Sarah Hern

The Holy Spirit brought me here.

It’s where I began to rediscover myself because someone saw potential in me that I never saw in myself. It’s where I realized that my gifts and talents, however unimpressive they seem to me, are important, welcome, and appreciated. It’s where I was thrust into friendships that I didn’t want but God knows I needed. It’s where I fell to my knees in anger and anguish as the life that had begun within me drained from my body. It’s where I came face to face with true Grace. It’s where I held up my infant son and promised to teach him the Truth. It’s where I am slowly learning the art of multitasking in the spiritual life, as I try to turn my eyes to the Lord without taking them off of my active little one. It’s where I come for refuge when I’m weary of the world’s cynicism—of my own cynicism. It’s where I close my eyes, breathe in and, from the deepest part of me, say Thank You. It’s where I am humbled again and again by the presence of Christ.

The Holy Spirit brought me here.

But even ten years after being welcomed into the Catholic Church, I still struggle with the tendencies of some “cradle Catholics” that I had never experienced in my tightknit Protestant church. Why don’t people take off their coats and stay a while? This is our spiritual home, after all! Why do people rush for the door immediately after the Final Blessing, or even before? You closed the door on relationships with the community inside. Why do people stand silently while worship is happening around them? We are called to worship in spirit and in truth—in spirit, heart-felt and alive, not silent and asleep. Why are lips sealed while the cantor, choir, and community sing praises? We ought to sing for joy in the Lord! When you come to this place, in the presence of Christ, how can you keep your song of praise inside? Why do we speak of Sunday obligation when we should be speaking about Sunday privilege? Why do so many of us creep vacantly toward the Eucharist when we should be leaping for joy that Jesus is alive! Why? Why? WHY?

I know better than to question the motives of others who have, like me, made a choice to come here to worship on Sunday morning. And I would certainly never presume to tell someone how to worship “properly.” But ten years I’ve been a Catholic, and I still feel like an outsider looking in. Like I’m somehow backwards for craving a deeper relationship not just with Christ, but also with the Body of Christ. Still, I come, I sing, I pray, I commit myself again and again to my Saviour.

Because the Holy Spirit brought me here.