Faith Stories: I’m a little catholic
There are some days that just call for forgiveness. My work in The Shepherd’s Market is usually very rewarding and joy filled. The clients, for the most part, are so very grateful for the groceries that they receive, and there are usually enough volunteers to share the work of trying to process everyone through the pantry. But there are also days that I am tired and feel overwhelmed with the needs of so many. There are days that not enough volunteers come to help, and the few that do are left running, without so much as time for a bathroom break. It was a day like this that I had heard just about enough complaining and lack of gratitude that I was ready to pop my cork!
Bobbi Marino was around and in frustration I said to her, “I wish we had a confessional so that I could ask God to forgive me for all the horrible things that are going through my head right now.” Perhaps I said, “I should become Catholic.” Bobbi reminded me that we do indeed have a liturgy of community confession in our service. “But I need to confess now,” I responded, “I just can’t wait until Sunday.” And so my dear friend responded with these words, “In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.” It was, for a very cranky and tired girl, just a sip of the cool water of forgiveness, but I needed more. And then Bobbi said this, “Now how do you respond?” I wanted to be forgiven, but was I willing also to forgive? Was I willing to look at others who were hard and impatient, tired and ungrateful, to look at people just like me and say “In the name of Jesus Christ you too are forgiven?” And so with a lump in my throat, I repeated to her those words.
I learned a few lessons that day. We live our faith best in community. God provides our needs in abundant ways, and I am very catholic with the small “c.” For that is perhaps what it means when we say the Apostles creed, “I believe in the holy catholic church.” It means that we cannot live our faith alone, that it takes the witness and stories and yes, even that failing of others, so that we can more clearly come to see and know God and his forgiveness and reconciliation in our lives.