I visited my friend's church this weekend, and it was a good experience. I'm not going to go into detail about the sermon, because our little Bible study group already tore it a new one (you think I'm kidding, but I'm not). But when the pastor giving the sermon briefly mentioned that he had been raised Catholic but was, obviously, now not a Catholic, I started to think about the times when I am really glad to be Catholic.
I am the type of person who needs some rules within which to function. I don't need a hard and fast rule for everything, but I need some basic guidelines. I need some degree of predictability on which I can rely when I need it and against which I can rebel when I'm feeling cantankerous. The Church provides that stronghold for me.
If I attended a less....ordered church, I don't think I could function well within it. I need a bit of structure in order to organize the rest of my life. I like routines and patterns so that when I deviate from that, I feel a sense of relief and relaxation.
So, in a chaotic situation (like getting a new job, moving, traveling, facing a crisis, whatever), I am grateful for one, dependable anchor. I can go to mass, and I'll know the words. I'll know the order of the liturgy, and I'll successfully be able to follow along, regardless of what's going on in the rest of my life.
That, and if I attend the right mass, I know that the sermon can't go on forever, because there's a crowd of people waiting for the next one to start.
And also, I like to be Catholic when I attend another church and hear something wrong or misleading, and I can say inside, "That's not right!" Because, after all, I'm famous for finding one slightly inconsequential thing and focusing in on it...that gives me great joy.
Hey, I said I'm Catholic. I never said I was normal.