Sunday at Shrine of the Most Precious Blood, my parish, The Society of St. Anthony of Padua celebrated the Mass in honor the saint. Tuesday the church itself will celebrate a Mass in honor of the saint, as Tuesday is the actual feast day of St. Anthony.
As the mix of Italian and English was filling the church, the statue of St. Anthony with lights all around it at the entrance visible when you first came in, the bread blessed and distributed at the end, everyone greeting everyone, even if they did not know each other, and people introducing you to others, it was beautiful. It also brought home a very important point, maybe more than one. It brought home to me that Catholicism is a major part of who I am, culturally whether I agree with all of the theology of the faith or not. It is a very important part of me, what shapes me, who I am, the conservative side of me, also the spiritual side of me. I have no problem saying I am of Christ, I am Christian, and yes I have had my crisis moments, my questioning moments, but I never turned my back on Christ. The core of who I am remained the same throughout my journey and my connection the Trinity, the core of the Catholic faith never wavered, ever. I have been also aware that as was pointed out last night in a Catholic anniversary program there has to be a periodic examination and renewal, so questioning is not problematic within itself. However one thing I have realized is that the core principles of the faith are perfectly sound, logical and serve me well in my life should I adhere to them. Appreciation for them and my culture is a true blessing, the church does and has recognized when it has faltered, even if not right away, but then do we immediately realize when we falter? What are those principles that have guided me, that the saints have shown me? There are a few:
- Make the journey of faith, really explore the Judeo-Christian faith from all facets, come to it and God with an open and willing heart, spirit and soul, and love
- It’s okay to stumble along the way, just get up and keep going
- Stand strong for and in who you are, a child of the Creator, and in Christ who gave his life for you
- Discover your gifts, talents, purpose in that and how to best apply them for the good of society
- Value family, cultural traditions, while still valuing progress and moving forward
- Be a shinning example of faith and strength through faith, no matter what
- Don’t ever be anything but who you are and are meant to be in Christ
- Celebrate that every day of your life and help others to do so
As I continue in my work as an artist, and music coordinator for the church, I hope to learn more about myself, my faith, my culture all of that and grown in my relationship with the Trinity, as well align my own trinity in harmony, my heart, spirit and soul.