Michael O'Loughlin: Where God meant for me to be
When they announced which priest was celebrating Mass, we both grinned. We knew we would hear a thoughtful, relevant and at times funny homily. Skimming the program, I recognized some hymns, including one from my childhood and another from college choir. As the procession began, I felt at peace, knowing that I was where God meant for me to be. The ritual, the silence and the familiarity of the sacrament gave comfort.
During the eucharistic prayer, as the priest consecrated the bread and wine that becomes for Catholics the actual body and blood of Christ, I closed my eyes. I pictured Jesus hiding with his disciples in a dark room, offering his peace to his unsettled followers on the eve of his death. For those few moments, the concerns and disappointments I have with the church vanished. I was with God and my neighbor. I was living out who I am called to be.
I once thought that my peers who left the church were intellectually or spiritually lazy, but I’ve since come to understand their decision. In fact, sometimes I am jealous that they were able to walk away.
But I can’t. A life of faith is difficult, but it is the life I want. It is who I am, and it is why I remain.
Sure, my faith will ebb and flow over the years. But for now I focus on living out the gospel quietly, trying to navigate a life of faith amidst doubt and uncertainty, hurt and anger, grateful for the moments of joy that sustain me.