Saturday, October 02, 2004

Stuff, Stuff and More Stuff

So, I've decided I need to fix my metabolism, which is really, really, screwed up. See, I got into the habit of eating only once a day when I worked at St Al's CCC. I never got up in time for breakfast, I usually skipped lunch, and I often got home after 9 p.m. and ate dinner then. Or, if I ate lunch that day, I'd skip dinner all together. Then I'd snack on junk during the day (sometimes). Actually, I was in the habit of skipping breakfast and lunch for a lot longer than that.

But regardless of when that started, the fact of the matter is that it really messed up my metabolism. A friend of mine who is a doctor thinks that that is why I've been feeling icky for so long. So this week, I ate three meals a day all week long (well, except for the day I had to skip lunch to fold the damn brochures). I had yogurt for breakfast (just discovered that if I buy the mild kind, it isn't that horrible), various things for lunch (a couple days that was just yogurt and an orange, too) and something for dinner (noodles, mostly, but it was food). I even tried to have snacks (fruit) a couple times a day.

As of right now, I don't feel better. Actually, I feel kind of crappy, in a different way than before. But it's probably just because my body isn't used to dealing with food. We'll see how I feel at the end of this week.


I wrote to a friend of mine about the whole spiritual crisis thing. She's kind of been advising me all along. I trust her because she was my house director in college and I came to respect her as a woman of faith. Plus I know she won't deride me, no matter what choices I end up making (well, providing I don't suddenly decide to become a neo-pagan or something weird like that...of course, I hope she's slap me upside the head if I ever ended going in that direction), unlike some other people I know.

So anyhow, when I told her I was wondering what I should do, and she wrote this:

"Ultimately (and I know this is a very Protestant thing to say, but bear with me--I yam what I yam, in the immortal words, or paraphrase, of Popeye), I believe that it's more important that you are trying to follow/walk with/commune with God through Jesus Christ than that you tow the (forgive me) human-and-thus-fallible dictums of The Church."

That got me thinking today, about the difference in how Protestants view faithful living and how Catholics view it. Actually, I've been thinking about it more than today - needless to say - but that transition sounded better.

Anyway, what I came up with was this. For Catholics, being faithful is following the rules. If you believe this doctrine, or this dogma, or this bit of moral teaching, you are faithful. Now, officially, we are obliged to follow our consciences. That's in the Catechism (the other CCC). But when you actually do that, and someone finds out about it, they accuse you of not being a good Catholic. Politicians run into this in the public eye, but trust me it happens outside the spotlight, too.

Also, for Catholics, there is a perception that you have to do things in the "right" way for them to be valid. I'll give you an example. Remember how I wrote about the witch with a capital B at St Al's CCC who accused me of praying wrong? Well, here's the story.

We were meeting with a small group of young people and talking about prayer. This wasn't a formal teaching time, just a discussion. A couple of the adults said how they believed that praying the rosary was just so important and that everyone should try to do so every day. Now, I had to jump in there. When I was younger, I was told that over and over, but no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't find any meaning in repeating the same prayers over and over, or meditating on the mysteries, and no one told me that was OK, that everyone has their own prayer style. I didn't hear that message until I was in college. So I said something along the lines of, "Yes, the rosary is important, but you know, it never much worked for me. I personally prefer more informal prayer, like, 'God, I'm still here. Thanks for getting me through the day,' or, 'Big Guy, I could really use some help here. I'm frustrated and I don't know what to do.' It's a matter of finding what works for you."

I got some dirty looks from some of the adults on that, but I could deal. Then the subject of adoration came up. The witch (I'll call her P) went on and on about how wonderful it was to pray in the presence of Jesus, and how Abbeyfest had the best adoration ever, and blah, blah, blah. The other adults were all nodding and stuff, because no one ever dared to challenge her. Well, I opened my mouth again and said, "Yes, if adoration is done well, it can be a good and very moving experience. But personally, I've usually found it kind of limiting. I can appreciate the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist, but I've found that, personally, adoration can sometimes be limiting in that regard. I need to experience God in the Scriptures and in the assembly as well, and sometimes adoration doesn't allow for that. There are other forms of meditative prayer I can appreciate, like Taize prayer."

Well, P jumped on me immediately. She basically said that because I didn't engage in these traditional prayers of the church, I wasn't praying right. I told her that there was nothing in any of the church documents that said that faithful Catholics have to pray the rosary or go to adoration. She still insisted that I was teaching these kids the wrong information. Well, I didn't want to get into a pissing contest with her in front of the young people, so I told her that I would be happy to discuss it with her later on in another forum. From that point on, though, she contradicted everything I said. I could have said the pope was Polish, and she would have told me I was wrong.

So my point. I think that sometimes following doctrines and dogmas, and all that stuff can actually be an impediment to belief. This isn't a new thought for me, but it's one that is stepping into prominance in my mind in light of my recent struggles.

I have more to say on this subject, but it's almost midnight, and as part of my "fix my body" plan, I've vowed to be in bed by midnight every night, come heck or high water. So far, I think I've succeeded one night out of six.

1 comment:

'Ailina said...

WOW.... I'm in 100% agreement with you. I'm Protestant, so I'm sure my opinion doesn't really "count," but this all reminds me of Cain and Abel. Why was Abel's sacrifice acceptable, and Cain's wasn't? It sure wasn't because the vegetables 'tweren't no good.