I can remember the first time I realized that everything I needed to know about life could be found in my church from birth. I was one of the lucky ones to be born and raised in the fullness of Truth. Yet, I think many cradle Catholics need to go through a re-version in order to fully understand what they were born into. I know that when it finally dawned on me, the overwhelming peace and joy, I felt, was incredible. Now, I had seen the light, I no longer needed the restraints and rules that the Catholic Church taught, because I had no desire to break them (at least the serious ones…still working on the many venial bad habits). I was no longer a slave to sin, or this world, I was a free and loved child of God.
I never comprehended how hard it would be to hang out with your “old” friends, coworkers and even family, who are more in line with the secular way of thinking and view the Church as nothing but a set of rules. For instance, after much research and reading different Facebook debates, I finally realized that the Church was right, on their teachings, about sex and contraception. I eagerly wanted to share my excited news abut Natural Family Planning with my friends, but I didn’t expect the backlash, the doubt and the ridicule. After that incident, I pretty much clammed up about the topic. I’ve even learned to bite my tongue when coming to the Church’s defence on controversial issues, like abortion, female ordination, and other scandals, to avoid a heated debate. It’s not that I was afraid too, but rather my approach of “taking the other on” in a debate, didn’t seem to be working. I will still engage in debate, but I try to meet them where they are, while recognizing it’s not me that is going to change their hearts, but the Holy Spirit.
It can also be hard living in a secular world when friends ask you to do things, that you find morally objectionable. How do you say no without sounding judgmental? No, sorry I don’t want to see Magic Mike because I don’t think we should objectify people. But, if you make some lame excuse about how you’re busy, isn’t that cowardly? It’s like you’re afraid to share what you believe, but if you don’t share, how else will the Gospel be spread?
I’ve just come to realize how difficult it is to have truly strong friendships, when you cannot honestly share what is most important to you, and you’re left with superficial topics to keep the friendship alive. On the other hand, I don’t think one should surround themselves with only like minded people, but it is also not healthy for you to be surrounded by people whose world views are so opposed to your own. You need to have a strong community of believers in order to strengthen your faith