1) Waiting on a job change
My season of waiting started at the beginning of this year. My company was struggling financially. We started seeing some changes: cuts in benefits, attrition, spending freezes.
I began praying to God asking what I should do. He told me to wait until the fall.
At first, it was easy to wait: I enjoy my job, love my company, and have a fantastic manager. As the year progressed and worse announcements were made, doubt grew and I started looking for new jobs.
Though logically, seeking a new job seemed like the right choice, I felt uneasy. It went beyond dissatisfaction with the available jobs or frustration when I was outright rejected for jobs I was qualified for; something was unsettling me.
After (finally) really listening to God, I realized I just needed to trust Him and wait. I stopped applying for jobs and turned down interviews. The logical part of me was panicking, but I knew this was the right thing to do.
Dear Starving but Wanting to Stay,
There is a letter by J.R.R. Tolkien written to his son, to which I refer frequently because of Tolkien’s eminent reverence for the Eucharist; but Tolkien also gives his son a piece of advice that I think about often and find appropriate to share here:
“I can recommend this as an exercise (alas! only too easy to find opportunity for): make your communion in circumstances that affront your taste. Choose a snuffling or gabbling priest or a proud and vulgar friar; and a church full of the usual bourgeois crowd, ill-behaved children – from those who yell to those products of Catholic schools who the moment the tabernacle is opened sit back and yawn – open necked and dirty youths, women in trousers and often with hair both unkempt and uncovered. Go to communion with them (and pray for them). It will be just the same (or better than that) as a mass said beautifully by a visibly holy man, and shared by a few devout and decorous people. It could not be worse than the mess of the feeding of the Five Thousand – after which our Lord propounded the feeding that was to come.”
Our society is very concerned with productivity and efficiency. As with most social phenomena, there are a variety of factors that contributed to this. One factor that I find fascinating, however, is the so-called “Protestant work ethic”.
I had never even heard of the Protestant work ethic – although it’s got a whole Wikipedia page unto itself – until senior year of college in my Intro to Sociology course (yes, it was a class of freshman + me). Sociologist Max Weber (1864-1920) wrote an entire book called The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, in which he claims that Protestant (especially Calvinist) theology, laid the foundation for capitalism. It’s a very fascinating argument, but I can’t do it justice here. The overall (oversimplified) argument is that, in some Protestant circles, there has historically been a significant emphasis placed on hard work and industry as a sign of one’s “election by God.”
Hence, the emergence of capitalism.
I suppose it’s no surprise, then, that American Christianity has elevated “industry” to a virtue. Think I’m exaggerating? I was shocked to discover recently that sloth (the deadly sin, not the animal) is NOT the same as laziness.
A recent move has landed my family 20 hours away from home. We now find ourselves in the rural south, in the middle of the “Baptist belt.”
The Catholic parish is very small, and I am embarrassed to admit this but I absolutely hate the parish life. I’ve disliked priests before, but never to this extent.
Our pastor is a good man, he’s faithful and is available for all the sacraments; my dislike is totally a clash of personalities. I also disagree with the way a lot of things are done within the liturgy. Often things are included and made a part of the mass that have no business being a part of the celebration (for example, once a month we sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to everyone who is celebrating their birthday that particular month).
I’ve worked in professional ministry settings for the last 7 years and I have a degree in Theology and Religious Education. I think this is partially why I get so frazzled. I volunteer at the parish, helping where I can, but I’m not in a position to “fix” anything.
I did not grow up praying the rosary.
For the first half of my life, my rosary hung on the wall, draped over the framed guardian angel prayer that was also never prayed.
By the time I got to high school, I tried to fumble my way through praying the rosary from a little blue pamphlet. My few failed attempts did not exactly foster a deep desire to pray the rosary.
The Creed at the beginning intimidated me, the Fatima prayer was totally foreign to me, I didn’t understand how to meditate on the mysteries, and quite frankly, I didn’t see the point.
When I entered college, I started hearing bits and pieces about “the power of praying the rosary.”
Though I still didn’t quite get the purpose, I tried praying it a little more – because if it had helped so many people, and so many Catholics did it, there must be something to it.
I still have ups and downs. I’ve felt peace fall upon me in the midst of intense anxiety after praying the rosary, and there are many more times I’ve fallen asleep gripping it tightly in my hand because I was too exhausted to actually pray. I’ve heaved out Hail Marys as I dragged my body along a path I was hiking. I’ve turned to the rosary turing times of distress.
Yet still, I struggle to pray it.
Do you know what’s at the root of insecurity?
Fear of not being liked.
Or not being good enough.
Or being too much.
Or not being lovable.
Or being too intimidating.
Or not being able.
Or being alone.
“Fear is the enemy of love” says St. Augustine.
Let that sink in.
Read the original question here.
Hello! Thank you so much for verbalizing what so many of us feel, and don’t worry- this doesn’t make you a terrible Catholic at all! I know that for so long, I have found it so hard to relate to Mary, and even just to approach her in prayer. You hit on a core problem that I am sure many of us encounter in our growth in being Catholic.
When I read your question, I began to ask myself the same thing. I can honestly say it has only been about a year since I have been able to be comfortable going to Mary and actually seeing her as someone I can relate to. And one thing that changed it for me was praying on very human aspects of her as well.