Today I was sitting in on a Presbyterian church service for professional reasons. I haven't been to a church, particularly a non-Methodist church, in quite a while. The church my parents attend tends to be pretty cuddly-wuddly, and I had doubts that this Presbyterian church would be that liberal. I was correct -- the minister made a point of deriding liberal Christianity and inclusivist views of salvation. It was a little upsetting.
Mostly it was upsetting because I am not sure if I was meant to take anything from that message.
You see, before the service, I did my Universal Rosary for the first time. I didn't really have any set prayers or mantras for it, I just used them as a guideline rather than a counting tool, to guide my praying and my thoughts. I lit a white candle and closed my eyes to pray for a while before I left for the church service.
In the 'listening' portion of my rosary, I was a little disappointed at the silence with which I was received. I don't know if it's because no one was listening to me or because God had nothing to say? Or perhaps I am wrong to seek in this way? I don't feel like I'm doing something wrong, in fact, I really feel that I'm on the right track... I hope that if I stick with it I will feel like I'm more engaged in dialogue than in petition.
Talking to my boyfriend just now, I was reminded of this portion of St. Francis Xavier's prayer, which I will post here:
Then why, O blessed Jesus Christ,
Should I not love Thee well: Not for the sake of winning Heaven,
Or of escaping Hell;
Not with the hope of gaining aught, not seeking a reward;
But, as Thyself hast loved me, O ever-loving Lord?
E'en so I love Thee, and will love,
and in Thy praise will sing;
Solely because Thou art my God
And my eternal King.
I hope that my small ritual will continue to reveal the love and worship in my practice, and that my fear of escaping hell and my desire to win heaven will not become the sole motivators in my religious journey.