Monday, April 11, 2005

An Introduction to Five Lenten Gospels

Sundays in Lent

This past Lenten season (2005,) I decided my Lenten duty would be to pay attention to the Gospels, “crack them open,” as they say, and put my reflections to poetry.

It’s been an interesting task.

I’m not a literal believer in any part of the Hebrew, or Christian Scriptures. In fact, I’m so off-the-charts as a Catholic that I can’t – in good faith – recite the Creed. The Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, the judgment of the living and the dead, in their literal sense are all too much for me. Truth be told, Jesus Christ as the “only Son of God, our Savior,” is also further than I care to go.

How in the world can a person who doesn’t accept JC as Son of God, and Savior call himself a Catholic?

Good question.

I was born into a Catholic family, baptized, and confirmed as a Catholic, brought up as a Catholic, educated in Catholic schools – how could I be anything but a Catholic? Sure, sure, “cultural Catholic.” Yes, but it’s much deeper than that.

When I came back to the Church, at age 50, after 36 years of wondering if I could be a Catholic, I was told I was reentering a family, and like most – if not all – families, dysfunctional, and I had to accept this, and work with it. The other side of the coin was that the Church (or at least my Parish) would accept me – dysfunctional, by Her definition or mine, as I may be, and work with me. I thought that was a pretty good deal.

This, I do believe, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." The time I spend practicing my brand of Catholicism is my opportunity to discover, and/or contemplate what those things may be. And, there is community here, which I respect and love; and the communal rituals move me toward goodness.

The argument as to what is literal truth and what is metaphor I leave to others because I have, for the time being, anyway, decided for myself.

So, my reflections on the Lenten Gospels will not stand up to any orthodox evaluation, but I’ve found the process to be a blessing, and quite challenging – and, whatever I have written continues as process in an unorthodox but sincere practice.


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