I have never been strong in my faith as a Catholic, that is no secret. Ask anyone of my friends or family, and they will tell you I have requested to work on Sundays to avoid having to attend mass.
I consider myself a recovering Catholic with a few falls off the wagon. I attend church when I have to and I pray a little. But most of these things I do through fear-of my mother and of hell.
I once saw the Catholic Church as a poster child for hypocrisy and the reason for hell on Earth, but I was content on living my life as a person using her religion as a lucky charm, as a shield from evil and as a granter of wishes. I did not live my life as a true Catholic would, but I did pray and find comfort in a lonely, quiet church.
Yet earlier this year I found myself questioning the little faith I did have. I saw myself as a hypocrite in much the same way I saw the Church. I wore my cross on days that I needed extra help, I used my faith to hold conversations and I asked for favors with nothing to give in return. I was using my religion and denouncing it at every opportunity.
Since high school, religion has been a thorn in my side. I hated everything about being Catholic. All of its hypocritical talk and nonsense irritated me to no end.
I went through two years of confirmation classes, an act of reaffirming my faith as a young adult-my mother’s idea of course. I had two months to go, and the evaluator told me that I might not make it because I happened to miss a couple of masses earlier in the year. Yet an unmarried pregnant teenage girl was good to go. What? Someone needs to reevaluate the mortal sins.
But I still performed Catholic acts, like not eating meat during Lent, receiving bread during mass and performing the sign of the cross before bed. But none of these things helped me with my faith. I was only going through the motions. So I stopped. And for a couple of months this year, I went without talking to God. I was just sick of religion and of being Catholic.
I felt like I was using God to get stuff I wanted. I prayed for an A on a test. I prayed to make it to work on time without crashing. I prayed for a happy life. It made me want to gag.
One day I was talking with a friend, and he told me that he did not know what he believed and that scared him. He questioned anything and worried about everything. He wanted to know what would happen to him when he died, and I could not tell him because I did not know. There was nothing I could say that would make him feel better. He was questioning life on a daily basis, and that was something I cannot ever remember doing.
He had no faith, and as long as I could remember, I had tried to suppress my faith thinking that it did me no good. But it actually had. It gave me a security blanket. Although I still do not believe in everything that the Catholic church preaches, if I had not been so adamant about not following their path, I might have never found my own.
I love my friend, and I wanted to see him happy. I actually wanted to recommend him to go to church, but having that shoved down my throat did not work for me, so how could I advise it to someone else. It is really strange that through his time of confusion, I found my clarity.
I talked to God again, and I thanked him. I asked him to watch over my family, and I asked him to keep a special look out for my friend. I ordered him a guardian angel. I believe the faith I have found allows for such requests without asking for anything in return.
Laura Ambriz, a senior communications major, is photography editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.