ISSUES OF FAITH: Seeking to feed and shelter your soul

THIS CAT SHOWED up on our doorstep about a year ago.

We seemed to have a lot of cats in our yard, as we have a lot of plants and trees and the birds that go along with that.

In our home, we are not “cat people,” but this cat was different.

It is a calico and it was determined to come in.

It had been hovering around our porch for several weeks.

Cats are very timid: Is there food in there, is it warm in there?

Eventually she crossed the threshold and is now pretty much part of the family.

No one in the neighborhood seems to be missing this calico.

I remember the first time I entered a Catholic Church and there was the same monumental hesitation that I saw in this timid cat.

Like the cat, though on a human scale, I was looking for some of the basics of life — spiritual food and belonging.

Belonging to what? The cat in me didn’t really know.

Did I even believe in God, and if yes, what did that God look like?

I didn’t know but I had to enter to even begin to entertain the answer.

The cool thing is that you never really know who God is exactly.

We know he is creator, Father, love incarnate and for most of us, that is more than enough.

Explaining God’s ways — well, don’t expect that in this life.

There are so many things we seem to take for granted without notice, but when you find yourself at a high altitude and short of breath, you realize that even the air you breathe can be pretty righteous.

Look at the mountains as they pile with snowfall.

In the heat of summer that is our drinking water, it sustains our rivers and streams, slowly dissipates and then replenishes.

The finger of God touches everything.

Why is there something rather than nothing, when it would have been much easier for there to have been nothing?

This is one of those core questions of philosophy, a subject I did rather poorly in college.

If you are of the belief that there is no rhythm or rhyme or, let’s be straight — meaning, to all this, then that is rather sad.

Even in the bad experiences we have there is some usefulness, something we gain or some good that is passed on.

I saw a commercial for an app for your phone that is supposed to calm you and maybe it does.

But I think once again that we have regressed as a people if our cellphones, which can cause anxiety, are now supposed to calm us.

It is so easy to search for things now to help us, some of which are truly helpful.

But if there is a sense that you are truly not being fed, then here we go.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.

At home in church

Christmas Eve, our family went to Mass at Queen of Angels and I have to say that I was surprised that it was standing-room only.

This is a big, beautiful church if you have never been inside.

Our family was surrounded by families with little children.

The music was off-the-charts awesome, the homily and prayers uplifting.

We received the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

Really, this is why we go.

The manger where Jesus was born was most likely a very messy place.

Our church is also a messy place.

It is our job, our vocation, our privilege to toil in these messy, beautiful places.

Someday, we will cross that threshold into another life — eternity.

We have the chance now to experience, and get a glimpse of that eternity now.

“I will give you rest,” Jesus tells us. And now you know.


Issues of Faith is a rotating column by five religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. Mike Acheson is director of religious education at Queen of Angels Roman Catholic Church in Port Angeles and St. Joseph Parish in Sequim. His email is [email protected]

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