Hey man, when did you get so ‘Jesusy’?
I suppose this is a terrible question to be asked when you’ve always thought yourself a Catholic, but; nonetheless, this is a question an old college roommate asked me tonight. I’m glad he asked me, It’s a humbling question, which causes one to step back and assess his life. A question that allows one to check their righteousness at the door and remind themselves of their sinful nature. When my roommate and I went to college together, I sinned without apology. Now, I was certainly no St. Augustine of Hippo or Thomas Merton, but I certainly lusted over women, guilty of being a sloth, and generally immoral to God’s truth. I will certainly attest that I was persuaded by the liberalism that was promoted by the college; however, it was still me that choosing any and all actions.
Of course, some of this I couldn’t explain to him, although he was baptized a Catholic, he is an admitted Atheist, my answer which is written all through this blog would simply fall on deaf ears. Now, could he have been asking for God? Perhaps, but what I gathered from his questioning was, “What happened to my friend?”
I told him something of this nature: “I suppose it’s difficult to answer. I’ve always claimed to be Catholic, even though I was very poor at it at times. However, my moral foundation even if I was led astray has always been rooted in Catholicism, I’m pro-life, pro-Traditional marriage, I donate to the poor. etc. During the period, I attempted to substitute my identity with politics that ended up just making me cynical about life. I lived in a society that labeled me a bigot for having the morals of my faith–so I decided my faith was the only logical place for me.
I read Psalm 23 earlier today before I began praying the rosary. I think it explains very well why I turned fully to God when the world had made me a cynic.
Psalm 23 RSV
23 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want;
2 he makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters;[a]
3 he restores my soul.[b]
He leads me in paths of righteousness[c]
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,[d]
I fear no evil;
for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff,
they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
thou anointest my head with oil,
my cup overflows.
6 Surely[e] goodness and mercy[f] shall follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
My cynical soul needed to be restored, but it could only be done so with Christ. I kept trying to fill the hole in my soul with political identity; however, it was futile. In the Gospel of John 4:14 it states:
14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
When my sister spoke hurtful words toward Christianity, I simply said to her: ” I may be seen as ignorant or superstitious, but I am at peace with it.” A sentiment that could be more easily said to a family member than an old friend.
My friend may think it odd that I have committed fully to God, but as I can explain to you who read this blog. It took me a long time to learn the lesson of 1 Corinthians 6:19:
19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own;
But alas, I told my friend from almost a decade ago, we can still listen to music, dance, and drink beers (although I may have a Trappist beer), but I will choose to live my life according to God’s commands who expects me to live by honoring the dignity of myself and others. I’m to do this all while giving thanks to the Lord, our God.
It’s certainly an odd feeling to perceive oneself not as the Charles Ryder, but as a Flyte in your own personal story.