Saturday, April 21, 2007

Freedom to Choose

One of the saddest things I've heard from people entering RCIA is, "My parents didn't raise me in any religion telling me that they wanted me to have the freedom to choose."

In the latest round of inquirers, there are a number of them with this story. There is deep sadness in them as they related the sense of being on the outside looking in. It may have sounded noble to their parents' ears to pass on the choice to them, but what pierces me is what one said, "I wonder if I had had God in my life if I would've avoided the stuff that I'd done."

I told him that, yes, indeed, God was and is present in every moment of his life. And the fact that he had walked through the doors to join RCIA, was in response to God's calling him. I quoted St. Augustine (an oft-quoted passage, I understand, but for those who've grown up without the company of the saints and angels, it's clear as clarion): You have made us for yourself and our heart is restless until it rests in you.

So we spoke about holy longing, touched a bit on God's grace, and discussed why they were particularly drawn to the Catholic Faith. They mentioned how counter-intuitive it was, especially here in the South where there's a Freewill Baptist Church round every corner, literally. And all of them said, "The Eucharist draws me."

For all the casual Catholics in my parish, I wish I could pair them up with one of these who earnestly seek communion with the Church so that their hearts may be stirred from a complacency about the most precious thing that they possess. During the Elevation of the Host, I want them to gaze in astonishment and say, "My Lord and my God."


Tom Reagan said...

I think most cradle Catholics could learn a lot from "true seekers."

"Seek and ye shall find," eh?

Rob said...

Even when I was a "bad Catholic" in college, I knew that my kids would be Catholic. A friend asked me how I would raise my kids (back when I was twenty and hadn't met my wife, or any woman for that matter).

I said, "Oh, Catholic, definitely."

My friend was appalled. "I'm going to let my kids choose." He said with that effortless wisdom of the twenty-year old.

Later in life, I recounted this to an older woman who was a teaching colleague. I was explaining why I thought so many of the parents my age were doing such a crappy job at raising their kids. I told her the story and said, "You see, we've been raised not to influence anyone."

She was no conservative, mind you. But the first thing she said was, "Well, if the parents aren't going to influence the kids, who will? MTV?"

Melanie said...

Hi!, I am a candidate in RCIA and I love your blog. Mine is if any one is interested.