I’m back in Fargo now and I never thought I would be this happy to be here.
Things between me and my family only got more stressful. About an hour before I left for the Cathedral in St. Paul on Friday my family was asking some questions about Catholicism, the Pope and stuff like that. I talked about how the Catholic Church is able to trace Apostolic Succession, Protestant Churches cannot. My mom did not believe that there was any way to know that Pope Benedict XVI is really Pontiff 265. I showed her a list of the Popes from Peter all they way to Benedict XVI. It wasn’t good enough because its in a Catholic Bible and could just be made up. So unless I gather ancient texts that specifically validate each and every change of papacy for 2,000 years, she won’t believe it. Fine. Then celibacy moved into the differences in priests and deacons and that brought up the Real Presence in the Eucharist. Something that seems so clear to someone open to the idea that TRUE FOOD and TRUE DRINK means TRUE FOOD and TRUE DRINK, yet seems so ridiculous to someone who does not believe God could be that powerful. I had to cut the conversation short to make it to the Cathedral on time.
The drive to St. Paul was sweet, I love driving in the cities, it is so much more of an adventure than in North Dakota. I can’t begin to explain, either how awesome the Cathedral is. I heard somewhere that it is the fourth largest in the US. It was so big, ornate, and solemn. Because it was Friday Mass, they used a smaller chapel off to the side and the altar was actually against the back wall, something I knew was the norm pre-Vatican II, but not seen a whole lot at present. When the consecration occured, the priest faced the same way as us. It was awesome to experience Mass like that. Anyways, I did a lot of praying for priests and for my family.
The next day I kept talking to my brother about Baptism and then went out to do something. I came back and my mom started yelling at me about backing off, to accept that I’ve done my best, but they are not going to listen to anything I have to say about being Catholic, that being Christian is about loving Jesus and finding a Church that you are comfortable in, that all Churches are really the same. No, I thought being a Christian meant seeking truth, living truth, sacrificing our desires for Christ. Guess I was wrong. I really don’t mean to be snarky here, but my mom is seriously flawed in her understanding of Christianity and her intereference between my brother and I is only serving to push him away from seeking truth but to blindly following the opinions of my mother. She also warned me that if I started anything at my sister’s party I would be in huge trouble. I wasn’t allowed to confront the Baptist pastors or my gaurdians, who are actually considering becoming Catholic. The reason? I’m just a kid, a new Catholic, and I don’t know much. Yeah, that’s right, God is biased towards us by age. Because I’m younger, there is no way that God could be working in me more than in someone else.
It was extremely hard for me when the Youth Pastor from First Baptist cornered me in the kitchen to ask about my trip to San Diego last summer. I forgot that the Sunday School kids chipped in $25. I didn’t mean to be rude, but I was very vague and standoffish with my answers because I did not want to say that I had become Catholic, and have to explain why because that indeed would have been the starting something my mom forbid. Everything went ok though, and the rest of the weekend went ok with little trouble.
I did mention to my mom that I was discerning whether or not I should be priest. I don’t think she really buys into the whole “praying about it” thing, so I think she is a little skeptical. I honestly don’t know where she gets her philosophy or theology from because it is unlike any Protestant theology I have heard and for the most part is not based upon any part of the Scripture, but on her own opinions. She even went as far as to say that Jesus’ discourse in Matthew 5 about an eye-an-for-an-eye was wrong because she has found that getting even works better. Come on! Who has the audacity to argue with the God of the universe?
Anyway, I don’t want to keep going on and on about the frustrations of my family. I went to Mass this morning at the parish in Anoka, St. Stephen’s and it left much to be desired. Everyone just seemed to not really care. Hardly anyone genuflected towards the altar, not even the lector, and the priest barely did. He seemed to really rush through everything and the liturgy just seemed weakly unorganized. I felt really uncomfortable and longed for St. Mary’s in Fargo. The contrast between the two parishes was stark, from the liturgy, to the reverence, to the friendliness. I think that St. Mary’s is just a stupendous parish and worshiping there just strikes this chord of awe, I can’t explain. I just can’t wait for this weekend.
Anywho, it was an interesting weekend, stressful, and full. I’m glad to be back in Fargo, and I think I am staying here for a long while before going home again.