The path with the light

I used to sing in the choir. Every Wednesday night at practice, every Sunday at Mass, and twice on Christmas Eve. My kids all attended the parochial school and we had a nice supportive community there at Our Lady of Lourdes parish.

It was during these years that I met Father Chris who was assigned to our parish early in his priesthood.

Two of my friends, and mothers of my son’s classmates, were fighting cancer at the time. I decided to start a Rosary prayer group for them with mothers who had kids in school. We met a half hour before school let out on a Tuesday or Wednesday, or maybe it was Friday. The group quickly evolved into a meditative prayer group when one of the participants asked Father Chris to join us. He taught us meditative prayer. It is one of the best things I ever learned.

I only tell you this because after my A Matter of Faith post, some of you may question my faith and convictions.

I remember these years at Our Lady of Lourdes as being among my most contented. My family was intact and at home. Nobody was seriously ill. Everyone was still alive. In some ways, I suppose, it was easy to be filled with peace and grace.

Eventually the prayer group dissolved as the kids moved on to high school and individuals went their own way. Father Chris was assigned to a new parish, (and eventually landed at the parish my in-laws belonged to while my father-in-law was still alive, and where my mother-in-law still belongs.)  I became disenchanted and largely disillusioned with the Catholic Church after the priest scandal and the church’s continued hard-line position about women’s roles.

I stopped singing in the choir. I eventually stopped going to the church except for rare occasions.

Yesterday my husband Mark wanted to go to church with his mother. I fully supported this and went along. Coincidentally, Father Chris was the celebrant. And because I equate him with a faith-filled, satisfying time of my life, and because I consider him a dear friend for the many things that we shared while he was at Our Lady of Lourdes, my heart immediately softened.

I feel like I am in a semi-permanent state of mourning with my Dad. I try to put my feelings about him aside and keep my emotions in check. I can’t live my life walking around carrying a bucket to catch all the tears. But seeing Father Chris softened my heart, and I sat down in church and proceeded to cry non-stop for the first five minutes, and then again at every song. Fortunately for me, and for everyone sitting within close proximity, there were only four songs.

I think I had an epiphany.

A thought came into my mind. When you are in the dark, find the light.

And very clearly I heard instructions coming from inside my mind, or outside of me in the church, or maybe from the universe at large.

“Get yourself on the path where there’s light.”

Sometimes it’s almost scary.

27 thoughts on “The path with the light”

  1. I really like this post. I have had very similar experiences in this past year. I couldn’t tell you where they come from , potentially even messages from yourself to yourself. I don’t know, but something that positive shouldn’t be ignored.

  2. Due to some difficult personal experiences, I too have become somewhat disillusioned with the modern church. Keep pressing on in the faith, though, Christine, for the church is just filled with fallible people. That doesn’t mean they are a reflection of the One who created them.

    Hugs to you.

  3. Thanks for sharing your journey and your heart with us, Christine. Such a simple sentence regarding the path with light, but yet so powerful. It is a good message for everyone.

  4. I’ve shed tears in Mass when certain hymns are sung. Usually it’s because I’m missing my daughter who lives 3,000 miles from us. My hubby use to be a sacristan helping the priest prepare before, during and after Mass. I finally had to ask him to stop and sit with me, because I felt so alone sitting in a pew by myself. He had no qualms agreeing to my request. For a time I felt guilty. But after a couple of years, we’ve both settled into being a family celebrating Mass together. I think God is okay with that. Probably likes it better.

    We too don’t always make it to Church. But I figure I pray to God all day long, in my actions and thoughts of compassion for those less fortunate, and for those in need.

    hugs…:)

  5. I think we all go through darkness at times, Christine. It often seems to precede some kind of spiritual growth though. If that makes you feel any better.
    I too had to leave the Catholic church, after sitting through a mass where the priest castigated any woman who had ever had an abortion. I’ve never had one, but my heart went out to anyone listening who may have, for whatever reason. I wanted to stand up and tell him he should treat people with love and forgiveness. Isn’t that what Jesus taught? (I wish I had had the nerve to do this back then.)
    Anyway…I’ve since found a ‘new age’ church that’s Christian based, but so much more loving in it’s treatment of people. I never hear anything hateful said of anyone or of any group while there. And I leave feeling so happy to be alive. Don’t be afraid to try some other churchs. There are many to choose from.
    We are getting a new minister in August. And guess what? It’s a woman. 🙂

    1. Thanks for sharing your story, Cynthia. I’ve had similar experiences. I came very close to standing up and walking out of church once. Don’t remember the topic. You’re right.

      Anyway, I found I was getting more mad than anything else at church.

      I know there are good other churches. Right now I’m laying low.

      Happy for you about the woman minister. I hope you like her.

  6. I think sometimes Christine its hard to feel the Light and Joy in life when we have family in need struggling with health issues such as your Dad.. But you are right we ALL need that path of Light within our world and to hold onto some kind of hope/faith that there is a higher intelligence at work who holds all the jigsaw pieces as we strive to fit together to make sense out of Life.. Keep shining your own special brand of Light my friend as you Shine a Big Light into your Dads world Im sure

  7. Love, love, love your post. My favorite line is ” I can’t live my life walking around carrying a bucket to catch all the tears.” WOW! You said a whole lot in this one sentence. You are a very gifted inspirational writer, and I’m excited to be one of your readers.

  8. I really liked your comment about being in a state of perpetual mourning for your father. You’ve put into words how I felt about my grandmother (I posted about her in one of my earlier comments about how her strokes made her so weak). She lived for nearly ten years after the strokes started, with a limited responsiveness and interaction with us. I felt the same way – like I lived in perpetual mourning that whole time. I don’t know how my aunt kept herself together while taking care of her mother.

    Nancy
    http://www.dogear6.com

  9. ” Follow the Light” ~ I like that.

    I don’t know who said this originally but I found it on the tag from a tea bag:

    “When you know that all is light ~ then you are enlightened”

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