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Sometimes Love Is Stronger Than One’s Convictions

121666253_3f9026bd83 Sometimes love is stronger than [one’s] convictions.” -Isaac Bashevis Singer

It is my experience that one of the marks of falling in love, particularly in its glorious initial phases, is an unshakable desire to be with one’s partner. This desire is such that even when physical presence is impossible, alternative connections are eagerly welcomed: a phone call that simply brings the sound of that voice. A message with words that capture that charm.  A day on a calendar that marks our next meeting. An imagined vision of what he or she is doing at the present moment…

I realized today that I have fallen deeply in love with the simple Catholic liturgy I experienced on weekday afternoons this past summer. I find myself longing for it, longing to be present to it again, the way I have eagerly longed for the comforting presence of my beloved.  I worry, sometimes anxiously, about the next time I will experience  a liturgy that brings me such peace. Sometimes I hear a song or enter a sanctuary or recite a prayer here in Boston, and their aesthetics recall that simple noon service, and more than anything I want to celebrate a liturgy like that again.  I want us to be together again.

As genuine as it is, I’m sure my longing for the comfort of this beloved liturgy is only magnified by the religious displacement I currently experience.  I’m thinking and talking all the time about why I am Catholic, and how that really does make me different from so many people here.  I always talk about  how I possess lots of convictions that align with the tradition, and plenty of convictions that do not.  The more I talk about the former and the latter–especially on the tough days, like today, when the convictions for and convictions against seems particularly convoluted–I sometimes feel as if all I have to offer up in response to “why” is this mysterious longing to be in that simple, white-walled chapel in Seattle.  I’m in love, and I long to be with my beloved.  That’s why I am Catholic today.  I have fallen in love in this Church, with this Church, and today, that is stronger than my convictions.

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3 Comments

  1. Terry says:

    This is a very nice post. I feel the same thing sometimes-being Catholic at an Episcopal seminary (and an academic Div. School) is very odd when it comes to worship, since everything is familiar, but with a touch of strangeness. That, and I feel like the most conspicuous Catholic, somewhat by design, so that leads to interesting chats.

    Both now, and especially when I worked in DC, I take/took advantage of the fairly simple noon service as well. Blessed Silence, as I like to call it. I find I like weekday services the best.

  2. Sarah says:

    ooooh…i like this 🙂

  3. Grace says:

    Jess, this is truly so beautiful. I think you’ve captured the
    tug that Catholicism can have on a person, despite some of the things about the church that can be hard to take and have you constantly grappling. Love it. Love you.

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