the big questions

In the last week or so I've had a few friends share with me their struggles with God and more particularly with the institutional Church. In a way I suppose I'm a good person to share such struggles with. As a Catholic School Girl turned Agnostic turned Church Geek turned Nun, you might think I'd know something or other about the struggle. I'm certainly familiar with it from personal experience, and I'm still on the journey.

In the end, really all I can do is listen and reassure them that God loves them more than they could ever imagine. And pray for them. And for our church.

There are no easy answers. There are a lot of questions. I decided a long time ago that for me it makes more sense to ask the questions and live into the answers with a community of faith than on my own. Really, it was when I told myself it was ok to ask the questions that I found less of a need for answers and more ability to deal. That's how I found myself going from a non-church goer to an occasional church goer to an active parishioner, and then joining a religious community! I recognize that path is not for everyone. ;)

You don't want to be on your own, but you also wonder how involved you want to be with an institution that sometimes seems to be more guided by power plays than the pastoral approach. But then, who is the Church? Those in positions of power and authority, or the people of God, or both?

Which I suppose is why I found today's first reading from the Book of Wisdom appropriate to my ruminations and prayers of late:
Who can know God’s counsel,
or who can conceive what the LORD intends?
For the deliberations of mortals are timid,
and unsure are our plans.
For the corruptible body burdens the soul
and the earthen shelter weighs down the mind that has many concerns.
And scarce do we guess the things on earth,
and what is within our grasp we find with difficulty;
but when things are in heaven, who can search them out?
Or who ever knew your counsel, except you had given wisdom
and sent your holy spirit from on high?
And thus were the paths of those on earth made straight.
O God of Wisdom, be with your people. Guide our institutional church leaders. Guide those of us in the pews. Help us to seek you together, in peace and in love. We need it.


Richard J. Beebe, SJ said...

Susan, I love what you said here, "it makes more sense to ask the questions and live into the answers with a community of faith than on my own." Peace!

Just Curious said...

Thanks for this. I had a particularly difficult week last week with some rules set out by the institutional church (and those not willing to be prophetic enough to break them). The reading from Wisdom was great -- and a good reminder that the holy spirit guides ALL of the church, not just those who are ordained and live in Rome. The rest of us can just keep asking the questions...

Garpu the Fork said...

Hey thanks...I needed to hear this.

Susan Rose, CSJP said...

We're all on the journey together.

Glad this resonated with some.