Updated: Nov 7, 2022
Growing up Catholic, I spent all my Sundays at mass. Often, I'd be unbelievably frustrated by the opinions of the priests.
When I was young, one priest would use the pulpit to preach anti-communist sentiments, and I believed this to be the wrong context to share his feelings.
My last visit to mass was contradictory. On the one hand, the priest gave a very good sermon, and I told him so after mass had ended. On the other hand, he was such a hard-line fan of the patriarchy that he deeply insulted me as a woman.
But in between those times, I was a happy Catholic. I'd go to mass, not only willingly, but, enthusiastically. I loved singing, I loved the camaraderie with others in what I felt was my soul-tribe. And, I loved to think on the meaning of the readings.
Each year, there would be reference to a passage called The Beatitudes. In it, Jesus speaks of apparent incongruities. "Blessed are you that mourn", and if you're rebuked, if others are unkind to you, and so on.
Jesus lists situations in which we find ourselves now, and reminds us that we will find comfort, in one way or another.
There's one part, that I always felt the priests got wrong, and it's this bit:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
Maybe they didn't understand what "poor in spirit" could possibly be.
It's not about poverty; well, not about material insecurity. And it's not about being spiritually understaffed! Or about being more focussed on a corporeal life than on spiritual.
Strangely, the symptoms of depression and anxiety come to mind as I write this now, even though they never used to (in that sense).
If you're feeling hopeless, or afraid, or helpless; turn to the whole community of heaven, because they're there for you.
If you've lost your way, lost your motivation, or lost your will to live; lean on the whole community of heaven, and they'll pick you up and carry you.
If it all feels like too much; ask the community of heaven for help, and know that it will come.
But, who is the kingdom of heaven; the community of heaven?
Hopefully, you get that I'm rewording "kingdom" to "community", but kingdom does evoke a sense of power, that you might feel you need sometimes.
Community, though, that's so much more encompassing; diverse, even. It includes angels, archangels, and saints; but it also includes those who have passed from this life, as well as all the people we still have in our present and our future.
That's a very big alliance!
Personally, I like to think of God/dess and all of Heaven as One, and I call that entity Benevolent Universe. All-encompassing.
So, when we're feeling low, when we feel stuck or thwarted or trapped; we can say, "yes, I ask for and welcome the help of the kingdom/community of heaven", and feel grateful for it.
When there's nothing left that we can do ourselves, we can rest somewhere safe and allow the Benevolent Universe to work on our behalf, and feel the relief that this help really is on its way!
A very special friend recommended a site to me, when I was frustrated with religious patriarchy, and I'd like to share it too. Pay it forward, if you like. Here it is. In this episode, she gets it.