A DARK FEW DAYS
The last few days have been very dark for me. I go through specific periods where I become fed up of religion altogether. An incredible indifference towards the Church, priests, laity and prayer or going to Mass washes over me.
I can’t even face Jesus as I become so upset with who I am, what I am and can’t last more than 2 minutes in his presence. My sins begin to weigh heavy on me. The Cross I carry becomes so unbearable that I long for my old way of living.
Like a cog turns the wheel keeping the machine in operation, thoughts keep my brain awake at night. I meditate about how my conversion wasn’t real, it can’t be if I’m such a sinner. The burden of having to hang out with the extreme left and right-wing mindset in the Church is so overwhelming.
I configure a solution in my mind that if I just pass off my conversion as a moment of “madness”, then perhaps I could return to the old me. “I was just mad, crazy and stupid and should never have gotten involved in the Church at all” are thoughts that keep my very soul under lock and key.
The old me loved to drink, party and have sex with whomever I liked. I wasn’t tied down to anyone or anything. I ruminate that If I go back to that, I won’t have to deal with these strange religious people. It will prove that I never was called by anyone into the Church, and that is was all just a big joke.
I’ll tear down my icon wall, sell all the religious books that I’ve accumulated over the years and start over. Where will I begin? I’ll be that person that believed there’s some kind of maker up there, but I’ll keep my distance from searching for who it is. I’ll stay here in my comfort zone of drink, sex, playing some rock and roll and being the scavenger I once was.
Isn’t religion supposed to be about peace? Isn’t it supposed to bring me resolve? Then why do I feel anything but that? Instead, I’ve met more pain being involved with these middle to upper-class fools than I’ve ever had with the junkies and the blue-collar type at my local pub.
Their IQ – like my own – may go no higher than the national speed limit but at least they’d give you to the shirt off their back. They’re not strange or weird, and I get more lessons of what it means to be Christlike from them than I do those BMW driving yuppies in my parish. Even Gandhi lamented he couldn’t become Christian because none of them seemed to be Christlike at all, so why bother?
A FEW MINUTES OF LIGHT
It is at this point I’m looking at the Cross of Jesus and being reminded that Christianity is not just about moments of peace, but pain also. It was, after all, religious people who crucified Jesus. The people who worshipped him day and night calling out his name were the ones resolved to kill him.
As these thoughts arise within me, the darkness begins to slowly lift and dissipate. If I want to go off into the world again, I’ll just run into pain and hardship of a more severe kind. Wherever I go, pain and heartache will follow. There is no liberation or happiness in the freedom to do what one pleases.
Satisfying the urges of the body as a means to deal with the pain is not happiness, but joy or thrill short-lived. No, I’ve been running from my problems my whole life. Like Jesus, I must face the Cross before me and experience the pain of the Crucifixion. I must become crucified to the world accepting the heartache that accompanies change of soul and character.
Perhaps my conversion was not a moment of madness after all. What I’m experiencing now, on the other hand, certainly is a time of manic behaviour. Even so, the craving for the old me and disillusionment with the Church is ever-present.
Like a tiger who sits day and night waiting for his prey to come down from the tree to forage in the jungle of the pleasure-loving world, Satan awaits me. I have a choice laid before me: I either give in to temptation or I remain where I am and accept how my life has unfolded.