So, it is thirty days until Easter. Once I enter the Church, will I still be nascens, or will I be novus?
Things have been moving quickly, and I’m sorry I haven’t felt like posting, and haven’t had time. I am always having thoughts I think of sharing, but then they pass before I have a chance to sit down and write them, or my motivation flags. I’ve started and deleted this post three or four times in the past week.
Last week at RCIA, we had a lesson on sacramental marriage and Natural Family Planning with a couple in the parish, and it was amazing and invigorating and worldview-changing. I find that the more Catholic I become, the more and more my worldview changes — the more and more I feel at odds with the rest of the world.
Jesus said that the world would hate us on account of His Name; that we would be reviled and persecuted. Never before in my life as a Christian have I truly felt that pain of rejection. But in this heated political and cultural debate, I feel all of a sudden that I’ve placed myself on the front lines of the culture wars — or sometimes, before a firing squad. Many of my closest friends are very liberal. Always in the past I’ve been able to find common ground with them, and we were able to respect each other’s divergent turf. Never before have I been decried for maintaining my own, private, traditional, conservative views; but now, if I’m not openly in favor of abortion or homosexual marriage (or “women’s rights” and “gender rights”) — then I’m labeled a misogynist and a homophobe.
The Catholic Church stands, self-consciously, against the values of the modern world. Critics charge that the Church is antiquated or “out of step with the times” — but this is how it has to be; we follow Christ and not the times. We are called not to conform, but to be transformed. I’ve heard this rhetoric all my life as a Protestant, but never before have I found myself holding positions — on marriage, on contraception, on the death penalty, on service to the poor, just to name a few — that go against even most Protestants. More than any other brand of Christianity I’ve been a part of, I feel that I’ve stumbled upon radical Christianity.