Here we are on the cusp of the holiest week in the Christian calendar. Holy Week. What does Holy Week mean to you? For me, traditionally, it has meant a week of prayer and chruch. In the last few years it has been a source of uncertainty for me because of the hard times that my individual parish has gone through. Still deciding on where to attend for Palm Sunday Mass is even up in the air and not determined and there are only 24 hours to have that completed. My son, 17 doesn’t really know at this point whether he feels that he wants to practice the faith that has been a huge part of our lives for the past 17yrs together and the past 30something years for me. It is hard when you see someone you love struggle with their faith. It is harder yet, when intellectually you know that you must step back and allow your child to figure out his faith by himself. I remember a few years ago my mother was distraught because most of her children refused to attend Mass, but also argued that faith has nothing to do with sitting in a building on Sunday and pretending that we all love eachother and then walk out of the building and bash every family and everyone who sat beside us for an hour. Not necessarily meaning that my family did this every Sunday, but we were definitely guilty of being that way at times. I said to my mother at that time, that she gave us this gift of faith but at some point you had let them figure it out on their own because ultimately the relationship that each of us has with God is extremely personal. At the end of our life we will stand alone with God and explain our lives and what we did or didn’t do. Now facing the same situation I am having a difficult time sitting quietly by as my son struggles, because, unlike my siblings I see the pain that he has when the subject is brought up. My sisters didn’t seem to realize that when they turned their back on their relationship with God, not attending a service, but their relationship with God that life got hard and has remained hard. Does that mean that God is punishing them? Not it means that they are punishing themselves, because they have already known the love and joy of being in a relationship with God. I can say this because I am speaking from personal experience. I have gone through the lightness and joy of being secure in my relationship with God. I am also FAR too aware of the darkness when I am not. Currently I am not secure. I am suffering and that, I think makes the struggle I see my son going through even harder. The thing that I have found is that the more you try to force the relationship, the harder it is to get it back. Desperation is how I feel. I am also very sad that my son cannot even have the conversation. I know that if I continue to try I risk him running so far away that he might never find his way back. He is tired and stressed and I know that he is not mature enough to see where some of the problem lies and how it can be fixed. I do feel, however that it is time for me to stop allowing his struggle to be mine and return to church regularly. I don’t want to go alone, but as I said earlier, at the end of my life I will stand alone so why wait until then to try and make up for lost time. My faith is mine, it is not Hayden’s. His faith is his, not mine. So, even though I return with a heavy heart, for I loved sharing my faith with my son, all I can do is pray for both of us to turn into God and find the light again. I hate the division between me and my God. I can’t live through it anymore.
Where to attend. This becomes my new dilemma. I promise to delve into this situation more, but the time is not right for me. Holy Week is a time of reflection and renewal. I cannot disgrace this week with words of explanation of hate. There aren’t the right words, but I hope that by recording them, I might find some understanding of what happened because for the past two years it has eluded me completely.
I ask that everyone pray for peace and healing in the Catholic church, even if you are not Catholic. I believe we are all a family and the way we practice our faith is what speaks to our soul. Whether that is Catholicism or some other denomination. The Catholic church needs to heal, needs to fix the things that have disgraced God’s law and God’s love. I am not excusing anything that has come to light in the church, rather I would like to tear it down in order to rebuild it strong, true and morally sound. My prayer is for that, not to continue to hide behind the curtain of the cloth, it is time to heal and reunite and care for those who have been wounded by our actions or non-actions.
I pray too that I will be able to reach that part of my soul that is hurting with the emptiness of not having the relationship that I have had and want back so badly.
I pray that however you plan to worship this week and leading into the three days of prayer and ultimately celebration of the resurrection of our Lord, that you find healing for any of the hurts that plague your life or your family’s life. With prayer and devotion we will all come to the light of the resurrection with joy and thanksgiving.
Until we meet again, God bless you this Holiest of Weeks.