My Faith Journey, Part 1 and Part 2.
Through the course of the Bible Study with my girlfriends, I learned that Proverbs has 31 Chapters and is a great place to start with 1 chapter a day according to the date of the month (just don't start with Chapter 30, it's a tough one to live up to). I purchased 2 bibles (neither a Catholic bible, I figured most of the books was OK, right? YIKES!) One was a women's devotional bible that I still refer to and one was a great study bible complete with maps and a concordance (I do wish my Catholic Study bible had one of those, I think I'll keep those pages before I donate it). I asked the question "What is Grace?" and wasn't laughed at. (Grace is God doing through me what I am unable to do myself.) And I stumbled across Ecclesiastes 3:1, and I clung to it as The Man moved back to Morgantown and I stayed in Martinsburg waiting for our home to sell. While The Man was in Morgantown, he attended Mass sporadically with my family and I attended Mass sporadically and also went to church with my girlfriends. And I started feeling a pull back to the Catholic Church, but I didn't know why and I was nervous that when I was finally able to move to Morgantown I wouldn't 'like' the Priest at our Parish and would not want to attend (see all about me, I clearly didn't get it yet).
I finally followed The Man to Morgantown at the end of summer, 2008. It took us more than 6 weeks to attend Mass, we had all sorts of reasons excuses, but we finally went. And I instantly felt at home. I loved the Priest and we began attending Mass regularly for the first time in our married life. I still didn't know why we did what we did during Mass or any of the history of the church (in fact, I still don't, but I'm learning). And then, I was asked to teach the children's RCIA class. I prayed about it and reviewed the workbook and figured, I could do it (sadly, it was about the level at which I was ready to learn and as a teacher, I truly believe you learn something the best by teaching it to others). I had so many 'oh, so that's why we do that' moments as I would prepare each week and I so enjoyed working with the children. I was so proud when at the Easter Vigil they were baptized. Looking back, maybe I wasn't ready to teach such a class, but I will say I prepared each week for our class so that I would be prepared for it.
Over the next few months, life got hard for me. I've shared a little with you all about how lost I felt and it was through these months that the part of me that was a lukewarm believer really started to take over. I began using the concordances in the bibles I had and found strength in God's words. I also searched out and found this amazing blogging community and learned so much from so many of you who are reading these words now. I started to learn just what it means to be Catholic, and I fell in love with this Faith that I've been a part of but barely understood my whole life.
This past fall, I was presented the opportunity to teach the 9th grade Religious Education class and I thought to myself, can I do this? Am I ready? Do I know enough? After prayer, and reassurance that the classes were based on the Lectionary and came with a workbook, I figured it was worth a try (and I had a coteacher with lots of experience). I remembered what my CCD classes were and were not and it was my goal to create a different atmosphere for these 9th grade young adults who would be making their Confirmation next year. What I learned was that, if the parents aren't putting an emphasis on Religious Education, the children don't either. And I was saddened to realize that a new generation is getting the same type of Lukewarm Catholicism that I got. But I was given hope by the student in our class who knew more than I did; who could have taught the class herself; but who enjoyed having discussions with me.
And then I decided I'd had it with the way Birth Control was making me feel and The Man and I were invited to attend a Catholic Faith Sharing group of Graduate Students and Young Professionals. These two seemingly small things, in hindsight, were the catalyst to where I am now.
To be continued...