A twelve year old goes to a Catholic church for the first time.

My youngest daughter came to Mass this evening. It was her first time, and I was interested to see what she would make of it. She was wide eyed and attentive, as my church is very different to her own bare walled Protestant hall. She engaged with everything, joining in the prayers and responses, the standing, the kneeling, the gestures.

She has even finally managed to remember how to do the sign of the cross. I debated internally about what to do when it came to the communion line. I don’t go up myself, as I only want to go up that aisle when I am about to receive Jesus, but she was really engaged and there were other children going up for a blessing. So I explained the way for her to hold her arms and she went up on her own. She came back beaming all over her face, it was a joy.

At the end of Mass she told me she was sorry it was over. I took her to see the Sacred Heart statue, and then we visited the statue of Our Lady, lit a candle and prayed for a lady in her church who died on Thursday at the age of 98. We asked Mary to pray for her and bring her safely to Jesus.

My girl was buzzing as we departed the church, babbling happily about how amazing she thought it was. She loved the peace, the moments of quiet, the way everyone joined in. Interesting that a 12 year old doesn’t need flashing lights and rock bands to connect to church!


The pursuit.

I’m tiptoeing along a line between self condemnation and honesty. On the one hand, I’m not praying enough, reading enough, making the most of my time.

On the other, I am attending Mass twice weekly, working faithfully at my job, doing all I can to support my family emotionally, financially and practically.

And yet.

While I am endeavouring not to beat myself up, things are not as they really should be.

In all honesty, I am more religious than most of the people of my acquaintance by a very long way, but I know in my heart of hearts that I am not engaged in the way I really need to be.

I do not pursue holiness with any kind of vigour. I am spiritually flabby, lazy, content to let things slide. I have fallen into bad habits, choosing the easy fast food spiritual hamburger over the focused process of creating a meal from scratch and then mindfully eating it.

It will not do. I cannot find myself in five years lamenting so many wasted opportunities when it is in my gift to change.

Moreover, not only does He require it of me, Christ gives me all I need, including His Spirit, to accomplish the task.

It will not be completed in my lifetime, I know. To be holy is the work of many years and trials. But that must not stop me. I must not retreat into the bland, empty distractions of this world when the multifaceted, rainbow coloured reality of God’s eternity is being held out before me. I must reach for it, yes, but He both holds it steady for me, and boosts me up to it.

God help me. God help us all.

Lent truly begins.

I find myself inexplicably sad. Lent has well and truly begin for me, at this point of the second Sunday. I’ve had a hard three days at work, both with intense busyness and odd and unpleasant behaviour from co-workers. It has left me feeling bruised and unsure of myself.

Last Sunday was the Rite of Election at the Cathedral, and it was emotionally dreadful. I didn’t really know what to expect, and my family came along too. My nerves were difficult to deal with, but my family’s behaviour was worse. The children were perhaps unsurprising in their discomfort at being in a traditional liturgical church setting, but my husband shocked me with his antipathy. I found it an awful, dispiriting experience.

Last night I spent some time pondering how or if I would make an announcement about my entry into the Church at Easter. It is a ticklish business and I am really unsure how to proceed. I am feeling very isolated right now and it is really unsettling. I suspect, though, that it is a necessary part of the spiritual journey of both Lent, and becoming Catholic.

Another step approaches.

Hello all. It has been quite some time since I updated, largely due to simply not being online very much. I have a paid job, a home to run and four kids to raise – life is very busy!

But as the hamster wheel whizzes on, I thought I would take a few minutes out and actually write something. Next weekend I shall be taking my family on a coach trip to the local cathedral, where I will meet the bishop. I believe this is called the Rite of Election, so, another significant moment on the journey. I am nervous for a number of reasons. Firstly, there is the gravity of the situation. Then there is the simple logistical headache of knowing what I am supposed to be doing. And then there is the presence of my children, only three of whom are even Christian.

I have made very good friends at RCIA, which is encouraging, and the discussions are certainly livelier now.

Oh, and I was called a ‘Rabid Catholic’ on Twitter today, presumably as a means of belittling me, even though what I had said was completely unrelated to my faith or morals. ( It was a cookery comment!) The world is a very odd place!!

A good mix

One of the things worth knowing about me is that I am very fond of Christmas. Right now, the house is bedecked and festive, the Christmas tree twinkling in the corner, and I couldn’t be happier.

It is a week to the Rite of Catechumens, and Father Craig thinks that while I can attend, I don’t need to go through the rite again as last year’s should suffice.

Work is unbelievably hard. It’s physical, intense work, and I am on my feet for hours on end. I have had no time at all to plan and organize anything for Christmas at all. We have just had a family funeral.

But. And it is a significant ‘but’. I am so happy right now. My kids are healthy, decent individuals. I have a home, food and clothing. It is December and there is snow on the ground and that is as it should be. My family are rallying round and doing all the Christmas things that I normally do.

Spiritually, I am where I really want to be. I mean, there is always more to do in holiness, but I am absolutely on the right path.

Life isn’t a linear thing, sometimes good, sometimes bad. It is an intermingling of good and bad at the same time.


Not quite right

I have faced a little conundrum in the past couple of weeks. Work has been very busy, but by and large, fun and productive. Despite some of my Rota clashing with RCIA, I have been able to adjust things with my boss so I can get there. I miss Adoration at 6.30, but manage the 7pm Mass. I am usually dog tired, and often hungry, but it is good to be there.

But it is less good when I know full well that one of the priests is teaching error. I think he doesn’t mean to, he gets carried away with himself, but I am absolutely sure that what he was teaching wasn’t true. He said that if a Catholic finds themselves in a place where there is no Catholic church, that Catholic may receive communion in an Anglican church, because the Anglicans have valid communion.

I haven’t been able to talk to him or the other priests to clarify this in the weeks after it was said, but I am going to try and bring it up when I can.

It leads me to thinking that I really must have my head screwed on properly as a Catholic, and tread the fine line between listening to my teachers with obedience, and taking responsibility for my own soul.

Catching up

Greetings fair readers, sorry to have gone dark for a few weeks. I have been adjusting to the massive culture shock of working four days a week. I am utterly exhausted. I have two more days to do this week and then I have three days off, including my birthday on Saturday.

The work is pretty intense and physical, with a very high customer service focus. I enjoy it, but I am totally drained by six hours straight without a break.

I have been to RCIA for the past two weeks, tired and worn down, but I have been present. I feel like I am struggling to fit everything in my life right now, work, volunteering, church, grocery shopping, parenting, housework…

But we plod on. RCIA tomorrow evening, straight after work, and I  hoping to get out of work early enough to get to the Mass beforehand. I am running on empty, but I’m hoping things will settle by the time Christmas comes.

I’ll let you know how RCIA goes tomorrow when I can, probably at the weekend. Tatty bye!