How is your faith, Michael?
by Michael Waddington
A little over one year ago I wrote a piece for “A view from the pew”, following the death of my father. In the piece I talked about re-discovering my Catholic faith in Torquay here at Holy Angels. As it turned out (and it wasn’t supposed to be at the time), it was a little bit cathartic and in its own way, it has helped me to come to terms with my loss.
Writing the words helped me make sense of what I was feeling at the time, it made things tangible. Sometimes we can’t do that with faith; after all the first line of the Apostles Creed is, “I believe”. How do we believe, do we suddenly decide? As I mentioned last time, I was born into my faith, I have often wondered how others who did not grow up with, into (or with) a faith, have found God? Does that mean by some logic that they must be convinced? Before I get too deep into a theological argument the bible helps us out a bit.
John 20:29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
What we do know is that people find their faith in countless ways and for many reasons; I don’t think it has to make sense to anyone else but that person.
As the months have progressed, I find myself thinking a little bit less about my Dad on a day to day basis. That’s not to say that I don’t miss my Dad and that I have totally got over his passing, not at all. Recently I went back up north, I went to the cemetery where his ashes are, and afterwards I had a pint of beer in our favourite pub we used to go to every week. Afterwards I got upset; my wife asked why I went knowing it would upset me? A good question; although I did not go out that day with the intention of getting upset, I wanted to remember, to get a little bit closer to him again, while not possible physically, I did so emotionally. When I go to Mass on Sunday evenings, I go so that I can get close to my Dad spiritually, I suppose you could say I am using the church as a conduit for communication, by communing with God I feel that I am a little bit closer to my own Father.
In church we are in ordinary time, but in about 6 weeks we enter Lent. Last time I mentioned that I was more comfortable with Lent as there was a focus on the death of Jesus; and emotionally that connected me with the church, now I am ready to celebrate the resurrection of Christ, because as a consequence of dealing with the loss of my Dad emotionally and spiritually it has equipped me gain the energy to deal with my own physical health. I have lost weight and I am now physically the best I have been for 15 years, and this has improved my mental health, a bit of my own resurrection maybe?
Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit makes one sick.
I asked myself the question the last time “what have I learned from the experience?” If I think about my own faith, I would be hard pushed to tell you why I believe, I was brought up to believe, it’s in my nature. I have not had any divine apparitions or life changing events that would confirm my faith; however as we say at mass, “I believe” and I think that’s enough for me.
ANON “Faith is like WIFI, it is invisible, but it has the power to connect you to what you need.”
William Waddington 1934 – 2015 RIP