Friday, June 12, 2009

Amazing Grace

If you know me, you know that I was raised Roman Catholic, went to catholic school until the 5th grade, and was confirmed against my will at 13.

Sometime between ages 9 – 11 I realized that I was not a Christian. When I told my family I was forced to continue to go to CCD (Sunday school, but not on Sundays) and was confirmed event though I expressed my wish to not be confirmed to my parents, CCD teacher, and priest.

My mother finally apologized a few years ago for making me go through with it and I feel like I have made my peace with that.

When I was in catholic school I sang in the church choir on Sundays and attended mass with my school on Wednesdays. For years I went to mass twice a week. 

It’s been well over 10 years since I’ve been to church regularly and I recently realized how ingrained the mass was in me when I attended a catholic funeral complete with a full mass. I remembered the entire mass word for word including all the words to the songs that I sang so many years ago at school.

It’s always a bit awkward now to go to church, I know all the priests lines, I know the congregations reply’s, I know all the prayers, but I feel like a traitor if I participate because they are not my own beliefs and convictions. So I sit quietly, I bow my head when I need to and I use the time to reflect on my own beliefs. But the songs get me every time.

As we were filing out of the pews the other day the final song was “Here I am lord” a song I have always loved. As I sang a caught the eye of a tearful mourner as she walked past and she smiled and winked at me. I’m glad I could help ease her pain.

“Here I am lord” may be meant for followers of the Christian faith but I see my own beliefs and truths in it, and although not all the lines are to my liking I find the song oddly comforting and all encompassing of the faiths that are and have been mine. Now if I can only do something about that pesky Catholic Conscience.

 

Here I am Lord

I, the Lord of sea and sky,
I have heard my people cry.
All who dwell in dark and sin,
My hand will save.

Chorus
Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.

I, who made the stars of night,
I will make their darkness bright.
Who will bear my light to them?
Whom shall I send?

Chorus

I, the Lord of snow and rain,
I have borne my people’s pain.
I have wept for love of them.
They turn away.

Chorus

I will break their hearts of stone,
Give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak my words to them.
Whom shall I send?

Chorus

I, the Lord of wind and flame,
I will send the poor and lame.
I will set a feast for them.
My hand will save.

Chorus

Finest bread I will provide,
'Til their hearts be satisfied.
I will give my life to them.
Whom shall I send?

Chorus

5 comments:

Emmers said...

I have cried many times to that song. I believe it was played at my grandfather's funeral as well. Which I was actually thinking about and I still cry thinking about it even though its been 11 years since he passed.

I stopped going to mass in high school. We went to Agape on Wednesday evenings and were supposed to be in mass before but I hung out outside most of the evening.

Every once in a while I still go to mass with my family: Christmas, Easter...thats about it. Its more of a tradition and kind of like a game when I go to mass and I get a kick out of the fact that I still know everything. I could not say the act of contrition if my life depended on it on my own but as soon as the voices start I know my line and can follow along with everyone else.

Somehow for me Catholism is less of a faith and more of a family tradition which I enjoy partaking in from time to time.

Little Sarita said...

I, on the other hand, was baptized Presbyterian - though I could not for the life of me tell you what exactly that means. All I remember of it was that as kids, we got to leave the service early and go to this play room and have apple juice and graham crackers.

When my grandmother guilt-trips me into going to church (she's Roman Catholic), not only do I have the awkward feeling that I should not be there because I don't follow their beliefs, but I don't have the slightest clue what is going on. I don't understand what the priest says, and I still haven't the foggiest idea how everyone knows what page to turn to. (Want a funny story? Ask me about the time my grandmother called me a heathen).

Holidays aren't too hard for me. At Christmastime I LOVE giving presents and I can enjoy the music - in small doses (Michael's flashbacks!), and Easter? Well, that's the spring festival! I like Santa Claus and the Easter bunny, and... I love you, granny, but the whole Lent thing and not eating meat on Fridays (or is it Sundays) just doesn't cut it for my lifestyle.

You're not alone, honey. *hugs*

Miss Malbec said...

my family never goes to mass, they don't even go on Christmas and easter. so i never understood what the fuss was all about when i decided it was not for me.

my father, having grown up in a country that did not allow religion has no idea what happens at mass and has never received the sacraments except for baptism. he says he's Christian because the rest of the family is, but really? i think thats a lame reason.

Lauren said...

My in laws are very Catholic. I only attend Christmas mass because the spring flowers at Easter give me a migraine :)

I, too, feel awkward going because I am not even Christian. It makes for horrible conversation afterwards.

"why didn't you go up for communion?"
"I'm not catholic"
"Where were you baptized?"
"never was. I go to the UU Church now"
"Oh.. THAT church"

Miss Malbec said...

people are weird.

it's probably those stupid stargazer lily's that are giving you the headache. i wish people would realize that those flowers should never be using in weddings, churches, or near food. they smell bad and the pollen gets everywhere.