All In Good TimeWednesday, July 28, 2010
Regardless of what I might believe now I think that having faith in something is important as opposed to not believing in anything. Even doubt is some sort of belief which I think is preferable to nonbelief.
It happened that one of the Twelve, Thomas (the name means “Twin”), was absent when Jesus came. The other disciples kept telling him: “We have seen the Lord!” His answer was, “I will never believe it without probing the nailprints in his hands, without putting my finger in the nailmarks and my hand into his side.”
A week later, the disciples were once more in the room, and this time Thomas was with them. Despite the locked doors, Jesus came and stood before them. “Peace be with you, “he said; then, to Thomas: “Take your finger and examine my hands. Put your hand into my side. Do not persist in your unbelief, but believe!” Thomas said in response, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him: “You became a believer because you saw me. Blest are they who have not seen and have believed.”
Because of the generation I came from I was baptized, confirmed and I had my first communion. My grandmother and mother taught me about being a Roman Catholic. My father always smiled and never said anything about God as far as I can remember. In those days I went to mass every Sunday and did not eat meat on Fridays. I was sent to confession often which is something I never looked forward to. Once I was at St. Edward’s with the help of Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C. I was given a solid education on the teachings of the Catholic Church. Brother Edwin instructed me on the “proofs” for the existence of God that were based on the teachings of Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas. I found out about the early Fathers of the Church and all the schisms. But more than anything I was taught that the church was primarily an institution of men (and women) and subject to error and abuse. When Brother Edwin either went on a vacation or thought we needed a stricter dose of scripture we had a Dominican priest for a few months.
It was sometime around the 11th grade that my classmate John Straney began to loudly proclaim that he did not believe in God. Imagine this in a Catholic boarding school. I took it upon myself to argue pro the existence of God but Straney was much too skillful and I got nowhere. The brothers simply ignored him and he graduated with good grades and a smile on his face. On Sunday nights at Mass we sang. I was too ignorant to realize that we had been taught to sing Gregorian chant.
I was married to Rosemary we had a civil wedding in Coyoacán, Mexico. I jokingly told my mother at the time that if she were to remarry, the four of us could have a church wedding.
Somehow because my mother was still alive my eldest daughter Ale had her first communion. But when Hilary was old enough my mother was gone and an active participation in the Catholic church became a memory.
In a trip to Argentina five years ago I took Rebecca to Mass at the church I had gone as a little boy. My godmother and first cousin, Inecita accompanied us. After Mass we helped ourselves to a fine Argentine breakfast of medias lunas and café con leche. I noted Rebecca’s curiosity throughout the Mass. A few years later we went to Guanajuato and in the church of la Valenciana Rebecca was struck by a large painting of Mary Magdanlene about to be stoned. Rebecca noted that this Mary Madgalene was a blonde! It was at la Valenciana that Rebecca enquired about the Stations of the Cross and I explained each one to her.
One of the reasons I took Rebecca to Austin is that I wanted her to experience the daily life of the Brothers of Holy Cross. I took her to morning prayer and to one very elaborate Sunday Mass that included a blues pianist with a marvelous baritone voice, a small choir of soloists and an electric base. I told Rebecca that I had graduated from high school in that church which is a chapel adjacent to St. Joseph Hall where we were staying. Her comment on the Mass was, “It wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be.”
It is my hope that Rebecca will have noted the easy going demeanor of Brother Edwin and the other brothers. They live in contentment and in their faith. They have only what they need. Perhaps in a short while the goings on of Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Snooki, and the underwhelmingly talented Jennifer Aniston will fade and Rebecca will feel a challenge for challenge. As for me I went to all the prayer sessions and somehow I left Austin with a feeling of peace that I had not felt in years. I think part of the reason was simply looking at Brother Edwin's smile and listening to his quiet but marked New Orlean accent, "Oh, gosh!"
Curiously, yet to be expected, the gentle Brother Edwin’s comment on all this (my worries about Rebecca) was, “All in good time. Let her be.”