Holy Week 2014--Holy Thursday

There is a segment of non-religious people who take the position that being a religious believer is a crutch.  According to this theory, religion is a way to avoid the difficult questions of the meaning of life and a person's place in the universe by putting one's trust in God or some other transcendent reality.  It's easier to believe in these "stories," these folks will tell you, than to rely on yourself.

I can't say for sure whether this is true--I've never tried not being a believer.  But I can say that I have not experienced being a believer as a particularly easy road.  I don't know what kinds of existential crises a non-believer experiences, but I have found that believing is not a get-out-of-jail free card for existential crises.  Saying you believe is not the same thing as meaning it, which is not the same thing as feeling it.

In the Gospel reading for Holy Thursday, Jesus tells Peter "What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later."  Often, and especially tonight, I feel like I don't understand.  I don't understand why God feels so distant right now.  I don't understand what is happening with my Church.  I don't understand how I am supposed to reconcile being a Catholic and having the views I do on gay rights, or women's rights.  I don't understand what I am supposed to do.  I don't understand.

Holy Thursday ended the same way it always end--in the dark, with a bare altar and the Eucharist tucked away in a small alcove.  If you have never done it, come and sit with me in the dark.  Come and look at the bare altar and have only questions come back at you.  And then tell me that being a believer is the easy way out.

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