Homes are full of comfort and conflict, and the Roman Catholic  church is no different.  It bursts with personalities and styles; some mesh better than others just like the members of an extended family.  But just as something draws families together, so there is something that holds this family of the church together as well. At the heart of it is faith.

Within miles of each other, priests of a diocese can promote very different perspectives in the church.  One may be offering  a Latin Mass and preaching the evils of modernism while the other may be focusing on mercy and hospitality to all.  But beyond those personal perspectives, they both are offering the same sacrifice of the Mass, both carrying on traditions of centuries and both attempting to contribute to the best of their ability to the life of the Church and the care of the people.

And so it is that a traditionalist  can find the cadence of Latin and a Modernist can find the words most needed.  This church is a house with many doors, many avenues, and there is one waiting, a home open for those who seek it out.   And there is the majesty of it: to believe means effort and work, intellectual endeavors and conscious choices.  Faith is not simple, and it is not easy.  It is the challenge of a lifetime on a thousand different levels.  It is a onstage invitation to grow and to learn, to become a better person.

The institutional church provides process, a means, assistance.  But the journey of faith, of shaping a house into a home, is intensely personal and undeniably unique for every individual.  It is perhaps, the path not taken for so many.  It is, perhaps, far easier to find reasons not to embark on the journey than to embrace the challenge of exploration, of reflection and thought and decision-making.  It is, perhaps, easier to live without the gift of a worldwide community that simultaneously is a reminder that all humans are always participating in something greater than self and that pain and suffering and joy are ever present in life.

And on the other hand, for those who accept the invitation, who trust through the hard times and continually choose to learn and reflect and grow, there is that incredibly humbling, indescribably powerful moment of revelation, that awareness of something far greater than self.  That is home.



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