When I say the word “Catholic”, what immediately comes to your mind? Do you think of some old guy in a big white hat waving his hand and making all sorts of religous “decrees”? Do you think of a nun wapping some poor Catholic school kid on the knuckles with a wooden ruler? Or do you think of something a little bit darker? The Crusades? The Inquisition? Modern day clergy abuse?
When I think of the word “Catholic”, those are not the first thoughts to pop into my mind. I think of my family, and I think of my childhood. I think of my days attending a Catholic School (uniforms and all), and I think of my home parish. Mostly, though, I think of my faith…I think of me.
I don’t intend for my first blog post to be something deep and profound, but when I was thinking of what to write about for the Catholic Student Organization, I felt it would be appropriate to talk about my own faithlife and how much I truly love being Catholic. Having grown up Catholic my whole life, and having graduated from a little K-12 Catholic School, my faith was never really challenged. I never had to give a lot of thought to what I believed or why I believed it. I fell into the category of “culture Catholic”, Catholic by name if not necessarily by practice. Then I started attending Simpson, and suddenly I wasn’t surrounded by the close Catholic community I was used to and had honestly taken advantage of. My faith was no longer the dominant faith…and it wasn’t the most popular one either. It wasn’t that people disliked me because I was Catholic, but I had never heard so many Catholic jokes in my life. I took religion courses that made me think hard about what I believed and why. I found that there was such a diversity of views, beliefs, and opinions at Simpson that I was going to have to step up my game and figure out just what it was I valued out of life, what I thought of God, and what my own opinion of Catholicism was.
Well, as many of you know, and as the rest of you can probably guess, I embraced my Catholicism. The more I learned about my faith, the more good I found in it. What once was an accepted part of my life, because my family was and I had simply always been as well, became one of the major components of why I am who I am. I found beauty in what some see as an archaic, patriarchal hierarchy. Not just beauty, but stability, tradition, meaning, and community. I became the Chapel Intern for the Catholic Student Organization because I want others to see what I see. People focus to much, I think, on what’s negative about Catholicism. Actually, I think people focus to much on the negative things in life in general. I don’t want to convert anyone because everyone is entitled to believe whatever they believe. I just want to highlight what is good and strong about the Catholic faith, so that people don’t automatically go to the negative, stereotypical ideas of what it is when they think of the word “Catholic”.
It’s not easy being Catholic, but let’s face it, it’s not easy being any type of faith in this world. What we really need to remember in the end is that we are all people. We all have different thoughts, beliefs, and hopes in life. What CSO, as well as all of RLC, is striving to do is provide a community of acceptance, love, and understanding. I love being Catholic, I love being the CSO Chapel Intern and a part of RLC, and I love being at Simpson. I just want people to know why. So, feel free to question…feel free to critique…just know that I’m Catholic, and I like it 🙂
Peace and Love,