I have a deep and abiding faith in God. I always have. Heck, I went to a Catholic grade school and a Catholic college. When I started teaching, I went right to the Catholic schools for a job. I remained a teacher in the Catholic school system for almost 30 years.
I have always had my ‘issues’ with my religion but when I went to college, I was taught by nuns who encouraged me to not only embrace those issues but explore other areas of my faith as well. I was challenged to explain why I disagreed with some of the practices of the church. I was encouraged to explore areas of social justice. I was prodded to deepen my relationship with my faith in God….beyond the constraints of the Catholic religion.  The experience of those 4 years opened my eyes to a world beyond the walls of the ‘church’. I realized that my faith was not the same as my religion.
After graduation, I started my teaching career in what I thought was the safest place possible, the Catholic church and school system. Over the years, I continued to practice my religion, going to church each week, teaching the religion to my students, saying the prayers I grew up memorizing. But in my heart of hearts, I still had the same issues with my religion.
Year after year, I taught the Catholic religion to my students, and eventually my own children. I loved the security and stability the Church provided even if I disagreed with some of Its teachings.
For years the term Cafeteria Catholic bothered me as did the term ChriEaster. Cafeteria Catholics are ones that pick and choose what they want to believe from the religion and leave the rest. Chri-Easters are folks that only go to Mass on Christmas and Easter. But since I no longer teach at a Catholic school, I have become both. I have not been to Mass in many months. I pray but Mass? Nope….
Today I went to a local church to hear a man speak about his devotion to Mary.  It was a true God-incident as I didn’t really want to go and have not been to church in a long time. His testimony was amazing and powerful. Kevin Matthews was a morning radio DJ “back in the day”. I grew up listening to Kevin and all the many characters he created. After college, I worked with people who knew Kev and went to many of his events…”proms”, golf outings, parties, etc. He was the “cool kid” everyone wanted to be around…..and he was funny as hell. I was a true ‘Kev-Head’
I have always felt a deep connection to the Mother Mary. Praying the rosary gives me peace and I like to collect different rosaries from all over the world. I used to make rosaries with my students and pray a living rosary with them. May Crowning is still one of my favorite church traditions.  I always felt that Mary, as another mother, understood my struggles. Listening to Kevin speak only strengthened that conviction.  I realized that I am still devoted to my faith and to Mary.
I took the opportunity while in church to pray. I prayed about my life. Divorce is something the Catholic Church does not condone. Homosexuality is also something the Catholic Church does not condone. I am divorced. My son is gay.
So today I prayed to my Mother Mary. I asked her for peace. Being that Mary was an unwed teenage mother, if she were one of my ‘besties,’ I like to believe that she would have advised me to do what I have done in leaving my marriage. She doesn’t seem the type to excuse abuse. Forgive? Yes. But allow? I don’t think so. I also believe if Mary had a gay child, she would love him/her, accept him/her and encourage others, especially the Church, to do the same. God created all of us in His image so He is my son and my son is Him.
Kevin said during his talk, “If you hold the Rosary, you hold the hand of Mary. If you hold the hand of Mary, you hold the hand of God.” I embrace the Rosary and Mary.
God created all of us. God makes no mistakes. God created my son to love who he loves. God knows I was faithful to my marriage. God has a plan for my son. for me…for all my children and for all of us. I have Mary as my guide and I have faith. A faith not contained by 4 walls but by the air and soil and sea
and sky.
Faith is trusting in God’s plan. I may not understand the plan or like it but I have faith.
I have faith and love….and Mary.
Peace –

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