Last week, I shared an excerpt from my memoir, Becoming Catholic, Again, at the Ignatian Family Teach-In in Washington, DC. The passage I read was about my experience at the School of the Americas in 1999. I crossed the protest line as a desperate move to prove that my faith mattered. When I was sent back across the line with a patronizing probation letter instead of any real change, my faith went into crisis.
If there was work to be done, I just wanted to get on with it and didn’t want to be beholden by any notion that God was incrementally working in and through us. With part confidence and part fear, I decided that faith was not all that important, and I continued with an impatient desire to make a difference in the world. The biggest problem was that in putting down my faith, I also put down the practices that kept me full of hope and love.
It was the start of a period in my life when I said “no” to God being possible.
Have you had an experience like it, of pulling back your faith or beliefs because it all felt too big or too small to hold? What helped you navigate this time of no?
Catherine Wiecher Brunell will be leading an Advent retreat on the Loyola Press Facebook page starting on Monday.