Recently I was overwhelmed with a shocking sadness during mass. I was waiting my turn to receive communion at church and a daunting realization almost smothered me.
I was at my new neighborhood church, where I keep going back trying to let it become my new home. In many ways it is different from the church of my childhood and also from the church I have attended with my own family the last 24 years. I could drive the extra miles to attend either of those and possibly feel more comfortable, but the harsh reality would still remain. I am alone.
I can hardly believe that I am now the only one in my family who is a practicing Catholic. Practicing? Well, maybe participating Catholic is more appropriate. Funny that I am more confident in my faith now than in my previous 49 years, but now my family is not there to enjoy this same enlightenment. This after 24 years of attending as a full family as well as enjoying the opportunity to teach my own children and many others in CCD classes for most of those years.
I think the chaos became evident as the dust settled from my divorce. It had not occured to me how ostracized I would feel by catholicism when my family broke apart. All of a sudden, I was alone. The couple times I attended mass, raw with divorce pain, it seemed the priest would mention something during the homily about marriage – the blessing, the responsibility, the beauty of it. Every word was like salt in my wounds. Of course I avoided going for some time after that.
Finally, after a nice journey of recovery and healing in a protestant church ministry, Celebrate Recovery, with my (ex) husband, I have also regenerated my love of the Catholic faith and all it includes. I attend the protestant church with my husband, but have resumed going to the Catholic mass regularly too.
As special as the mass is, and the celebration of the Holy Eucharist especially, it is when I watch the other families attending together that the ache starts. The tears start to drop when I observe the new (or renewed) practice of kneeling to receive communion and how touching to see the husbands kneeling next to their wives receiving the Lord’s body together.
I would never have dreamed that I would be the last Catholic kneeling in my family. I pray, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, that it won’t always be this way.