Healing Our Broken Hearts

As I move closer to embracing a Christian religion as my own, and as I learn more about it, the emotional healing aspect of it is becoming more apparent. Maybe it's just because that's the thing that I need, and other people will be looking for something different. It's not totally obvious on the surface that healing our broken places is a perk of religion. I had to dig to find it.

I have started down a path to Catholicism, and to become a Catholic as an adult takes about six months. There are weekly classes, and the process is designed for the inquirer to get to know what it's all about, in order to decide if it is the right fit for them. My classes start this week, but I've been researching on my own for about six months already. Everything about it appeals to me. I love the beauty, the ritual, the doctrine, the community, and the longevity of the Church, among many other things. The people I follow on YouTube, and the books I've read, are all impressive beyond what I expected. I was ready to buy in just based on those things alone.

But then I discovered a whole rich vein of Catholicism that I wasn't expecting to find. And it turns out it was something I sorely needed and didn't even know it. It's a vast network of healers, from different parishes and communities, offering many kinds of workshops, books, retreats, counseling, and talks, all concerned with healing our emotional brokenness through our relationship with God. Some people may not need this kind of thing. Some Catholics I talk to kind of glaze over when I mention it. In my case, though, the need for it came bursting to the surface as soon as I started delving into my relationship with God. God revealed some deep wounds that had never been looked at, and I couldn't ignore them.

Some of us didn't get the proper nurturing as children, or we had trauma, abuse, or loss. All of these things are very painful, and we naturally defend against that pain by putting up defenses, all of which limit our capacity to fully give and receive love as we mature into adulthood. And the tricky thing is, once the defenses have outlived their usefulness (once we are no longer small and dependent on adults for our safety and care), they don't go away. We have come to believe them as true, even though they were invented by us based on a lie — the lie that we are not lovable, not worthy of love, not even God's love. That's the message we got, and we believed it, and some part of us still believes it. The healing is about recognizing what I believe about myself that isn't true.

I have made a page with some of the wonderful healing resources I've encountered and am currently working with. The thing that surprises me is that they're all Catholic. I thought Catholicism was something else, more about accepting Jesus as my savior, promising not to sin, having a regular ritual of Mass that I attend once a week. And learning the incredibly rich theology of the Church, which I am, and it is beautiful and edifying beyond my wildest hopes. Seeing the world through the lens of a belief in a single, perfect, unassailable, loving God is very satisfying.

I thought this would just be about me doing all of the above, the stuff a good Catholic does, and finding solace in the faith. But I didn't expect that my deepest, scariest, oldest fears and pain would find a place to begin their healing process. I consider it a gift from God. Once I decided to trust Him, He made the way safe for me. It's still hard, and slow, but every day brings forth a new piece of my true being — this light that shines because God wanted me here and put me here. God wants nothing more than for us all to know who we are, beloved by Him, important to Him, and able to experience all the love that is the true essence of life.