Catholic Orange: A Lifetime Commitment to the Catholic Faith

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I don't know how clearly it has been coming out of what little writing I've been doing as of late, but for those who don't know, I started a process of soul searching almost as soon as I started my pro-migrant work.  Five years of prayerful consideration has finally allowed me the great privilege of taking the first steps of what I hope will be a lifelong journey.  

Today, as Holy Week comes to an end, Primero Dios, I will formally be receiving my First Communion and will be Confirmed into the Catholic Church.  For those in the Boston area, the ceremony will officially take place starting at 7:30 p.m. in St. Mary of the Annunciation Parish.  All are welcome.

I've been working on writing something explaining my commitment.  What was meant to be a clear and succinct piece of turned into an almost 6,000 word behemoth.  It's difficult for me to gauge whether Citizen Orange is the place for my religious ruminations, or not.  Still, I feel an obligation to disclose to readers here any new affilations that I have because this decision certainly effects my writing.

What follows is a excerpt from a draft I've been working on explaining my commitment.
It's posted at a wordpress site that I have up and running mostly because I'm trying to teach myself how to run and fix my own blogs.  I don't have the resources to get Citizen Orange up to date at the moment so I'm trying to teach myself.

I'll post what I believe is relevant to this audience, here, and if you read through or have any suggestions or questions, I'd ask that you please put the comments here on Citizen Orange.  This will help me determine where readers are coming from.  Your comments will also be more permanent, here, because I'll probably take down that Catholic Orange, site, and put it at its own URL, shortly.  It's a draft so I welcome any and all feedback:

"Vanity of vanities!  All is vanity.  What has been is what will be, and what has be done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes

After prayerful consideration, I've decided to try and tell the story of why I'm choosing to make a lifetime commitment to the Catholic Church during this Easter Vigil.  There is an arrogance to my aim, and I believe that is partly because my words are always imperfect expressions of the Truth.  I might even go so far as to say that giving voice to what is within me is both necessarily harmful at the same time that it is good.  I can only pray that what I write does more good than harm.  Lest I continue my mental masterbation without saying anything of worth, I began this section by paraphrasing Ecclesiastes who expresses better than I ever could what I'm trying to say here.  Writing this is vanity.  There is nothing new here that has not already been revealed.  If there is any insight to be gained from my words it comes not from me, but from the One.

Why write if that is the truth as best as I can humbly express it?  Primero Dios, I have three overlapping reasons for doing so.  The first is that I feel an obligation to disclose my conversion to those who know me through my meager public life as a migrant advocate, organizer, and blogger.  Secondly, I'm hopeful that writing this all down will help me better explain my newfound commitment to those both inside and outside of the faith.  Finally, and this reason is easily the most vain, I hope that describing the beginnings of my path towards God will help others see their paths more clearly.  Whether that dissipation of the fog comes through revulsion or inclination is not for me to decide.

"And any man who knows a thing knows he knows not a thing at all" - K'naan

I want to get the politics of my newfound commitment out of the way first because they are the most difficult for me to write about.  At the same time, politics is probably the most insignificant part of the commitment I'm making, which speaks to how corrupt my soul is. I say that not to take away meaning or power from politics, but to put the arch of the universe in perspective.  The political battles we fight with each other over at this specific nanosecond are grains of sand in the desert of eternity.  That of course, is in stark contrast to the choices we make about which battles to fight and how to fight them, in politics and perhaps most importantly in our every day lives.

The only histories I felt described the world I grew up in were the histories of the Latin American left.  Traveling back and forth regularly between rural and urban Guatemala as the country was emerging from civil war, and spending summers in the U.S., I was confronted daily with wrenching inequality and unimaginable suffering.  The histories of the right in Guatemala never really felt like a narrative to me so much as it felt like an erasing of history altogether.   Coming of age as a Latin American leftist has generally meant that I tend to identify with the left side of the political spectrum, radically at first and more pragmatically, as of late, as I've increasingly started to take responsibility for the change I want to see in the world.

Though trying to identify with the left in the U.S. has often felt like building a house on a foundation of sand I would say that I am firmly pro-choice and in favor of equality for the LGBTQ community.  I identify those two issues among many because they are the issues that the Catholic Church is most publicly associated with and they are the two issues who those who know me through my public life would be right to ask me about.  I will be the first to admit that those political positions come not from God, but from my experiences on this flawed Earth.  I wish I could provide a religious defense for those two political stances but, for the time being, all I have is a lot of questions that have to be answered through prayerful consideration.  I am humbly open to changing all my political stances through prayerful consideration, which I'd like to believe is a sign of strength, not of weakness.  I hope saying this still allows me a place among my feminist and queer friends at the same time that it offers me a place in the Church.

I also hope writing that out illuminates how ridiculous it is to bracket off the depth of universal Truth into the stunted public debates of our times.  Again, that is not to say that these debates aren't important.  If anything my life and actions are a testament to just how important these debates are.  I've willingly put my life on the line for these debates because I know that lives are hanging in the balance.  Still, public debates are necessarily limiting, even moreso when they are bracketed off into specific issues.  I can only hope that people who do not agree with me on those two issues do not write off the depths of my soul.

"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." St. Paul

There is, of course, political stances that the Catholic Church takes which I greatly admire.  I am most proud to identify with the Church's welcoming treatment towards migrants, regardless of legal status.

I truly wish we could all embody the idea of "welcoming the stranger" of seeing the divine in the unknown when our usual reflex is fear.  It is always possible to do more but I'm proud to say that the Catholic Church does more than most to embody this idea.

It is important that I emphasize, though, if I have not done so already, that I am not committing to a faith because of politics, and I think it's deeply flawed to do so.  I would be lying if I didn't say that the Catholic Church's treatment towards migrants didn't draw me to the faith, but only in the most superficial of manners, especially at the political level.

This, thankfully, is where I will try to leave politics behind and focus on questions of the soul. Continue reading here...
Kyle de Beausset - Catholic Orange (23 April 2011)

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This page contains a single entry by kyledeb published on April 23, 2011 1:00 AM.

The Vast Majority of Unauthorized Migrants Don't Make It was the previous entry in this blog.

Happy Easter from Citizen Orange is the next entry in this blog.

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