Saturday, June 21, 2008

Faith, Part One


I never saw a Moor --
I never saw the Sea --
Yet know I how the Heather looks
And what a Billow be.

I never spoke with God
Nor visited in Heaven --
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the Checks were given--

Emily Dickinson, 1865

As a child, I was raised in the Catholic faith, and I was a fervent believer. I drank it in, I believed it all, I revered the Church. The mysteries of Mass, the poetry of the Bible, the grouped voices singing the hymns, the solemn look of those who received the Eucharist all enthralled me. I had no doubt that all the teachings of the Church were true, were absolute Truth.

Then, my parents' marriage fell apart, or rather, my mother decided to stop trying to hold it together. And the Church, once a refuge and a place of belonging, suddenly became a source of condemnation and rejection. I began to see it was, at its root, a collection of people, led by an old-fashioned, strict priest who did not approve of my mother's divorce, and seeing how they withheld support for her at a time when she needed it most, I began to wonder if the Church was all that I had believed.

At first, I questioned only our church, and the people who ran it. But soon I started delving more into the history of the Catholic Church. And the history is filled with injustices and corruption and despicable acts and very few apologies or attempts to amend. And then I began to question some of the basic tenets of the Church. In particular, the degrading of women stuck in my Child of the 70's throat. By the time I reached high school, I no longer considered myself a Catholic.

But that did not mean I did not believe. I rejected all the proofs and shackles of the Catholic Church, but the underpinnings, God, the Bible, the Holy Trinity, I was as assured of as ever. I just didn't want to go through priests--those wrinkled, dried-up old men of my childhood, what did they know of life?--to get to it all.

And for a while, a good while, I was content. I had my faith, and it was strong and unquestioned, and I did not need pointless rules to get in the way. Until I went down a different path.

to be continued

1 comment:

lizardrinking said...

tantaliser...I'm following you down that path, sistah! BTW, when I read the poem, Moor in my mind was the Spanish term for Muslims... it gave a different tilt to the poem, and maybe to the underpinning of the post? So glad to see you back.