Monday, June 8, 2015

Chasing Authenticity






So often I see posts on social media regarding what young Catholics truly want from their Church. No, it's not a hip young guy in a hoody, rock music, or fluffy and sentimental niceties. No, in a world full of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, what young people are searching for is an ever elusive "authenticity." We are devouring the Catechism, reading Aquinas and Church fathers, and wading our way through books and blog posts by other Catholics, searching for the Truth and for God. Some of us go so far as to veil or attend a Latin Mass, reviving what the last few generations tried to do away with. We know that something is missing from our Catholic heritage as it was taught to us. Some beauty and wonder was robbed from us, so we dig and dig into the past to hopefully find that something that we crave.

To complicate matters, our beliefs become ever more unpopular with the modern world. Balancing between concepts of sexism and homophobia, we look for the Truth while making sure it really does make sense in a modern context. We bring our wounds, our hopes, our apprehensions, our misconceptions, and hope to find Him so we can lay it out before Him, finally home.

We try to bring the authenticity we find to our children. Craft projects, encyclicals, activities for the liturgical years, saint feast days, and traditions of old. We try to reconnect and help them connect and have the strong basis for our faith that we never felt we were given. We try and try, not sure if what we do will work. Unsure if they will remain faithful as adults. We wish we had  a better idea of what we were doing. A guideline. A rule book. A tried and true methodology to being authentically Catholic in this modern world. Something to pass down to future generations. An identity rooted in Truth, Tradition, and also traditions that brings joy and peace to those who practice it.

It doesn't exist for us, though.

We have to be the ones to strike out and create it.

We are the pioneers. The ones who need to help implement Vatican II correctly. The ones who need to bring Catholicism back to life. The ones who must show others the way.

My family has dealt with some hard news lately. At least one of our children has a developmental delay that will cause lifelong hardships. Another is about to be tested for similar delays. I have found the idea of my children suffering absolutely repugnant. I cannot begin to explain the despair that a mother feels when she knows she can't take away the suffering of her children. I found myself contemplating if I still believe in God. After much reflection, I realized that I do even more than ever. I am just so angry with Him.

I've spent the past month feeling like I'm screaming to the heavens with my middle fingers raised in rebellion.

What do you want from me?

What do you want from my child?

What possibly can this mean?

How can I possibly handle all this and find the Truth? Where is my authenticity? How am I supposed to juggle caring for four kids, my husband, a home, and have to figure out this elusive concept?

I'm grabbing at straws, stabbing into the darkness, unsure if I am actually going to succeed. Fueled by my anger, barreling forward solely on the heat it causes.

It's the only way I can keep going forward with this search.

What do you want from me? Why won't you send me more help? Why am I so alone in this?

Why? 

We are the pioneers.

I hope we manage to find what we are looking for.

4 comments:

  1. For those of us who are seeking authenticity, we are usually so scattered that it is truly difficult to make an impact. Quite possibly, forming groups and societies is the only way we will be able to restore the church which sadly seems conquered by the world.

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    1. I don't think we need to chase authenticity: we already have the authentic faith, worship, and community that Jesus Christ revealed, instituted, and established while He was on Earth.

      What we need is to somehow reconcile our unrealistic expectations of what authentic Catholicism entails with the mundane, and oftentimes messiness, of everyday life.

      I'm not very good at doing that. I often find myself thinking that if I just adopt the right philosophical outlook, or the right theological viewpoint, or the right spiritual exercises, then my life will look like this:

      https://40.media.tumblr.com/72b4d3758077a63a7d2e96a6541ba85c/tumblr_mrulzwH7tZ1so2xflo6_500.png

      In reality, it will never look like that. Truth be known, it probably never did. For anyone. Instead, it will look like poverty. It will look like spouses with serious, mental illnesses. It will look like an oldest daughter with autism.

      Each day will bring triumphs, and tragedies. And at the end of each day, we’ll say our prayers, hoping we’ve kept the faith to the best of our ability.

      What more is there?

      P.s. There's no edit feature, hence the deleted post.

      Delete
  3. You remind me a lot of my mother.

    One of her main goal's in life was to have a family and love her children the best she could.

    It seems best if I keep my family life more private though.

    This questioning really moved me; thank you for this.

    Please do not give up on your dreams; keep fighting for them (y).

    Hoping you have a good everything (y).

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