For this entry I am commissioning Natashia to help me. She will be the Dr. Phil to my Oprah. We are currently laying in bed, not sleeping when we should be, talking about boys, church, and God, while listening to the Rent soundtrack. Please enjoy our random co-rant.
Where to start. So we are currently involved in a group at church that is a quasi youth group for people in their 20s. Most of us are college graduate students and young professionals. We are primarily a social group. I’m sure a lot of these people don’t have much to compare this group to, but we…do.
So what do we compare this group to? The Catholic Student Association at Saint Elizabeth’s University Parish in Lubbock. When I (Mel) left Lubbock I couldn’t get away fast enough and wasn’t planning to look back. When I (Tash) left Lubbock I left my heart and my soul with them. I cried, I didn’t want to leave my old life, but I knew God was calling me to other things. I (Mel) had recently become involved in the 20 somethings group, it was fun. Um…we play volleyball, go to Mass and then dinner, go dancing…and socialize a lot. That’s about it.
In Lubbock CSA did SO much. Tash was president of the group senior year and Mel was social chair, needless to say, she was all over the social aspects of the 20 somethings. Recently we both feel that we are not being fed/growing spiritually. I think it was something we were feeling simultaneously but have just discussed tonight. (We are an old couple; we talk about our day and life while we are lying in bed at night.) In Lubbock we had Mass on Sunday nights where we were in charge of the mass (all the lectors, Eucharistic ministers, choir, sound guys, ushers, etc, were college students in CSA). Once a month after Mass we had a dinner that the students prepared for the rest of the students, on Tuesdays we had a group rosary at someone’s house that between 20 and 40 people went to weekly, Wednesdays we had a class by our campus minister to teach us about our faith (the topic of the semester was driven by our – the students – interests), on Thursdays we had “The Rock,” which was praise and worship for 30ish minutes, a talk given by one of us, and then another 30ish minutes of praise and worship. Almost every week this was followed by a mass outing to coffee for socializing usually followed by a large group at adoration for lots of spiritual socializing. We usually had 15 or more people at daily mass (every day). We prayed as a group before and after every event, usually prompted by one of our spiritual leaders (aka – men). We also had small faith groups. These were groups of men or women with anywhere between 8 and 15 members who met at a designated place with a specific leader who chose a weekly topic and presented some sort of lesson. There was usually discussion and/or prayer following the lesson.
We were so blessed and spiritually fed. The men were leaders; they taught us, challenged us, and loved us whether we were their friends, girlfriends, or someone they’d just met. They accepted us the way we were and wanted only to show us God and teach us about Him. They wanted to learn about Him with us and grow together in faith. They initiated prayers, asked us what we were doing and if our answer was nothing they’d ask us to go to adoration or pray a rosary and it was incredibly common and frequently expected to pray a chaplet of divine mercy at 3 every day. They let us out of the pew before them to go to Communion, had enough respect for God and Mass that they wanted to dress up for Him, and they preferred that we were modest. Our boys could get turned on by a bare elbow, the rest didn’t have to be uncovered too. Our men saw us as the bride of Christ, understood what that meant, respected it, and saw to it that we were treated as nothing less. They wanted to learn about things like the Theology of the Body, wanted to understand it, wanted to know us (and not in a biblical way). Our boys didn’t expect sex, they understand what a gift it is, what it represents, and respect the union it is to be used in. They don’t want to disrespect it or us and they realize it is an amazing, beautiful thing God has given to married couples.
The union here on Earth between a man and a woman is a reflection of the Eternal Communion we will experience in Heaven as well as representative of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Man+Woman=Baby; God+Jesus=Holy Spirit).
The men here in our group don’t have that. It’s not something we can hold against them. Perhaps they haven’t had the role models our guys have. Our guys in Lubbock even teach, lead and challenge each other. Here, they challenge each other to see who can drink the most. Maybe some of them don’t know what Adoration is, we can’t expect them to ask us to go there when they’ve never been. Maybe some of them don’t know this is the role God had created for them. How, though, as women of God do we teach them? How do we show them? How can we turn our community into something that is balanced, something that can benefit us and feed us all spiritually?
I want to be able to have people over, sit in my living room and just have a great religious discussion that challenges me to think and to question and to want to read and learn. I want to be able to learn from the insights of others and to see other points of view of people who have similar beliefs to mine. I want to be able to talk to people who are educated in the Catholic faith, who understand it, who know what we (the Catholic church) believe and why. I want to be fed. I want to have that relationship again. I don’t want to be mocked by the people I go to church with because I know what I believe, why I believe it, and want to talk about it. I want more and I want them to want more.
How can we get what we expect without comparing to them to something that is setting them up to fail? The men we know have shown us what can be and what is. How can we have that here? Now that we know the fairytale exists we don’t want to settle for less. We want a man who will lead us and learn about and grow in God with us. Are all the men who seemingly fall short screwed? Are those men who don’t have each other to learn, grow, and lean on able to become what we need?
“I know about wanting more, I invented the concept. The question is how much more?” –Edward Lewis
“I want the fairytale.” –Vivian Ward