Why I Can’t Leave the Catholic Church

John Gehring, a journalist for the National Catholic Reporter, eloquently sums up my feelings in a recent article:

The church has always been a flawed, sinful, human institution filled with darkness and light. In part, I go to church these days to grapple with those contradictions, to find healing in the Eucharist and strength standing next to my fellow weary travelers.

The news that broke last week has caused me, along with a most every Catholic, great distress. My initial reaction was to run as fast as I could the other way because how could I possibly remain in a church that allowed such tragedies to occur. And yet, I still found myself at mass this Sunday. In fact, I went more often last week than in previous weeks. But why was I even more drawn to a place that is currently associated with such deep sin? Because deep down I know that the Church has always been associated with sin but it is also the source of great healing. Just as John Gehring points out, Catholics are extremely flawed and there has been corruption in the Church since its inception. Jesus chose Peter, a weak-willed man, to found his universal Church. I believe Jesus was so wise that he knew Peter would fail, he knew the Church he built would be deeply flawed, but it had to be so that it could be saved by love. We only need God if we are broken. That’s the wonderful paradox we live in, without our evilness, our greed, etc… there’s no place for love. We need to have fallen in order to be raised up. At this time our Church is in dire need of healing and it is our calling to be the antidote. We need to do as Jesus taught, we must live out his one commandment so that our joy be complete, “love one another as I love you” (Mt 15:11). Forget the details, forget the kinks. To follow God is to be love, to smile warmly at your children, help a friend in need, give generously of your time, money, space, etc… This is how we will rebuild the Church.

Peace,

Aurelija

We become that which we dare not see…

We become that which we dare not see.

What if the way to abolishing the parts of ourselves that take us furthest from the Light (from communion with the Divine, the source of all Being, Love itself, etc…) is to bring them to the light? 

What if the reason these parts of ourselves keep coming back, leading us to make the same mistakes over and over again is because we’re always trying to push them back down instead of letting them pass through and evaporate into the ether? 

By suppressing our imperfections we give them power, and the more we suppress them, the stronger they become. Their potential energy increases each time they start to surface and are prevented from actualizing. Winding up before throwing a baseball is a physical example of this idea. 

I propose an examination of our least favourite parts. I, myself, have been doing this for awhile now and I have observed some incredible results. After my son was born I had trouble accepting how my body had changed. Though I was never thin to begin with, I had grown accustomed to my particular curves and felt pretty good about the way I looked. After he was born, I avoided looking at myself in the mirror and tried to cover up with baggy clothes. The more I did this though, the more I would dislike the way I looked in photographs, and instead of enjoying the process of creating beautiful and fleeting moments with my son, I was focused on myself. One day I decided enough was enough and I looked at myself, I really looked. I saw my size, my shape, my dimples and wrinkles and I decided it was beautiful. I gazed at myself in the way I imagined God was gazing at me. This dramatically changed my perception of my appearance. I stopped covering up, I stopped being ashamed of myself – in essence, I made light of this phase of my life and chose to enjoy it, all of it, and the outcome was, big surprise…joy and lightness! I no longer emphasize what I deem negative, instead I choose to see beauty and peace within myself which allows me to see beauty and peace within you. 

“I gazed at myself in the way I imagined God was gazing at me.”

Change starts with a simple thought, in order to think differently you need to cultivate an awareness of what is. This ability stems from the practice of objectively (without judgment) seeing yourself and learning about how you think and behave.

Awareness = illumination. You’ll be amazed how easily negatives melt away when exposed to light.

Stop judging and start being – this is the key to your flourishing. 

Blessings and peace.

The Paradoxical Nature of Life

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the paradoxical nature of life and how accepting that one fact can facilitate a more peaceful and joyful existence.

The truth of this began surfacing the more I reflected on my journey out of anxiety and panic disorder. Basically, my treatment consisted of my staying put, both physically and mentally, as my sympathetic nervous system started revving up. I would be feeling the “fight or flight” response running rampant throughout my body and mind and, instead of reacting to those feelings, I would just stay present and accept that this was the experience I happened to find myself in at the time and that that was ok. I had to learn to allow both active and totally peaceful states to coexist.

I started paying more and more attention to what frightened me or made me uncomfortable or upset and I kept finding that the actual problem was that I wasn’t able to allow two seeming opposites to exist together, my experience was consistently unbalanced. Rather, the natural progression of events was disrupted by my inability to let them be. 

Wise teachers and guides have been saying this for centuries, that the way to true joy is to simply be present to what already is. We are both observers and participants – we’ll know how to participate effectively once we learn to observe properly. This is another paradox, in order to know how to act, we must know how to be still. There is no one way, there is only balance, and it looks different for everyone.

“…in order to know how to act, we must know how to be still.”

Where is the imbalance in your life? Do you know when to be still and when to act? Start by paying attention, notice where the kinks are and make some space for them to relax back into the natural flow.

Blessings and peace.