Last month and this month, I have spent a Friday and Saturday hanging out with and attending classes designed to assist me in the process of discernment. The group of people is varied and interesting, no one much like me at all, other than our chosen denomination of the Christian faith. The group has been interesting and engaging, and I've enjoyed it.
One of the concepts we've discussed in both small groups and in the class I'm enrolled in is the concept of Catechumenate. It's a mouthful. Essentially, if I'm understanding, in the early Church before infant baptism became so prevalent, adults who were contemplating being baptized into the Church went through a period of time in the Catechumenate. I'm going to write my research paper on the concept, because it is fascinating. This period of time was normally years, rather than months. During this time, those in the Catechumenate prayed, fasted, and generally prepared themselves to be received into the communion. Why don't we do this anymore? There are references to "re-adopting" the practice in the last Lambeth Conference concerning the Anglican communion, but so far, well, we're still generally ok with baptizing infants, and in the case of adults after a brief "educational" session.
I think the reason I'm drawn to the concept of the Catechumenate is because it involves some soul-searching. Rather than just follow like sheep being led to...well...slaughter...we make a conscious decision to be or not be a part of the Church. Today I would dare to say that we spend precious little time on the concepts of call, vocation, discernment. Where are we being called to next? Well, that seems a bit hard to say for me right now, but I'm finally asking the questions and not presupposing the answers. Someone said yesterday (quoting someone else) that "vocation is the way in which God wishes to save us." I like that, and I'm going to mull it over. More on that after I've thought and prayed on it.
I've realized more and more that I am drawn into community now more than ever. Ever since I've been Episcopalian - which is about 12 years - I have been uneasy with the "Passing of the Peace." I'm still trying to understand why, but I think it's the intimacy of the act. Looking someone in the eyes, and wishing them God's peace. It makes me uncomfortable. I'm at odds with myself, and so wishing someone else peace in such a close contact way throws me off. It's one of things I'm trying to get. When I figure it out, well I'll be that much closer to understanding my separation from God and from everyone else. My self-imposed separation. The oddity - I didn't used to be this way. When I was younger - 18, 19, 20...I was fairly free with affection. I hugged and touched the people I loved with an ease that escapes me now at 33. It's another piece of the puzzle. Sometimes I think it stems from a general feeling of safety I had that I don't have now. Which seems odd, but nonetheless it's there.
I'm thankful today. Despite the wreckage that is my life these days, there are bright moments. I have found a trusted counselor. I have found a spiritual advisor. I have found two different faith communities that are loving and nurturing places. If I can just let myself live in this and be in this, and not judge, analyze or deconstruct it all, I can move into the next moments of my life with sureness of foot and steadfastness of heart. I'm hopeful. Perhaps God really does *want* to save me. Now I have to want to save myself.