Okay so my Catholic upbringing haunts me on days that I’m NOT hot and holy.
I apologize if you are Catholic. I trust you aren’t haunted by your early experience with faith and God. I am. I also trust that its my own craziness that has been the cause of most of this tumultuous spiritual journey I’m on and never the responsibility of any one church, my parents or anyone I’ve ever met.
Back when I was elbow to elbow with the grasshoppers, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to be on God’s team. I wanted to be on the God-squad for many reasons one of which was that I didn’t want to end up in the middle-space called Purgatory where you go when you deserve eternal temporal punishment.
I distinctly remember telling myself that if I wasn’t hot and holy and all performance behaving, I’d end up outside of heaven and never, ever find God.
On further review I found out this middle-place had a name. It was called Purgatory. The place ‘not so bad they need to go to hell’ people went so they could somehow pay for their mediocrity and lukewarmness before possibly being promoted to heaven.
Now some of you prefer middle-places, and for you Purgatory doesn’t look like such a bad idea.
But for a little girl like me, the idea that I’d spend my entire life working hard to earn the hot and holy title, to become a child of God and even a friend of his son’s and then end up being disqualified at the pearly gates for some random lukewarm action or infraction back a decade or five ago- made me want to pull my hair out. Okay. So it made me pull my hair out!
I’m pretty sure the reason I didn’t dable in drugs or do anything overly rebellious, well not too, in high school was fear that I’d end up in Purgatory.
I apologize if you believe in Purgatory.
I really do. I actually think it’s kind of sad, that I bought into this idea that I needed to work really, really hard to earn God’s love, what a bunch of hogwash. Of course, I can never be hot and holy. I was born with a tinge of doubt, a bit of lukewarm and some serious flaws that preclude me from ever, ever being HOLY.
But then again, who am I to say there isn’t a bus stop between eternal misery and forever LOVE?
I actually wasn’t there when the heavens were formed and I was also not around when the first fish created began adjusting to its environment. But one thing I do know, is this; when my life is over , I don’t want to be stuck half-way between anything. Especially not half way between light and dark, alone forever out of the grasp of love. I don’t want to be banished to some middle-space, spit out because I wasn’t hot and holy and I especially don’t want to miss out on my chance at spending eternity in LOVE.
So what to do when I’m haunted by how doubtful and lukewarm and entirely NOT hot and holy- I am?
Oh, that’s easy. First I get scared to death and imagine fire and brimstone, thank you Father Whatyoumacallit, then I remind myself that faith is not something I can earn. Next I remind myself that faith is evidenced by what I do and what I don’t do.
I’ll never be HOT and HOLY. I just won’t.
But I can be HOT and FLAWED.
I can stay out of the middle when it comes to being faithful. I can make sure I”m hot when it comes to believing and trusting in the one who formed the Ocean. And I can let my actions and words be the evidence of this growing faith that has been placed within me- even on my not so HOT HOLY days…
Thanks God for not giving up and spitting me out for being NOT ALWAYS or VERY RARELY hot and holy. I know I hang out in the middle-place too often.. My prayer is that you’ll take my words, deeds, actions and transform them into evidence of a growing abiding faith inside of me…
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen….”
Photo By Jerine