What did I ever do to you besides being Catholic?

2

August 17, 2011 by Nicole

Sometimes, a few days go by and I can’t think of anything to blog about.  And then, on days like today, material just seems to present itself.  Please pardon me if I sound a little bitter, but I really am not.  I think that this time, rather than indirectly discussing my thoughts, I am going to be entirely frank instead.

Once again, another church–two steps from the end of the process–declined to hire my husband, as we just recently found out.  They declined to hire him because once again, it seems that being married to a Catholic is not compatible with the man that God has chosen to shepherd his flock.  Prior to leaving on pilgrimage, I know that I would be sitting here right now crying on my husband’s shoulder.  But this time is different.  I passed this test because my faith is stronger, and it seems that it is God’s Will that we have to wait longer, and I will bear the wait with love and patience.

As for what I have to say, I hope that you all listen to me, and listen carefully.

To all of you out there who will express an interest in hiring my husband only to later back away once you find out that he is married to a practicing Catholic, think about what that says about the faith you profess.

Yes, I am Catholic, but I am a Christian, just like you are.  I read my Bible, spend time in prayer with God everyday, and I attend church just like you do.  I am loved by the same God who loves you. Jesus died for my sins too.

The problem as I see it is that you judge me based on a rocky, turbulent, and long history between Catholics and Protestants, or what ever mistaken image you hold of our faith community and traditions.  What makes this even harder to bear is that you judge me without knowing anything about me.  When I go to my final judgement and stand before God, He will ask me what I did with my life, and he will look into my heart and judge me based on my faith in Him, my belief in His Son, and what I did for my fellow brothers and sisters while I put in my time here on earth. Do you think that somehow you have the ability to see inside my heart as God sees me?

Jesus commanded us to love our brothers and sisters; in fact, he said that it was one of the top two commandments that we are to obey if we claim to be His disciples.  Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Catholics (not to mention how many other denominations I am not listing here), we are all part of  God’s family.  We are many parts, but we are all one body.  Perhaps I am like that one relative that no one likes to talk about.  Maybe I scare you because I challenge your definition of what it means to be a Christian or to love your neighbor.  I don’t really know, but I can say one thing with certainty.

Regardless of how you feel for or about me, I love you.  I am praying for you, because I am supposed to love the people who don’t love me, and pray for the people who hurt me. And do you know what that prayer is?  That you have been challenged and taken out of your comfort zone in such a way so that you will at least begin to think about all of God’s family and not just your little corner of it.

And that’s the gospel truth.

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2 thoughts on “What did I ever do to you besides being Catholic?

  1. Thank you Nicole for this blog. I am a Franciscan brother who is a Roman Catholic and for the past 12 years I have been accepted into membership of a local Baptist church. I think most have now come to see that I don’t have horns and don’t worship Mary and although a complex individual, am a son of God, redeemed and saved through the lavish unmerited grace of Jesus Christ. The Franciscan Order I belong to (Companions of Jesus) is a Community of Reconciliation and is non-denominational. We come from different Church communions and live as a dispersed community sharing with other Christians right across the denominational divide, We seek to be instruments of God’s peace reconciling brothers and sister in Christ with one another. The problem I continually come across (and to a great extent still battle with in myself) is what I call ‘Religiosity’. Instead of walking in the light and freedom of God’s love we can so easily take refuge in the self made restricting castles of our own fears. Scripture tells us that where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom and that love casts out fear. But we so easily allow ourselves to be driven with fear. Always pointing the finger at others and seeing their faults but missing the truth that the speck we see in our brothers eye is but a reflection of the plank in our own eye. That is religiosity! It is having a form of religion without the power. Word without Spirit. Life without love. Please continue to challenge us all to look outside of our comfort zones.

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  2. powellonia says:

    Thanks so much for your response! It means a lot to hear what you have to say about religiosity; I have been fortunate to celebrate mass with the Paulist Fathers where I live, and they have so much to teach people about the importance of all Christians working together with each other. We pray for unity all of the time.

    I have begun to realize that while I don’t enjoy having gone through this experience twice with churches and one other time from a particular pastor who participated in my husband’s ordination council, our interfaith marriage is incredibly unique. God uses our marriage for some very important purposes, namely to teach people about the wideness of His love, and the importance of recognizing we are a family. 🙂

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