I was not raised Catholic. My family attended and had been lectured to in Presbytarian churches and for a short time, Unitarian, but I converted while in college once I started going to the old St. George's with my dorm roommate. It fit me like a glove and I felt at home there despite my ignorance of the exotic rituals and prayers everyone else knew by heart.
When I say that I am Catholic I say it with the caveat that I am an American Catholic, which is to say I do not agree with everything that comes out of the Vatican. Sorry. I have no issue with homosexuality. Love is love, and people are lucky and blessed to find it wherever they find it. I believe that priests should be allowed to marry and that women should be accorded more prominent positions within the church structure. There's more, but let's just leave it that I realize the Pope is not doing a little jig everytime I open my mouth and declare I'm Catholic. For the totter to that teeter though, I've been told quite forcibly by my born-again in-laws that I am going straight to hell because I am Catholic. ALL catholics are going to hell--popes, Mother Theresa, the whole lot of us. So there you have it. Stock up on the roll-on deodorant.
Lent is bearing down upon us and Catholics generally give up something for those forty days, the idea being to share in the sacrifice and suffering of Christ. I've been having a difficult time with that for the past many years. I witness a lot of suffering and have some idea of the physical pain Jesus endured in those last hours. So being reminded more of the suffering in this world doesn't feel like the right thing to be doing.
Any ideas out there?? What do all of you do??
I think for lack of a light-bulb moment I'll add in activities and give of my time as opposed to giving up an activity or a food group or a habit I should give up anyway. I could volunteer at the orphanage across the river...Or, I'll try and say the rosary daily or read from A Year with C. S. Lewis, but have the sneaking suspicion that I am tailoring these activities out of what's easiest and the path of least resistance for me. Generally not such a bad way to go, but I can see I have more thinking to do. One thing is for certain though. There will be fish involved. And homemade coleslaw. And chocolate cake. Definitely chocolate cake.