The church was full on Sunday.
Are we experiencing some sort of revival ? Perhaps the pandemic was a reminder there are bigger forces at play ?.
Perhaps people are scared and feel out of control or uneasy about the way the world is going and are turning back to God ?
Perhaps the new priest is drawing people back ? He has a fatherly authority and an enthusiasm for the faith.
Perhaps people want their children in Catholic schools. I don’t know the reasons but the mass was alive on Sunday, the singing glorious and heart felt and there was a sense of warmth and community, a very international community,which was inspiring.
I know there is and has been so much anti religious feeling in Britain, not in the world but here, there is a deep scepticism.
Clearly there have been abuses of power. The terrible legacy of sexual abuse has damaged so many. Generally the uneasy relationship with sexuality is a huge problem and the wariness around women is really troubling.
The repressive puritanism of the past does not come from Jesus though. I always think of Him enjoying the extravagant attention of Mary with the alabaster oils . This lovely sensual image was personally very instrumental in bringing me back to the church. It was healing. Women have carried a lot of shame around their bodies which isn’t loving, healthy or enlightened.
And then there is science that has been pitted against religion but to me this makes no sense. It’s only a problem for Creationists who take the story of Genesis literally. I believe in God and evolution, it’s not a problem for me.
The scriptures are full of people’s responses to God. They are inspired but not absolute. The are historical and need to be understood in the context of culture . It can get dangerous and fanatical to start quoting scripture as rigid dogma. Ofcourse there is much to learn from engaging with scripture and writings of wise people on our traditions but we are all finding our own way and discovering our own way to walk with God.
Despite the problems, I was lost when I was trying to live without my faith. I think it was Jung who said a community without a tradition is like an individual without memory. There is no anchor.
Money is the God of the capitalist world and it’s clear where that is leading us. Money has got so powerful ,it has enslaved us. Ofcourse we need it but it’s only a tool. It’s the worst kind of idol worship to let money be the ultimate guide to the way we live our life. In the end when we are facing death it means so little where as love means everything.
I know my faith keeps me afloat and brings me a wisdom and guidance bigger than my own . I recognise a deeply loving presence in my interior world and I believe profoundly and increasingly in the power of prayer. I feel I am heard and loved in all my vulnerability, silliness and confusion.
The mass is deeply moving and connects me to my family and to the past, to my experiences of depth, light and goodness to the person of Jesus and in other people. This is what keeps me.
Trying to live a compassionate life makes sense to me,the reminder that we are all part of each other . It helps to locate myself in my deeper self that knows I am so deeply connected to others and to nature rather than my ego which is self serving and never satisfied.
I am no evangelical, I know there are different ways to God and the light I experience in my own Catholic faith I also see in Jews, Buddhists, Baha’i, Hindud and Muslims which is why I’m active in the interfaith movement
If people are returning to faith I am glad. The world urgently needs us to wake up and live more unselfish lives. A commitment to compassion in whichever way that comes can only be good.