I think one of the most difficult things about being a Catholic, or even a Christian in general is making that connection between our hearts and our minds. It is very easy to convince our minds of some truth, but it is often difficult to have that truth make its way down and transform our hearts. I’ve experienced this phenomenon many times in my life, especially recently. From the mental assent that certain sins in my life are indeed bad, but not really connecting it to my heart, to the knowledge that I need to be closer to my family, more loving towards them, but being unable to make that connection in my heart. I mean how terrible is that?! How horrible is it that I cannot find it in myself to be more compassionate towards my own family, brother and sister, mother and father.
And it was only exasperated last night as I sat alone in the pews at midnight Mass. As I watched tons of families come in together to worship our Lord, to celebrate his birth, I felt so very alone. I don’t think I have ever felt that feeling of loneliness as strongly as I did last night when I celebrated my first Christmas within the Church. I thought of how my family doesn’t really strive to put Christ first in anything, how I really am the only one with very much zeal, the only one in our family who seems to get that Christmas isn’t about sleigh rides and Santa and tinsel and presents and Frosty the Snowman and how the Grinch stole Christmas and Buddy the man-elf. And no matter how many times I try to explain what Christmas is all about, what it really means to be a follower of Christ, they don’t get it. It’s so frustrating that I just can’t hardly stand it. In my heart I feel as if I am the only Catholic who has ever experienced this feeling of frustration and being alone as their family drifts further and further from God.
Yet, that’s just what is in my heart. In my mind, I know it isn’t so. I know that I am not alone. I know that many Saints have gone up against their families and friends to follow God when those around them wouldn’t. I know that many Catholic converts come against the very same wall that I have. And I know that I cannot give up hope, because Christ’s very incarnation brings hope, multiplies it. I just need that grace from God to make the truths that I understand mentally to make their ways into my heart and truly transform me. Until then, I’ll keep on trying, keep on praying, keep on keeping on.