Sunday, August 14, 2011

Keep Holy the Sabbath?!

Sunday is a strange kind of day. It is unique in the fact that as it falls in the week, it is both a beginning and an ending. In the calendar begins a brand new week. In the emotional, physical, actual draws most peoples weekend to a close. Wow...what a muli-tasker Sunday is.

This morning I awoke with a raging sore throat (probably too dry in my room) and a headache (big shock). I was tired and irritable and I just did not have the energy to get up and go to church. I just felt worn out. This past week has been full of hills and valleys. I had my MRI (not pleasant), waited anxiously for my results and the results from the tests that some other friends were also undergoing. Luckily...we all came out okay. Lindsay left, school is starting and I set myself up for something big that could actually mean a lot to several people. I watched several relationships crumble and I saw the start of something really great. I talked to a couple of old friends that I hadn't seen in years, I maybe found some closure to past events......and I survived yet another year of a wedding anniversary.....alone. I have gone from very anxious, to very happy, to very mad, to frustrated and finally to calm with a side of acceptance. It truly has been quite a week.

I did manage to finally get up and make it to the store, but not because I wanted to. It was a need  if the kids were to eat lunches this week as I refuse to pay lunch prices at the school. Hoping to get through the store in record time and avoid the after church crowds, I ran smack dab into someone who attends my church. I was dressed in shorts and a tshirt and she was dressed in church attire. Her first words to me were...."I  didn't see you at church today." I know the look on my face must have said it all. We have three Mass times (four if you count the Villa) not to mention in Derby five minutes away...they too have four Mass times. She had absolutely no way of knowing if I had been to Mass or not.....but her tone (in my opinion) spoke volumes. I have to say that I felt judged and a bit guilty (okay a whole lot guilty) and angry. Did she mean it the way I took it? I have no idea. Was her perceived judgment of me for real or was I just feeling guilty for choosing sleep over Mass? Probably that....but it made me less than pleasant none the less. I told her I was sick and had to get groceries and left it at that, but still....the whole event left me feeling just plain grrrrrrrr!

So as I was driving home....I began to think about spirituality and religion, faith and personal beliefs. God said Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy. What did He actually mean by keep holy? Did He mean you must attend church every Sunday, or did He mean you must respect that day, think of Him, honor Him through prayer and meditation and use the day to spend with family and friends....not laboring? Being part of the Catholic faith....we are taught keeping the Sabbath Holy means regular church attendance along with receiving Holy Communion as often as possible. So truly....missing Mass is frowned upon and deemed a sin if the lack of attendance is due to anything other than illness or an emergency. Since I made it to the store....I doubt my missing Mass could be viewed as illness related. More like..... too lazy and whiny to crawl out of bed and do what I needed to. That is likely why I felt so guilty and "caught" when she approached me.

Do I believe missing Mass/church is a sin? I do believe in the teachings of the Catholic Church and yes....I feel that as often as God has made the effort for me.....I should be able to do something small like get out of bed and give Him an hour of my time on Sunday. Do I think I am hell bound for missing Mass? Probably I have many other sins that I am sure could entitle me to a first class ticket there. All I can do is hope that because I do try to live every day as a Christian (not just the Sabbath) that maybe some of those efforts will be recognized. And don't get me wrong....just because I believe this way....doesn't mean that I think or expect the rest of the world to believe the same.

To me....religion, spirituality and faith come in many shapes and many forms. We all believe in something. Even if we believe that there is nothing out there but us,  and that when we is the end......that is still a belief. Whether we are Catholic/Protestant/Atheist/Agnostic/Pagan/Buddhist/Muslim or anything else....we all believe in something. How we exercise that belief and project it to the world is personal and up to each of us. Our faith or lack there of, defines us on this earth and will likely define us in the hereafter....whether we choose to believe one exists or not.

I will never be so naive as to say that church makes a person a Christian. I have seen first hand that some of the most faith filled people who have a very special rapport with God neither count themselves as religious nor are they church goers. Yet you can see kindness and faith are as much apart of them as the air they breathe. I was married to such a fellow. God was very real to him....yet church was not. Faith was his cornerstone, but he lived that faith in the world....not in a church. He never looked down his nose at those who went to church and encouraged me to go every Sunday and to take the kids for he knew church was important to me. To him though, a cup of coffee on the front porch, watching the sunrise was his church and his soul got as much from that single act as mine ever did from any sermon. His acts of Christianity often went undiscovered as he quietly paid for unsuspecting individuals food, loaned friends in need money with no expectation of payback or helped a fellow alcoholic get sober. He gave advise, listened and helped anyone, anytime he could. He was the epitome of a Christian and I have no doubt his actions earned him heaven many times over. Never did his head touch a pillow at night before he prayed.....not asking....but thanking God for all that he had been given that day. To me that was faith!

So what am I saying with all of this? Who knows? Maybe I am trying to ease a guilty conscience. Maybe I am just introspective today. Maybe I am just letting my mind wander  through all aspects of spirituality and truly figure out how I fit in. More so though, I think it reminds me of a man who pulled me from the depths of despair when we thought our child would die and taught me (the one who always claimed great faith).....just what true faith was all about.

I believe I will look at this particular Sunday as a beginning. School is starting, I am moving forward and I have a new project. Except for some minor glitches....all is well in Lisaland and I am ready to move forward. Next week God....I promise to do better, but until then, may you all have a Happy and Blessed Sunday!


Anonymous said...

I don't mind blogs about religion, but I hate when I feel as if religion is being pushed down my throat. It is fine that you believe how you do, but why do you feel that we must all feel this way too? I think I need to go sin just to feel a little less lily white on a Sunday.

Cmom said...

If you are off to sin, I am pretty sure that was your intention before you read this blog. Nothing remotely has me pushing religion at anyone. Thanks for reading though! :)

Thiry said...

You didn't push anything...just a blog wondering what the whole big picture is all about...I find it very odd that every response on this blog, that reads more into the blog than is actually there, is always named Anon....

Anonymous said...

Hi! Funny you post this right, the homily today was about following God even when we don't understand. He related going to mass, following God to Mr Miagi training Daniel in the Karate Kid. Daniel didn't understand why Miagi was having him wash the car but he did it anyway. Believe me - I want to stay home so many times, especially when I know I will be fighting three children to be still, be quiet, be good... you get the picture. I have a hard time understanding and even struggle with faith but I am thankful for the consistency of the church. No judgement, just my thoughts. Oh - and I TOTALLY feel guilty being anywhere in public on a Sunday in anything other than church clothes, even if I went the night before.
Melissa (posting under my blogger is messed up for some reason)