My God is not the Flying Spaghetti Monster. My God is Love.
He is Who is. He is the Creator who gives me life and lets me make choices and wants what’s best for me, the way any loving parent would.
He is not someone who intervenes in minutiae, nor is He someone I made up to explain mysteries of the universe that I can’t explain. God is Mystery. And He most certainly exists.
I’m not sure I’ve ever said this so clearly outside of Mass. But after hearing a talk by Father Robert Barron at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, I came away inspired and, in fact, liberated to be a “happy warrior” against a spreading culture of atheism and cynicism.
Barron’s talk, “Thomas Aquinas and Why the Athetists Are Right,” was the kind of galvanizing message every Catholic needs to hear.
First he reminded us about who God is — or, more importantly, who God is not. As he continued, he referenced the great Catholic intellectual tradition of Aquinas, Thomas Merton, St. Bonaventure and St. Augustine. All of it came to one simple yet profound conclusion:
We need to reclaim the foundations of our beliefs so we can articulate them to the world.
When it sunk in, I felt simultaneously shocked and freed. I don’t consider myself an evangelist. I am proud to say I’m Catholic, but I don’t “force” my beliefs on others. But that’s the rub. In trying to be open-minded, ecumenical and respectful, has our faith community stopped sharing its core tenets? Have we lost the ability to say, “This is who we are,” and be confident, clear and empowered by doing so?
At a certain point, did we turn our religious discussion into cliches that amount to little more than white noise?
My first thought was how much I hate the word “apologetics.” For what should we be apologizing? Being loved by, and loving, a God too great to define?
But moving past the semantics, I suddenly felt a weight lift off my shoulders. “It’s OK to talk about this,” I thought. “I’m allowed to be who I am and to share what I feel and what I believe.”
I’m no philosopher, mind you. But I know what my heart tells me is true. And now, I’m starting to know it’s not only OK to talk about it, but I should be talking about it! I have an obligation to share the Good News and spread the Word of God.
I’m lucky to be God’s daughter and to have a Church to turn to for support in my faith journey. About that, I’ll never be sorry.