Monday, February 21, 2011
A Crisis of Sorts
Coming into the JVC one of my main goals for the year was to reignite the fire that is my faith, or as I should say, was my faith. I never would have considered myself a spiritual person in my past, but my faith had certainly reached new lows in college.
It will come as no surprise to a lot of my friends that the decline in my passion for my faith correlates perfectly with the death of my father. But why? My faith is not suffering because I am mad at God for taking my father away much before his time. To me, these feelings are kind of childish and not the way I deal with things.
A lot of it seemed to come from the general apathy I had about a lot of things at this time and the fact that I had much higher priorities on my mind than my faith.
Entering into my senior year of college I was way beyond the point of caring at all about my faith, even though the whole time I felt there was something missing. Luckily, going into this year, I had made the wise decision to live with long time friend, but at the time never close friend Kyle. The entire fall term Kyle was persistent, “Do you want to come to 242 tonight?” (the college group he attended that would be my first venture outside of catholicism) “Hey man, wanna go to bible study?’
I always had an excuse, but I was quickly running out of them. Finally, at the beginning of the winter term, I gave into his constant pressuring and went to 242. And what a great decision it was! For the remainder of the year I was surrounded by a huge support system of amazing people and I was able to live out my faith. That’s the kicker: live out my faith. I have always felt my faith should be action based, but it never was. But it never went beyond that.
This passion to live out my faith was going to fit in perfectly with my year in JCV where I would be living in an intentional community with people whose faiths were similar to my own. Here I would have a chance to live spirituality with people, to pray with them, to work for the poor and live simply, together. Unfortunately parts of this just haven’t happened.
There is certainly effort involved. The work I am doing at my job has certainly helped my faith; the strength I see in the people I encounter everyday, who hold on to their faith as the world crumbles, is, for lack of a better word, awe inspiring. We engage in spirituality nights, I have read spiritual books, (note to self: maybe the fact that none of these are the actual Bible might be significant), and I have a spiritual advisor. All of these things have been great, but my faith is still in a stand still.
The biggest issue is that I have identified what the problem, I just don’t know what to do about it. The issue: I can’t pray. Or maybe that I don’t know how to pray. To be completely honest I never really learned (can you) and I never did it consistently at any point in my life.
When I did Youth on Fire in high school one of our requirements was to pray for thirty minutes every night, and I found that when I actually did it I felt tremendously better, like a hugh weight had been lifted off my shoulders. And yet I never kept it up. I still sometimes pray at night, but I am surrounded by the feeling that I’m talking to myself, even though I think it’s a ridiculous concept.
It’s hard for me to maintain my faith when, in my opinion, it is our responsibility as Christians to live as Jesus did; with and for the poor. And this is something that is not happening. I know that many of the issues in the world are in fact man made and are not caused by either a non existent God or one that simply does care. But it is a struggle.
For me to make a difference in the work that I am doing I know it must be for both the poor and for God. The beautiful thing about faith is that it gives a choice. And while I am going to struggle with my faith for probably quite some time, I have chosen not to ignore the constant nagging that is happening in my heart. The effort is there, and results will come, and I must recognize that God is behind it all, and then maybe I will be able to open my ears, my heart, my mind and have a conversation with God.