In The Body of Christ, We Are Never Alone

alone

 

The word “catholic” means “universal” and it always makes me happy to know that no matter where I go, I’ll find a church. It might take some driving, but there’s at least one Catholic Church in every state in the US and in every country. But what’s even better than that is that I know that I am never alone.

Even though I consider myself to be an introvert, I feel lonely very often. I may not feel comfortable making small talk or being in a room with loud, chatty people, but if I ever find a friend that I feel comfortable with, I like talking to that friend often. In fact, my deepest longing is for a friend that I can talk to about everything and nothing with. Someone I can ramble to about all of my crazy fandom-related stuff, but at the same time, I can just be with that person without having to talk.

But since I am Catholic, I am part of the Mystical Body of Christ, which means that I have God and a whole communion of saints that I can pray to whenever I feel lonely. It’s not the same as physically being with a person or hearing a voice, but it provides some solace. Being part of the Mystical Body of Christ also means that I can pray for my friends and I know that my friends are praying for me. Intercessory prayer is a very powerful thing and my life has shown evidence of that.

When I heard about Thomas Peters AKA American Papist’s accident almost two years ago, I felt a strong desire to pray for him because I didn’t want him to end up as a vegetable in the hospital. Whenever I prayed for him, I would hear some kind of news relating to his recovery and was happy to see that he recovered well enough to check out of the hospital a month after the accident. As of now, he is back to writing and undergoing regular physical therapy. Given what could’ve happened, I consider this to be a minor miracle.

I also feel like the Mystical Body of Christ applies to my own life as well, even when it comes to people I never met. When I was nursing my latest broken heart, I was browsing my social media feed when I saw a link to a music video to a song I’ve been anticipating for a long time. It brought me out of my misery. I later said to the artist “To say that your timing is impeccable is an understatement.” This wasn’t the first time that this particular artist would inadvertently save my day and inspire me and it won’t be the last. In fact, they share a lot of wonderful pieces of wisdom on their Instagram and Twitter, but they aren’t Catholic. In spite of our spiritual differences, I feel like they are part of the Mystical Body of Christ with me and everyone else. After all, we are all God’s creation.

The Mystical Body of Christ reminds us all that we are not alone. We can find friends in the saints, in our churches, and even in people we’ve yet to meet.

Jesus, I Trust in You! Help My Unbelief!

One of the many devotions I gained in my college years was a love for the Divine Mercy Chaplet. This is also the first year that I finally prayed the Divine Mercy Novena all the way through. (Thank you Pray More Novenas!)

I don’t know if it’s just me or if other cradle Catholics have this problem (or heck, even Christians in general), but I always feel like it’s one thing to believe in the core values and all the doctrines of Catholicism, but it’s another thing to have faith that God is actually a part of our lives in every moment. Many people ask for God’s providence in times of crisis, but often forget to ask for His help in our daily lives. Yes, there are people who pray their Morning Offerings, myself included. But there are a lot of areas I feel a lot of doubt about.

It’s not just about my everyday problems like finding a full-time job or having some semblance of a social life outside of the internet. I also struggle with a lot of loneliness. Although I consider myself to be an introverted person, I still want someone that I can talk to about anything and yet also “be” with without having the need to talk. I also want that same person to watch my favorite shows with me and cry and laugh with me, or at least understand what I’m feeling. I always forget, during those times that I wish for someone, that Jesus is always there to listen. I love Him, I really do, but it’s not the same as having the physical presence of a person, hearing someone’s voice, and sharing moments with a person.

I also struggle with a lot of self-doubt, mostly about said lack of job and love life. Although I still long for companionship, I also have doubts of finding anyone who fits those longings. I struggle with basic conversation sometimes because of my social awkwardness. Sometimes, I don’t see myself as beautiful or even pretty, just average. Again, it just comes from a lot of times in my life when I felt like Eponine, always on my own and never getting the guy.

We all like to make fun of Doubting Thomas, who will never live down his moment of unbelief. But I’m probably right there with him, refusing to believe until I see proof. My intuition and emotions have often been wrong, so I constantly ask God to prove to me that He is listening. Except, I act more like an entitled brat, expecting God to grant my wishes and dreams. I know better than that, and yet I still do it. I’m pretty sure a lot of you can relate.

I’m not saying all this because I feel like whining and complaining about #firstworldproblems. I’m just saying that faith isn’t just about believing in a bunch of doctrines, traditions, and Sacred Scripture. It’s about trust. It’s about putting your trust in your faith. It’s during these times of doubt and loneliness that I turn to God more than ever. This is where the Divine Mercy Chaplet comes in.

If there is any word that I can use to describe Saint Faustina, it would be “Trust.” She trusted in God when it came to her vocation. But that was just the beginning of her story. She trusted in God implicitly when she began receiving visions, in spite of other sisters in her order being dismissive of her. How she lived with such bitchiness, I will never know.

Whenever I pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet, I usually pray it as an intercession for others. But whenever I listen and sing along to the song version (either on EWTN TV or EWTN Radio), I slow down in praying it and really feel the prayer on a different level. I ask God for His mercy and offer up my loneliness. The words “I Trust in You” start to resonate in me. And even though I don’t feel the trust right now, I have a glimmer of it. And sometimes, that’s enough.