nancys screename: are you doing the 40 days 40 nights thing
D0NNIEVEGA: what is this "thing" you speak of?
nancys screename: u know.. giving something up for 40 days
D0NNIEVEGA: oh, damn
D0NNIEVEGA: most likely not
nancys screename: ahh..
D0NNIEVEGA: i haven't done anything lent related in like 7 years
nancys screename: still a good catholic boy
D0NNIEVEGA: and on fridays', i'm eating the fuck out of some steak
nancys screename: lol seriously
D0NNIEVEGA: i'm with chris rock
D0NNIEVEGA: i don't think my diet is going to come into question at the pearly gates
Honestly, I heard on something about this past Wednesday being Ash Wednesday, and being a former catholic school kid, Ash Wednesday was always an event. Not so much because it signified the beginning of Lent, but moreso because it meant I got to walk around all day with black shit on my forehead. But I couldn't help but think about how "un-catholic" I have become.
I used to be very active in the church ministries. Nancy still makes fun of me for being in the church choir those years back. During high school, I was a regular at the 5:30 youth mass and participated frequently as an usher or as part of the choir. I was a full blown Catholic and there was no doubt about it. But as I grew older and experienced many different sects of Christian religion, I couldn't help but notice the over abundance of self-righteous fingerpointing between Catholics and Protestants, Christians and Muslims, etc. It made me sick. Hell, it makes me sick. Everybody is caught up in who's method of worship is the "right" way, but they never stop to think that maybe the "right way" is different for every person. I mean, people think you have to go to church every Sunday to live your life right, but I haven't been to church for the most part of the last six years.
I can't say that I stopped going to church because I hated church. When I do make an very rare appearance at my church, I can admit that I like the spiritual feeling I get while praying. But it bothers me how some people can live their lives without being very spiritual and come to church every Sunday because they "have to". I stopped going to church at first because I was always working on Sundays. Now, church doesn't even cross my mind when it's Sunday. I've shaken the habit that I gained from going to church every Sunday of my life until just after I graduated high school. My mom is always telling me I should go to church, but I can't do it. It's not that I hate Catholicism or Christianity, because I do believe in one God and Jesus Christ. I just don't think that there is a set path to walk . I feel that I am very spiritual and that God rewards good deeds and punishes bad deeds. If i spend 5 minutes everyday thankful for what God has given me, that is more than any paper Catholic that shows up every Sunday because of said "habit".
I mean, there are times in church where I will almost cry because I get so caught up in it. It's like opening up your soul and and having it cleansed. Unfortunately, I'd say a good 50% of people in church come in a Pavlovian manner, and pray as soon as they hear a bell ring. I was one of those people for a long time. But I can't say I'm any better than any of these people, because I'm not. My life is far from perfect and I think a few extra visits to church may keep me in check. I guess what I'm really trying to say is that I firmly believe that God is more happy that you pray everyday or at least even acknowledge His existence in your everyday life rather than going to church every Sunday. I mean shit, Lent is great and all, but why the fuck is 40 days more important than any other time of the year. Spirituality is ongoing, not an event. I've had people I KNOW that were living fault lives but had the nerve to get at me because I was eating meat on a Friday during Lent. Shit is kinda fucked up, ya know?
So, with all that said, church isn't for everybody. Christianity isn't for everybody. Spirituality and a belief in a greater good IS for everybody. I think a lot of people miss that point when it comes to organized religion. The thing is, religion doesn't have to be organized in a church or a mosque for it to be effective. It has to be organized in your heart and your soul.