The last few weeks, I have been experiencing a fight inside. A fight to not pull away from the religious aspects of my faith.
Without the sacraments, daily Mass, Adoration, involvement in different ministries, and the many other ritualistic, liturgical, and ministerial aspects of my faith, my heart seems to have grown farther from the Church. But oddly, not far from God with whom I am still in relationship and pray to each day, and not far from the core Gospel message which is still vibrant in my life.
Because of this, more and more it feels like a fight to keep drawing back to those religious practices I once held dear. On one hand, maybe that’s why I needed all those practices, because the Lord knew they kept me in the fold -- on the path. On another hand, I feel a little burned out on religion. Maybe I overdid some of these. Maybe I exhausted myself. Maybe religious practices at their best are more of a free flowing “dance” and balance. Ultimately, it’s probably two lessons for me.
But God keeps working. His grace keeps seeking me. One weekend, three different people reached out and it was clear God was trying to draw me back through them as they all either brought up comments or asked questions that got me thinking.
One good friend even said to me…”You need to get back to watching daily Mass, even if it means watching it from a different country to accommodate your work schedule. It fed you. Not just the Eucharist. The Word and other aspects of the Mass.” She then sent me a link to various live streamed masses all over the world. Another woman told me to seek the Lord in Adoration online. Then a friend told me about a drive-thru confession nearby, and another person asked me when I was coming back to engage in something religious that we previously did together.
I (and you) may be a little strayed sheep right now, but His shepherds around us keep working. It showed me that when one sheep is lost or strays for a moment, others can draw him or her back.
May we too be shepherds and conduits of His grace to those in our midst who are struggling and starting to pull away from the flock.