When I arrived at the church, sacrament meeting was still in progress, so I awkwardly stood out in the lobby. I didn't want to walk into the chapel (please tell me that's what it's called...) cuz then my friends would see me and my being there would no longer be a surprise. So I stood there waiting.
Background info: we have a TON of snow. It's been super crazy ridiculously cold. Until this week.
I didn't wear a coat to church. (I wore one to mass this morning, but that's not the point). It was 40 degrees this afternoon when I left my house. It made me super happy. Standing in the lobby awkwardly, it totally felt like springtime, even though there's still a ridiculous amount of snow. And I don't know if it was cuz of the weather or cuz I was standing in the church (hearing the last speaker's voice but not quite catching all the words), but I felt simultaneously peaceful and excited. D'you know that cabin-fever-it's-finally-above-32-degrees-outside-so-we-don't-have-to-wear-coats feeling? It was that, only spiritual.
As of Wednesday, March 5, Catholics are celebrating Lent. "Celebrating" is totally not the right word for it, though. It's a season of "drawing closer to God," but they do it in a very somber way. Like giving stuff up, fasting every Friday, no meat on Fridays, give to the poor (not a bad thing in and of itself, but added to everything else and you find yourself dwelling on the plight of the less-fortunate), etc. Today's readings were about Adam and Eve eating the fruit (sinning, the Original Sin, in Catholic theology) and the consequences. I totally forget what the homily was about, but the atmosphere of the entire mass was dark and pensive. Adding to that, I have a cold and am in the middle of some major mental gymnastics in considering an issue very close to my heart. Very blah morning.
But then I came home and did some homework so my mom would let me go to church, changed, and off I went! I believe we left me standing awkwardly in the lobby :)
Sooo if we use an analogy here, the Catholic part of my brain (I was raised Catholic for 16 years, I definitely still think like a Catholic even though I consider myself a Mormon) is stuck in winter. Catholics approach Easter through Lent, as if
I love springtime. Winter is good and necessary for the Earth to prepare for the coming year, but springtime is awesome. Both are valid lenses through which one can examine Easter and the Atonement. I believe there should be some element of quiet and respectfulness when discussing the Atonement, and the Catholic faith is good at that. But "men are that they might have joy," so we needn't focus on the quiet reflectiveness to the exclusion of all else.
I would not be the person I am today without my Catholic upbringing, but I am a Mormon. I know it. I live it. I love it.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
*NOTE* I am not hating on Catholics. I'm not trying to say that they're hopelessly depressing. I guess it comes across like that, though.... Every once in a while, I need a reminder of why I'm a convert, why I'm no longer Catholic. Stuff like this helps. Catholics have a lot of good things to offer in their faith, but I have found the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to be true. (isn't there a conference talk where the guy says that other faiths have good things, but asks people to see what our church can add? Anyone know the talk?)