternal dimension of the Catholic Church.

I think that Jesus is still wondering what to do about me. I am getting older and I’m still around. Maybe He is confused. Maybe He is not confused, maybe He is just giving me more and more rope so that He can get more out of me than He ever got before.

Whatever it is, He and His Church are all I know, they are all I really want to know, all I want and all I need.

So I’m staying.

You can’t cry at my funeral for that.

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