At this point, I was still plowing through "Biblical Revelations" by Anne Catherine Emmerich, I had begun to "pray" in the only pathetic way I knew how to, and call out to God for help, and I began to listen to, and join in a little, with the religious conversations going on at work. I had a general understanding that my friend (who was attending a Latin Mass) was a different kind of Catholic than I had ever been exposed to, and was curious about this. I knew my only daughter was 2 and that continuing to live the selfish and gluttonous and carefree life that my husband and I were living was not right. We were not practicing any religion, and hadn't for years.
I was a contractor during this time, and my work load was very reduced. The projects I were assigned to had excess funding and a lot of downtime, and the client wanted me "available" (and paid me to be "available") but I personally did not have a whole lot to do. There were many days when I would be sitting at my desk for many hours waiting for files to be transferred, or waiting for someone to check in a software update, or for a script to complete which could take all day to run. Sometimes the boredom was overwhelming... but I didn't mind it one bit. I used every single spare moment during this time to surf the Internet and read about Catholicism. This went on for months. I was blessed with the opportunity to get paid a lot of money to sit at my desk and surf the Internet for the majority of my day looking up anything and everything about the Catholic church. I do believe this was the Holy Spirit at work providing me this avenue to enter back into the Church. Because, Our Lord only knows, there was not one religious influence that I, nor my husband had, amongst all our friends, family members or neighbors that we knew or were exposed to, that could have brought about this transformation. We were 100% secular in every way, and so was everyone else whom we associated with at home and in our neighborhood. He (God) had to take me a whole city away, to a job that I didn't want, in a field I didn't want to be in, in a situation that I was very uncomfortable in, around people that I didn't quite care for, quiet my mind, isolate me, humble me, and open my eyes and my heart so that I would finally hear. I just had no idea... So I began to surf the Internet. I found traditional Catholic sites and read and read and read. I realized that I really knew very little about the faith of my childhood. I remember being very floored that "The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass" was really that - an actual sacrifice. (And not just a memorial symbolic re-enactment of the last supper.) I mean, growing up "Catholic" I understood that the Eucharist is "really the body and blood" of Jesus, but I never understood. I never internalized it. I don't think I really ever thought about it or appreciated what this meant. I definitely took it for granted. Why didn't anyone explain this to me? I was confused. And I continued to surf the Internet all day. I read about the Saints. I read documents from the Council of Trent. I researched Papal history. I read about angels. I read private revelations of the Saints about Purgatory. And Hell. I researched Exorcisms. I read about Eucharistic Miracles. I read about the Marian Movement of Priests. I read about Garabandal. I found the Dimond Brothers website. I read Catholic prophesy. I found the fisheaters website. I read St. Bridget. I read the SSPX website. I read about how to pray the rosary. I pretty much read anything I could get my hands on, without really the ability to discern what was real and what wasn't, because it was all very new to me. I was beginning to understand the new term called "Eucharistic Adoration" and was curious about it. I became drawn to experience this "Eucharistic Adoration" and to see Jesus in a "monstrance". (I knew what a "monstrance" was - but only because it was on the cover of the book about the Real Presence that I mentioned in the prior post.) I had never seen one of these items before in my life. I felt robbed that here I was, 34 years old, and nobody had ever shown me these things before. If this was so important, than why didn't I know anything about this? Why the hell not? An unexplained hunger began to grow in my soul to experience this mysterious "Eucharistic Adoration" that I had never ever heard of before. I began to actually yearn in my heart to find the Real Presence of Christ in a monstrance! I barely understood what I was asking for, but the desire was there. And He had to be in a monstrance. It sounds so silly, but this desire was definitely there.
I found out the local suburban parish down the street was doing a "Eucharistic Adoration" night. I was excited and nervously, I decided to "check it out" on a Monday night after work. Even though I hadn't been to a church in a very long time. I went and was very disappointed to find a small gathering of older ladies singing some patriotic "God Bless America" and doing some devotion on rosary beads that I had never heard of before. It felt alien and uncomfortable to me. (It actually was the Divine Mercy Chaplet, but I did not know what this was at the time.) It just seemed very strange. And the most disappointing thing of all was that this "Adoration" was just the same old tabernacle in the same old 70's church. There was nothing exposed, no monstrance. It wasn't anything like what I was looking for, in my mind and felt a little creepy. There really was nothing there to Adore. If felt like a senior citizen prayer session in a dark empty church. It was a let down. I left that night feeling very confused. My friend at work who went to the Latin Mass had made some inferences about how the "Novus Ordo" or "New Mass" was highly inferior to the Traditional Latin Mass - which is how all Catholics celebrated the Mass prior to Vatican II, when Latin was replaced with the vernacular and a whole lot of other changes were implemented, like the priest facing the people instead of God, and the tabernacle no longer being placed in the center of many churches, and changes to the words being said during the Consecration. I had no deep understanding of these things - but perhaps he was right? I stopped going to church years ago because I was not getting anything out of it. It was boring. The sermons were bad. Was something indeed missing here? I was very very confused.
*** To Be Continued ***