Why Have You Forsaken Me?

My husband was so kind today as to take the brunt of toddler wrangling today in church. Palm Sunday is powerful – dare I say it, even more powerful than Easter to me.

Look, I’m far from immaculate. I can’t say that I’m truly present for even half of what I’d like to be in my faith. I’m horribly insecure that others are judging me, and I frequently question if it’s all a load of bullocks. In short, I guess I sympathize with Peter. But the Passion. Oh, the passion.

“When the world shook and the sun was wiped out of heaven, it was not at the crucifixion, but at the cry from the cross: the cry which confessed that God was forsaken of God. And now let the revolutionists choose a creed from all the creeds and a god from all the gods of the world, carefully weighing all the gods of inevitable recurrence and of unalterable power. They will not find another god who has himself been in revolt. Nay, (the matter grows too difficult for human speech,) but let the atheists themselves choose a god. They will find only one divinity who ever uttered their isolation; only one religion in which God seemed for an instant to be an atheist.”

Chesterton is of course referring to Jesus’ final plea on the cross, “Eli, Eli,  Sabachthani?” Translated to “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

Naturally, out of this arises a lot of philosophical questions. If God is omniscient, and Jesus is God, well then why did he feel forsaken? Didn’t he know what was in store for him? Did he know that he would be resurrected? Nay. This matter certainly grows too difficult for human speech.

The passion is beautiful and formidable storytelling. But it’s consoling for me to think that God would know intimately my every struggle, including my constant wrestling with the faith. That nothing is too uncharted. Maybe he knew what my struggles would be long before I did.

When I first “reverted” to Catholicism, I wanted answers. And fast. I wanted to know my every comeback for every query. And then I needed a counter argument for the counter reaction to my original comeback. This was tiring, and frankly, vain. My relationship with Catholicism is much more intimate now. It’s far less about negotiation and more about my inner grappling with the need to have a spiritual life. I stopped focusing so much on looking for answers and instead put my energy in existing. And existing as best as I could. But really, in short, what I have with my faith is a love affair.  It’s hard and tiring and exacting but it’s too beautiful and fulfilling to ever leave. Kind of like parenthood.

Every now and then, I muse about leaving the church. The usual. This is dumb. Nobody does this anymore. The faith asks too much of me. Being open to life is really hard and I’m tired of everyone else looking at me like I’m crazy. And what about those abuse scandals? Yea, I said it. I’m really not okay with that. It makes my stomach fasten into a knot, and I kind of want to puke when I think of it.

There are a plethora of philosophical misgivings I have about the idea of God. But I guess I feel like at the end of the day, I shouldn’t put too many eggs in the basket of my own logic. If there is a God, do I really think I know more than him?

My child disobeys me and we, too, disobey God. Can you blame us? We’re just exploring and confused and growing. Thank goodness for that forgiveness thing. My toddler thinks she knows what’s best for her, but I know her logic doesn’t necessarily have her best interest in mind.

I’ll probably never truly leave the Catholic Church. I mean never say never, but probably never. The Eucharist and the stories of the saints and the mass and the traditions mean way too much to me. It gives me too much life. I’m so far from nihilism, I don’t think I have it in me to withdraw from moral law. And while I stomp my feet (a lot) about the things I don’t like about being Catholic, I can rest assured that my creator, too, didn’t like it all that much at times either.

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