Let me start this off by saying I do not hate the Catholic church. I was never mistreated by anyone in the Catholic Church directly.
In fact I have overwhelming amazing memories of growing up in my home parish. I found immense joy in my youth church community. And participating in my church grew not only my faith, but my person as well. I think an incredibly large part of who I am is due to what I learned from the Catholic church as well as from the people I met there - who, while human, were overwhelmingly good, kind, loving people doing nothing more than trying to love one another and make the world a better place. And as I've stated before I think everyone should be part of a community like that - one that is focused on generosity of spirit and faith in things outside themselves.
And while I think I've found a pretty fantastic church home (Where "All really does mean All" are welcome) I specifically miss the Catholic church. I miss the beautiful rituals and the smell of the incense. I miss the rhythm and the cadence of the mass. And the way the congregation becomes one as they say the same prayers and sing the same songs. I love the transformative moment when the priest stands at the altar and communes directly with God, reminding us of the bigger picture and the sacrifices that were made for us. I miss the kneeling and the reverence and being forced outside of yourself for a moment.
On top of that there is a good majority of my family history that is tied into the Catholic Church and my heart aches sometimes when I think that my children will not be baptized into the Catholic church - that they will not be accepted into the gorgeous churches that I grew up revering. That my daughters will not dress in white and make their first communion or stand in front of their congregations and confirm their beliefs. That they will not be held up by the saints and angels that I have prayed to for the past 28 years. Will they know the prayers I whisper when I can't sleep and know the beauty of rosaries beads that are not just a necklaces? Will they sing the familiar hymns and know the beauty of kneeling in silence in a wash of gratitude?
It all makes me desperately sad, beyond measure. Not that I don't feel the spirit move. I do. I know there is a plan for my life. There is a divine twisting road that I do my best to follow. And more importantly, I believe God is in the love. He is in the meal I buy the homeless person on the corner. He is in the hug I give to a troubled friend. He is in my marriage and the sweetness we share. He is in my family, who un-endingly loves me, flaws included. He is in the reassuring words I give to my students. That spirit of love and kindness and true, pure beauty swirls around me.
But it's still really hard, even after all this time. Even after all the conflict I always felt going to church even before being gay became an issue (I was always sort of an independent thinking Catholic)
I still feel a disconnect. I still feel a longing. And I don't know if it is the missing of the familiar or what but I know it's there. A small hole. Right in my heart area.
But today isn't about that hole. It's about being in "the love." It's about recognizing that I am a unique creation in this universe (and you are too!) It's about being empowered in the knowledge, that this perfect love...it's what matters in the end.