Yes, I’m a Devout Catholic…And We Can Still Be Friends

I’m not going to lie…I get extremely nervous when I meet someone new and they friend request me on facebook the next day.

It’s silly…but I get nervous.

I get nervous because they might see a part of my identity.

I get nervous because as they see the types of things I post on my facebook they will quickly see that I am… Catholic.

I don’t want people to think that I am judging them or disapproving of them or anything about them once they find out I’m Catholic.

I have this fear….because I probably am guilty of doing just that (because let’s be honest, I wouldn’t be afraid of that if I had never been the “judgmental Catholic” before).

But I have…and I am genuinely sorry for that.

I have felt a lot of pressure and discomfort for being Catholic in my very liberal and progressive graduate program. (And don’t get me wrong…I don’t think being liberal or progressive are bad things…but these ideologies typically don’t have the greatest sentiment towards Catholicism).

However…once I sucked up my pride and stopped trying to always be defensive about my beliefs…I learned way more about what it means to be authentically Catholic.

I think most people make the mistake of thinking that we cannot learn from the people we disagree with. I know I did.

For some reason I thought everyone was trying to convert me away from being Catholic and I got defensive.  In turn I probably came off as trying to convert everyone else to Catholicism…and made others defensive. This creates a terrible cycle of “you’re wrong, I’m right” “no, you’re wrong, I’m right”.

I had this misconception that no one in my program would really “understand” me because they didn’t understand Catholicism.

I was wrong.

I have never felt more understood and respected than by those in my program who have completely different beliefs than I do. And we are friends.  We are good friends.

We challenge each other, we call each other out on our inconsistencies, we encourage one another, and mostly…we are raw, real, and authentic with one another.

They give me the space to be my authentic self (Catholicism and all) and I give them the space to be their authentic self.

I used to think that I had to prove myself and explain my Catholic faith at all times.

I don’t.

I learned that it’s never about proving a point.

I learned that the moment we start feeling the need to prove a point…we stop being “real” and we start being judgmental, harsh, cold, defensive, prideful, close-minded, and unapproachable.

I learned that I shouldn’t be Catholic to prove a point.

It’s not about winning an argument.

It’s not about asserting my world-view onto others.

It’s about being real and authentic.

Yes…being authentically Catholic will lead to argument-like discussions…but fruit can come from those discussions when defenses are down and there is no “agenda” of trying to persuade, convert, or convince someone.

People don’t want to be convinced.

They want to be real.

When we are real, we can grow.

When we are real we can begin to understand people, and why we do the things that we do.

When we are real, there is space for us to seek truth.

And this is how I want to be… real.

And yes…part of me being real is going to be being Catholic as well, and I hope that’s ok.

But I want you to be real too, and I want to be your friend, defenses down, no hidden agenda, just a real friend.

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6 thoughts on “Yes, I’m a Devout Catholic…And We Can Still Be Friends

  1. Wow Raquel–I think you hit the nail on the head for a lot of what is happening in our world and society these days. If we would just stop. Really listen. Don’t judge. Imagine the possibilities!

  2. Dear Story of a Rose,
    “The mistake of thinking that we cannot learn from the people we disagree with.”

    This statement resonates with me. My wife asks me all the time why I read from and talk to people who I know will upset me. If I surround myself with people who only validate my thoughts I will never grow.

    I feel that there is more common feelings we share so keep up the good work.

    God bless,

  3. I know what you mean about Facebook 🙂 and it’s one reason I never quite sign up although I have started to a few times. For me it’s more about the people I knew growing up, before I was a Christian, suddenly finding me again and being surprised/shocked/challenging. I feel awkward the other way, that by not signing up and being happy for people to make that discovery I am somehow denying Jesus. I think it’s rather that I remember how I felt towards some Christians before I was one, and don’t want that – partly for ‘bad reasons’ of not wanting to be disliked or challenged, and partly because sneaking up on someone like that is no way to share Jesus! But perhaps that’s just a convenient excuse…It’s pretty murky and the fact that I think of it often suggests there is some unfinished work in my heart.

    Anyway, I enjoyed reading your post and thinking on it more. It’s a great post, and mature. You shine like a light!

  4. Hey Raquel, my name is Alyssa and I’m Dana’s cousin! Wanted to see what grad program you’re in for counseling? I’m graduating this semester and would love to connect with other counselors like you! Feel free to email me, but I’d love to hear more about your process of balancing faith within a secular program. I, personally, have loved it! So much growing. God is good! -alyssa

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