It seems just when I am sadly wallowing in some selfish "woe is me" pity-party, the Lord allows other struggles to creep in make my battle with loneliness and homesickness seem like peanuts. I'm not sure that God really knows what He's doing in this case - ha! I do NOT mean that in a blasphemous manner because, of course, I know that God is awesome and knows what He's doing...always. The problem is that He seems to continually hand ME these challenges and struggles. Seriously? I got in to a discussion the other day with someone who said they were against abortion but they were pro-choice. And my response? Went something along the lines of, "I appreciate what you're saying (WHAT?) but I believe in the sanctity of life at all stages." Boy, I showed her, right? UGH! I drew a blank on what to say! I know why I'm pro-life and I know why I love and adore the Catholic Church and all of Her Sacraments but I stink at apologetics. I usually end up stammering something about having the faith of a child - in that I'm not sure how to voice what I believe but that I trust God so completely that I just believe for the sake of belief! Not to say I don't study and grow and learn and question and all of that but, at the end of the day, I just believe.
Now comes the struggle of translating this child-like faith into action because, in fact, I am not a child and I have my own children to help get in to Heaven. This means doing what I can to protect them from the ickiness of the world from secular sources like television, movies, music, and the internet. But, sadly, I'm finding that I am having to protect them more and more from those people and places that are under the banner of our Church. I'm having to do battle with their schools, their teachers, their coaches, and their priests. I mean, come on, it's me, Kelly! When I attempt to discuss my approach with my family or close friends, they always say something like "you're such a rebel" I'm truly not trying to be rebellious or disrespectful. I certainly don't claim to know everything or even a lot about the Church. I do, however, know that it boils down to me arming my children with the best opportunity for Eternal Salvation and that means going to bat (if not war) with those that are under the guise of teaching my kids religion at their
You know the ones, we must promote anti-bullying because that is what Christ would do if He were here - ok, yes, He most certainly would not do harm physically or emotionally to anyone and fighting for the protection of those affected by bullying is important. But, hey, how 'bout we start with putting Him first!? Let's go to Mass every day or at least every week! Let's not relegate the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass to "special occassions". We pay a TON of money to insure that we have a say in our children's education and we choose a Catholic school because we hope and pray that this will insure they are prepared spiritually for battles with the devil and the sometimes-evil world. So, having my 10th grader (9th grade at the time) read a foul-mouthed book which glorifies masturbation (um, hello, masturbation is a sin - not because the Church teaches that all feed good actions are bad but because masturbation is a form of sex and it is the epitomy of selfishness. It is all about making YOU feel good and has nothing to do with marital blessings! OK, I'm done, sorry) is not exactly a point that makes me want to happily send in my $630 a month in tuition payments. But, I can have a discussion with my son about this and I have and it was productive and good. Unfortunately, many, many families just keep their blinders on and feel like their kids are going to hear about it anyway so why not at a safe place like their local Catholic school? UGH and UGH!
In all seriousness, I thought that was a big enough crisis for me to handle until I got a lovely email from my younger children's
Let the battle begin...again. I thought I should sit and pray with this new development for a while so as not to go in to attack mode without thinking! I have NO IDEA what I should say or how to phrase it. I know, one thing, and this will be easy - no way are my kids attending these retreats!! They will be staying home and I'll take them to Mass or something. I guess the issue is that I'm continually shocked by all of this! There are a gazillion non-denominational or non-Catholic churches out there, why can't we remain true to OUR Church? Why does everything have to be watered down? This upsets me way more than the book with the masturbation in it (how many times can I say the m word?) I know how to battle that one head on but to go to battle on an issue where I am clearly in the minority scares the crap out of me. Not because I really care about what they will think of me - as of now, they think NOTHING of me or my family so oh well! I care because I want to be a true voice of the Church and I want to approach it in a way that will be helpful and clear. I want them to know we don't have to teach our kids watered down versions of our Faith. We can teach them the amazing gift of the Sacraments and the awe-inspiring blessing of Eucharistic Adoration and we can incorporate that in to the whole anti-bullying crap! We can have it all as long as it starts and ends with the Holy Sacrifice of th Mass!!
Sadly, the problem is that there is no priestly involvement at the school - AT ALL! Whew! Please pray for me as I do battle - that I may be God's voice and that I become less so that God can become more!
...here we go!