In today’s blog, I place my experiences of “being rejected” by the local Catholic Church into the Wheel of Initiation where I am invited to look upon this perceived rejection from the perspective of my chosen intention: I receive everything as love.
The Wheel and my Pain Story
Again, I find myself standing in the middle of the Wheel of Initiation. Reflecting on last week’s blogs on my relationships with the Catholic Church and recent events that have invited me to fast from the Eucharist, I acknowledge the invitation to bring this into the wheel. (See Julie Tallard Johnson’s book, The Wheel of Initiation for more on this.) Through the wheel, I am invited to look at these experiences of feeling persecuted, judged, condemned, ridiculed and rejected and how it relates to the pain story that has presented itself for healing. When I first entered into the wheel, the pain story that presented itself for healing is the perception that I am rejected. I was invited to acknowledge and examine all the places in my life where I have perceived myself as being rejected and how that has negatively colored my life experiences. This pain story could not be more obvious than in my recent experiences with the local Catholic Church. The more I grew spiritually, the more I began to discover, cultivate, embrace and express the truths, the gifts and the call that God had revealed to me, the louder the voices of “rejection” became. (See last Friday’s blog for the details) I took these voices of challenge and condemnation as a personal rejection. As I mentioned last week, my heart was broken.
My Pain Story and the related Agreements
In the Wheel of Initiation, we are not only invited to name our pain story (I am rejected), we are also invited to name and give release to the agreements we have made around this pain story. For me, these agreements include:
- It is my job to make other people happy
- In order for me to be right, others have to be wrong
- It is my job the not only carry the shadow of another, it is also my job to heal it
- If I am perfect, they will love me
- Others have to like me
As it relates to the Catholic Church and my perception of being rejected, I am invited to examine these agreements and how they are related to my pain story. I have to say that this is pretty obvious. I am right, and the local self-appointed inquisition is wrong. It is my job to carry and cure the shadow of the Catholic Church (good luck with that one!). I need everyone to like me. If they don’t like me, then I am rejected. If I have to be right and they are wrong, then I get to reject them before they can reject me. And…it goes on and on and on. The good news is that thanks to Julie and her interpretation of the wheel….I now have another choice. Instead of perceiving all these experiences as rejection, I am invited to re-examine these experiences through my chosen intention: I receive everything as love.
I receive everything as love.
I know that this is definitely a work in progress and that the fullness of my healing around rejection will be a lifetime process…at the same time, I have to start somewhere. Today, I am invited to explore my experiences with the Catholic Church through a new lens – the lens of love. So…here goes.
1) There is no right and wrong. I am standing in my truth, while those I perceive as being the self-appointed inquisition are standing in their truth. My truth does not make them “wrong”, their truth does not make me “wrong.”
2) It is not my job to carry the shadow (wounds) of the Catholic Church, neither is it my job to fix it (this is something I have spent a great deal of time thinking I was supposed to do).
3) Just because someone else’s truth differs from mine does not mean I am rejected
Ok…that is a good start….but, how do I receive all these experiences as love? Well, here is my first attempt to conceptualize this:
- I am now more free to cultivate, nurture and share my gifts.
- Stepping outside the institution of the Catholic Church has allowed me to more fully stand in the truths that God has revealed to me.
- My prayer life has deepened exponentially since stepping outside the institution.
- I am now able to share my gifts and my call with a wider (perhaps more receptive) audience.
- It feels much more life-giving to have the freedom to explore my own truth, stand in that truth and freely share it with others.
- I am free to explore new forms of worship that may speak even more deeply to my heart (ie: Kirtan/chant, body prayer, etc.)
- Because of these experiences, I was invited (forced actually) to cultivate an private spiritual practice and to tend this even more diligently than before. Through this, I have learned that I am called much more deeply to contemplation than to public worship.
- I have found new forms of community that deeply resonate with the truths that I have discovered within myself and been called to embrace.
- One of the greatest gifts that have come out of these experiences was the opportunity to learn of and embrace my own call to the Mystical Church. (Albert Nolan speaks of the Mystical Churchin his book, Jesus Today. The Mystical Church carries the spiritual traditions of the Christian traditions and has been honored by those in monastic communities and is rooted in knowing God through personal experience. According to Nolan, this is a “Church” that grew up alongside the Institutional Church whose path to God is in knowing God through doctrine and Church law.)
I know this is just the beginning, but as I come to reflect on those experiences that I had previously received as rejection through the lens of love, I feel a deep and profound healing taking place. And for this, I am grateful.
Authentic Freedom Ministries