In my last post, I mentioned that I, by no means, am anybody special. I'm as big of a sinner as anyone else. But I think it was C.S. Lewis who said, "Church is less of a museum for saints as it is a hospital for sinners."
So who am I?? Where have I been?? Where have I come from?? Where am I on my spiritual journey?
I grew up an only child to a single mom in a small town in northwest Missouri named Tarkio. My family has always maintained a Catholic identity. Like many Catholics though, we seldom went to mass. We went as a family on Christmas and I do recall my grandfather occasionally taking me to mass. I knew enough how to follow along in the misselette.
Most children received first communion in second grade but I did not. It was not until I was in seventh grade that I went to catechism classes and went to reconciliation and received communion for the first time.
My pattern of seldom attending mass continued. I do remember going to mass occasionally--we only lived across the street from the church but definitely not on a consistent basis.
The next time I went to mass on a consistent basis was while I was in Marine Corps boot camp. That was very enjoyable--but only because it got us away from our drill instructors. I normally wrote letters or did anything but pay attention during mass.
After boot camp, I went back home as a Marine Reservist and again returned to my pattern of rarely receiving the sacraments. I went to college, fell in love and moved in with the girl. A year later we got married at the Platte County courthouse. Abby was Methodist and she was like me and we rarely went to church. Are you noticing a pattern??
We had our first daughter Emma and then a few years later our son Max. Abby's family started going back to church and Abby would occasionally go with them. I still firmly identified myself as Catholic and wanted to raise my children as Catholic and get them baptized. But I didn't think it would be fair to expect Abby to go along having our children baptized Catholic if I did not ever go to mass.
I started attending mass and getting myself right in the Church. I received the sacrament of confirmation and Max and Emma were baptized. That fall, Abby started RCIA classes (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) and began the road to coming into the Catholic Church. At Easter Vigil, 2001 Abby came into the church.
We attended mass fairly regularly but it was still common for us to miss church for a month at a time, go for several weeks, miss a couple weeks etc etc. Sporadic at best is how I would describe it.
All this time, I was helping out in Senior high youth group and teaching confirmation courses to high school kids. This caused me to want to know more about my faith so that I could be a better teacher. About four years ago, I started reading books and listening to CD's about the Catholic church and became hooked. I was on the road to Catholic geek. I gobbled up books, listened to a ton of CD's and really started learning. Three years ago, I started taking online courses through the Bishop Helmsing Institute.
At this point, I had become fairly knowledgeable about my faith. At least enough to be dangerous. In December, 2005, I went to reconciliation and confessed my sin of missing mass. Since that time I have only missed Sunday mass two or three times. I think at this point my spiritual life went from a cerebral level to a more spiritual level.
Today, I am by no where close to where I want to be. My prayer life still sucks (that's a technical term) but the advancement I've made in the last few years are further than I ever thought I could be. I attend mass regularly and sometimes even to daily mass. I go to reconciliation every month or so and am trying to pray regularly. Most importantly, I find myself free from the desire to sin like never before. Sins that I used to commit regularly I no longer have the desire to commit. I am passionate about God and now no longer embarrassed to show off my faith. (Obvious by the fact that I'm blogging about it.)
What does my future hold? Hopefully more advancements and less back sliding. I want people to see Christ in me. I think I am going to start the next class to the deaconate. I'm still not sure that's what I want to do but I feel that I need to at least start the process and discern whether I want to become an ordained deacon. Obviously, my ultimate goal is Heaven but I want to take as many of you with I can. My fear is that I go in front of God and He asks me, "what have you done with the talents I've given to you?"
Well, that in a nutshell is where I've come in a spiritual life. Obviously, I could go more in depth, but I might write something that I can cover later.