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Fortinbras Armstrong

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Suburban Chicago
Home country: UK
Current location: Suburban Chicago
Member since: Thu Apr 12, 2012, 09:54 AM
Number of posts: 4,473

About Me

Retired computer security expert/programmer. Married for 40 years, three sons, two dogs. Interested in history, music, religion -- mostly Catholic -- and cooking. MA in History of Religion (Harvard) and MS in Computer Science (U of Wisconsin).

Journal Archives

James Joyce defined Catholicism as

"Here comes everyone!"

Catholics are, all too often, lacking in humility and charity. We argue. We fight. We wrangle. But, to each of us, this faith of ours is worth fighting over. It is a major part of what we are. And, in our passions, we sometimes get so angry and so frustrated that we forget the Christian virtues that we should be practicing. For all of us, most certainly including myself, who have fallen short of the Christian ideal, I wish to apologize.

As far as leaving the Church, I am sometimes tempted to do just that. I was originally baptised into the Anglican Church, and I sometimes wonder if I would be happier there. (I hear one or two people saying "Yes, why don't you go there?" So why do I stay? As Tevye in the opening to Fiddler on the Roof says, "We stay, because Anatevka is our home." And the Catholic Church is my home. My favorite definition of "home" is from Robert Frost's poem, "The Death of the Hired Man":

"Home is the place where,
When you have to go there,
They have to take you in."

And where would I go if I were to leave? In John 6:67-68, Jesus asks the apostles "'Do you also want to leave?' Simon Peter answered him, 'Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.'"

The Church is my family. A large, sometimes dysfunctional, often unruly family. A family of drunks and liars, whores and advertising men (but I repeat myself), saints who make people wonder how they ever got canonized (read about Cyril of Alexandria sometime -- if you would like me to post on him, just ask).

I stay because I sometimes get glimpses of Jesus in my fellow Catholics -- enough glimpses to keep me hungering for more and also keep me convinced that this is the path that I must follow if I am to see Jesus eternally. I stay because I do find enough faith, hope, and especially love to sustain me on my pilgrimage along that path. Is it always easy? No, of course not. I often stumble. I sometimes get angry at the officious bureaucracy of the Church, who seem to be far more interested in power than they are in love. I often get angry with my fellow Christians for not living up to the ideals that they profess. I get angry with myself for the same reasons. Sometimes I get angry with God, who is the Malek Haolam -- the master of the universe --but seems to be doing a rotten job of running the place.

The Apostle Paul put it: "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice!" (Phillipians 4:4) I do not rejoice always -- I have far too many demons infesting my soul to permit this -- but I rejoice enough of the time that it is worth staying the course.
Posted by Fortinbras Armstrong | Tue Apr 2, 2013, 11:28 AM (0 replies)
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