I have a number of spiritual friends ranging from Agnostics to Zen Buddhists.
Even though I am a Christian, I respect all their belief systems and hold many of these people in the highest esteem.
Yesterday, I had a conversation with a Catholic friend who was telling me about her wedding plans. Her fiance is a lapsed Catholic and in order for them to be married in the Catholic Church, he has to take a lot of classes to gain his needed sacraments to be worthy of having their marriage sanctified by the Church.
As it is, they have two kids already and it’s not enough that they wish to be married, they have to prove they qualify for it.
I came to learn that if a Catholic wished to be married to a non-Catholic, these courses would not be required for that kind of union, but because they are both of the same religion, they must abide by the tedious hours of classwork otherwise it’s considered a ‘sin.’
Because they have children out of wedlock, that too is considered a ‘sin’ and as such, neither is allowed to take communion.
Since her parents are divorced, they [mom and dad], are not allowed to sit together through church services because divorce is a ‘sin’, and you can’t flaunt your sin in church. My friend wonders, what will happen during her wedding since her parents will be in different locations so as not to offend God or the powers-that-be.
To say my mind was blown is an understatement. I confess to not knowing much about the Catholic religion, other than coming to the conclusion that it takes A LOT of work to be one.
Hats off to those practicing Catholics that adhere so strongly to these tenets. I, personally, would have given up a long time ago, seeing the hoops that must be jumped through in order to keep the faith.
Looking at my shocked face, I was asked, ‘Why? What’s it like for Christians? What do they have to do?’
Still reeling, I said the first thing that popped into my head. ‘Nothing…We believe salvation is a gift….A free gift… and all we have to do is accept it.’
She stared hard at me processing what I had just said, then after a short while, she nodded her head and replied, ‘That makes sense.’
Turning to another friend that was half listening to our conversation, they spoke quickly in Spanish, turned back to me and both agreed, ‘That makes a lot sense. It shouldn’t be this hard.’
* * *
No, it shouldn’t.
Salvation is a gift.
A free gift.
And it breaks my heart that such a profound act as taking communion is withheld because one side deems the other unworthy.
It breaks my heart that so many believe a church body has the power to decide if you are good enough, or deserving enough, or faithful enough to be part of that said body.
Yes, I have friends of all persuasions. And of all of them, from the Atheists to the Pagans, Druids to the Wiccans, Jews to the Animists…it has only been those closest to my own faith that break me open repeatedly for various reasons.
In case you didn’t know it,
You ARE worthy
You ARE loved.
Peace be with you.