Why do I write? Because I have to. There was never a time in my life where I wasn’t compulsively writing or keeping some type of journal. Cleaning out my closet last year I realized I have kept a written log of my life since I was 7 years old. It’s impossible to believe I had so much to say, and that there continues to be even more yet to be said. Will I ever shut up? My mentor is high school warned that I would spend my entire life talking myself out of situations my mouth got me into. Prophetic.
But why specifically a Catholic blog when I could write about anything – parenting, politics, dinners I burn, and plants I kill. I am a Catholic blogger because it keeps Catholicism near to me. Admittedly, there are days when the most pious thing I accomplish is this blog. I fight daily to keep my faith fresh and not fall into complacency. Yes, it is a daily struggle. A determined act of will. While being Catholic feels as natural to me as breathing it’s that same naturalness that endangers me to take it all for granted.
Gone is the Convert High, the years of being deeply entrenched in theological study, and spending my evenings talking about the Church with fellow converts. My days are not spent at adoration and daily mass. I am not an expert or a theologian and I don’t want to misrepresent myself as some kind of professional Papist. I am just a lay person trying very very very hard to keep Catholicism as close to me as humanly possible when my everyday life seems so very far the Church. So I write about Catholicism. I read about Catholicism. And I write some more. Because as long as I write Catholicism will never be far from me.
They never talked about this struggle when I was converting. I just believed my faith would become an effortless part of my daily life, like brushing my teeth. No, that doesn’t sound right. That makes it sound like a chore. But to say that some days being Catholic feels like a major chore wouldn’t be an exaggeration either.
Some times it’s actually a major pain in the ass. Like when I want to do something really bad and know I shouldn’t. Then I sit there and think how what I want to do would sound coming out of my mouth and into the ears of my confessor. How once I make up my mind to do a very bad thing I separate myself from God and I think “Damn, if I wasn’t Catholic this wouldn’t even be an issue”.
So instead of being bad I write.
Then there are times when I forget to pray or my prayer sounds as flat as mud splattering on pavement. Some days I have as much enthusiasm for prayer and devotion as I have for doing yard work, which is to say absolutely none. Forget ora et labora when most days are so crazy I forget to eat.
So instead of forgetting or not praying I write.
And yes, sometimes I even have to force myself to do that much. When I feel like a nominal Catholic I write. When I feel like a tired Catholic I write. When I feel like a lazy Catholic I write. Even when God feels so very far away I write.
This blog, my writing, is one great tremendous effort to stay as humanly and spiritually close to God and my faith as possible. Some days I accomplish that better than others. Some days the words flow as effortlessly as reciting the rosary. Whatever it is, it is most certainly a determined act of will.
Alfred Stevens, The Letter