Leila posed the question "How did you come to know and really live your faith?".
She asked if "you were raised and catechized well by very devout parents" or if "you were a cradle Catholic raised in general ignorance of the Faith who later figured things out"or if "you are a convert".
As I read Leila's second option, I felt like someone else finally got it; like it wasn't just me, feeling like I'd totally missed something (over and over again for 30 years).
I absolutely fall into the cradle Catholic raised in general ignorance of the Faith, but I wouldn't by any means say I've figured it out. I'd say by the Grace of God I'm figuring it out.
Let me go back and I'll share how I've come to be where I am now.
I was baptized at 6 weeks of age into the Catholic Faith. I attended Mass regularly on Sundays with my family, and upon entering public Kindergarten, I also began CCD classes on Sundays after Mass. The only time I remember discussing God or Catholicism outside of Mass or CCD was during my First Reconciliation and First Communion preparation when my Dad and I did my homework each week on the living room floor together. That Fall, my parents separated and in March of 1988, divorced. We continued going to Mass and CCD with Mom, but on our weekends with Dad, we only went to CCD. I remember hearing talk of an Annulment, but I didn't know what it meant and through the years only learned that it angered my Dad enough that he walked away from the Catholic Church. It wasn't until I was in college that I learned what an Annulment truly meant.
In Eighth grade, I was Confirmed, though I remember very little of the prep classes or anything other than that Confirmation mean receiving the Holy Spirit (whatever that was). I knew the Holy Spirit was one part of the Holy Trinity, but I had no real understanding other than that.
In High School, I stopped attending CCD and started fighting with Mom about attending Mass. She rarely gave in, but never gave a reason for needing to go other than, "You have to go to Mass." Once I started college, I still identified myself as a Catholic, but I certainly didn't act like one. I rarely went to Mass, I never went to confession, yet I received Eucharist when I did go to Mass. A few times during college, I tried to get reenergized about my Catholic Faith, but it never really worked out, for one reason excuse or another. I do recall returning to Mass one Sunday after many months of not attending and the parable of "The Prodigal Son" was read. I cried many tears that Sunday, and though I walked away again, I credit that day for showing me that I could indeed return home once again.
When The Man and I started talking about our future and marriage came up, I told him that if we had children I wanted to raise them Catholic and that he didn't have to become Catholic, but that he had to support my decision to raise them Catholic (which in my head just meant going to Mass, and in my actions meant going to Mass when I felt like it). He agreed to come to Mass with me and find out just what this Catholic thing was all about.
To be continued...