Then I wandered into the church, and sat in stillness for a few minutes. And I could just feel the presence of God, so expansive, filling everything. Me, the room, the whole world. The universe and beyond, for that matter.
I'll admit that my experience of God sometimes creates inner conflict for me in my job, which is to religiously educate about 450 kids through the program I direct at St. Mary's. It's especially difficult when I bump up against some of our theology and some of our ways of doing things that I am still growing into.
There are a couple of ways that I try to compensate. Well, maybe more than a couple.
First of all, I have to live with the question, "Why am I doing this?" I already know the answer to that. My day job provides a framework for the things I most love, the things I know I'm called to do. In other words, because it's a gift.
Also, I'm convinced that sound religious doctrine provides a secure framework for kids who, in the future, will hopefully grow through and out of and past the framework, into vital union with Christ.
I'm also convinced that my day job provides a context for loving people. Lately, my mantra has been "Let's make it easier instead of harder for people to get their spiritual needs met." Which means, ease up on the hurdles and the hoops. Really listen to the people who call and tell you their child hasn't been to church since they were baptised. Make eye contact and a joke. Hug them. Welcome them. After all, if they haven't been to church in that long, you ARE church to them.
This morning my mind was on one of the children here who has just started coming to faith formation class. By some standards, she's late; a second grader. Her dad is Catholic, and her mom apparently doesn't relate to any of this. (This is someone else's estimation of her parents, whom I've only met once.) What is unique and wonderful and a mystery about this child is her insatiable hunger for spiritual things.
To make it easier to write about here, I shall name her Celeste. Sometime during the past year, Celeste started attending church with her nanny. It was all Celeste's idea. She had so many questions, the nanny talked to Celeste's parents about faith formation, and they agreed to enroll her. Actually, they didn't enroll her. The nanny did. Celeste's teacher reports that she hasn't had a child quite like her in class before. (Her teacher has been doing this for almost twenty years,)
Celeste comes to class with questions. And she leaves class with, you guessed it, more questions. Her nanny reports, questions. All week long. Celeste came to us carrying and immersed in more than anything we can offer her here. Hopefully, with the great gift of the Sacraments and the framework provided through faith formation, she will grow in her understanding. Hopefully, because of Celeste, we will grow in our understanding, too, because I'm convinced that she has received many of the graces that the Capital S Saints have received. . .that she is already going places with God I can only hope to.
BTW. . .here's the blog behind my blog. It's called SHHH, and it's a sort of overflow place for some of my writing. You can contact me privately there with questions or comments. I promise to answer! http://www.debcarrigerrichards.com/shhh.html