Monday, May 28, 2007

Spiritual Sucker Punch

As I’ve said previously, I have a lot of issues with religion in general, and mine in particular. Having been raised CATH-O-LIC, suffering issues is pretty much par for the course.

Nonetheless, I like to go to church, even though I do not go to communion, or say that I believe in "one holy Catholic and apostolic church" and often have a sinking feeling I am the only asshole actually really listening to the readings and gospel. Even if I consider them Judeo Christian mythology, I think the sentiments communicated are worth hearing.

I thought some of my issues had maybe to do with the parish. It was the parish I have gone to most of my life. I decided to leave, which was hard to do. Then I had to decide what to do next. I went to another one of the local parish churches with one of my friends on Palm Sunday, but had not been since. I did not feel right going for Easter, to a new place, and then felt backpedaling on my decision to change parishes.

Yesterday, I woke up, at a freakishly early hour for a Sunday, especially since I had my latest night in ages the night before, and got up, and scrubbed and dressed and went to church at the new parish. I had not consciously recalled it was Pentecost. In retrospect I feel it was a convergence of serendipity that I decided to get up and go to mass yesterday. I like the new to me church. It seems friendlier. I was really surprised by my feelings yesterday during the prayers of petition. Essentially, Prayers of Petition are when a reader, or sometimes the Deacon, or, like yesterday, the Priest, reads off stuff to pray for, and the people respond "Lord, hear our prayer" or a reasonable facsimile. So, its a lot of stuff about prayers for the community, and the world, and pray for our soldiers blah, blah, blah, every week. I am sure in every religious service, regardless of the denomination, prayers are offered for the military.

During petitions yesterday, the priest said, "Let us all pause to pray and reflect, and give thanks to those who are, and have served, in the military." "Lord, hear our prayer." "Let us especially pray for those in our parish who have given their lives for us." Ok, that is when many people, including me, stopped breathing. Then, the priest read the full name of every parishioner who has died in Iraq. Not many names, but also far too many. Every syllable was like a punch in the stomach. I could not breathe. I felt winded. I started to cry, soundless, unstoppable tears. All war is horrible, and dirty, and mean, and disgusting, and a lot of actual human annihilation takes place. It ain’t pretty, or neat, or cut and dried, ever. This war has done so much damage to us all. I just pray some workable way to extricate ourselves from this current debacle will come to light.


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