I took a trip out into the city yesterday and finally did something that was seriously long overdue: I tracked down the local Catholic Church here in Wenzhou.
Don't get me wrong - it's not like I've been a heathen all this time. I'm part of a local church we medical students put together, and, despite my introvert nature, I get to drop a sermon every semester in front of the congregation.
But going down to the Catholic Church was something long overdue. Let's just put it down to laziness [because I'd actually sighted the church once 2 years ago when a rather crazy taxi driver - a lady no less - cut through the city in a bid to get us to our destination as quickly as possible; (sanity intact optional)]. So I actually knew it was there. Shamefully, on my last trip to Shanghai, I only spent 3 days in the city, and would you believe I managed to track down and pray in that Catholic Church on my way back to the medical school.
Someone would wonder what the fuss is about a little ol' church - "a (Christian)church is a church after all, right?"
In some ways that is true, but personally, the Catholic church is one of my touchstones no matter where I am. I remember back in 2002 when I was in Grantham, Pennsylvania at Messiah College, and my first visit to the Elizabeth Ann Seton Church helped clear the bout of homesickness that I was feeling.
The things which put some people off about Catholic churches just seem to draw me closer:
1. The well established liturgical tradition, which is practically the same no matter which part of the world you'll find yourself in.
2. There's something about the ornate decoration, the quiet pace of things and the traditional structure that reaches out to the melancholic in me [...the pull was even stronger after my break-up in 2006, and if ever there was a time I seriously considered joining the priesthood, it was then.]
3. The chance of maybe catching a Latin mass; I loved them, but it's probably been 8 years since I've taken part in one. I sorely miss them.
I've seriously been needing a touchstone in my life lately. I'm feeling like that line in the Goo goo Dolls Song "...bleeding just to know that I'm alive".
And I'm glad to say that doing a long neglected duty helps bring the spark back to the ordinary mundane life.
Thank God for finding contentment in the "small victories" in life.