Wednesday, December 05, 2007

new connections with Catholicism (pt. 1)

So last week, along with going to the Harp 46 concert, I had some new interactions with Catholicism, that were both humbling and profound. The first is that I met with Father Louis Fiorelli last week as an introduction to spiritual direction. We met in his office, and he asked many questions about my background, my story, my life and allowed me the opportunity to pray with him. We talked a little bit about how he was certainly interested in meeting together with this 25-year old Baptist youth pastor who is interested in spiritual direction. I think he was even more surprised when we talked about how I was trying to keep the hours, practice silence, and embrace some of the ancient disciplines. I told him that I don't even know what to do with myself, and so if he didn't know what to do with me or didn't feel comfortable meeting, I totally could understand, and he didn't seem fact, I think that we got along quite well, and that this could be a powerful experience.

One of the things that he talked about that we would probably try to work on, was something that had begun to rise up in my own prayer life, and in my own practices of some of the different disciplines, that is: that I would not only experience and enjoy the sense of excitement and newness that comes in embracing the ancient disciplines, but that i would begin to understand the discipline part...that I would begin to set down roots in the practices, and learn to walk in them especially when the newness wears off, and the sense of excitement dwindles. It was beautiful to talk about and to begin to wrestle with. It is very humbling to begin to realize how little I know, how little I've actually practiced these disciplines (on the larger scale) and how much of a challenge it will be to actually follow through.

This actually kind of freaked me out the next two days after we met. I found that I wanted to abandon all of the practices. I wanted to call Father Fiorelli back and let me know that I didn't "feel like this was what I needed." I was so scared of being exposed for the fraud that I know that I am. I was scared to let someone else see into the lapses, breaks, and lack of discipline that is my life. I was humbled to let someone else in (besides some of my close friends) that is trained to help me reflect and take steps for change in my relationship with God and others. And I kind of got angry about it. I was angry with myself for my pride, and angry with Father Fiorelli for saying yes. But after the initial shock to my system...this sense of peace has begun to set in. For all of the things that I'm scared to wrestle with (and its not like there is some deep dark secret I have to let go of or share), I realized that I like control, and I am prideful about keeping things together and I didn't want some of the excitement to end. And it probably won't for a while, but I really hope that this helps me to become rooted like a tree near a fresh stream, that slowly grows and finds strength and over time has deep roots stretching towards the living water. Yet at the same time, I know this won't happen overnight, and that I have a long ways to's to giving it a try.

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