What I learned from going to church

I'd like to think that I was once a devout Catholic.

I attended mass regularly. I participated in bible studies and catholic discussion groups. I prayed daily and tried to follow the catholic way as best I could.

It has been five years since I've been to church. That was until 6 weeks ago when a couple friends of mine were discussing what they were giving up for lent. One friend was giving up boba. Another friend was giving up dirty jokes. Another friend was committing to being on time for work.

When the question turned to me, my mind drew a blank. All I could come up with was that I could attend mass every sunday during Lent. How bad could it be right? The idea was well received by all.

Easter has finally come and here are some thoughts and observations:

1. It was hard to focus at first. All I could think about was what else I could be doing with this time. Going to the gym, working on side projects, logging in to work, reading books. Anything other than what was going on in church.

2. Showing up may be half the battle in real life, but it doesn't quite work that way for faith. Perhaps I was naive in thinking that sitting in the pews and gazing on all that was holy would magically produce a transformation inside of me. I can't say my faith after Lent was any different than before. Faith really does come from within.

3. Catholic Mass is very ritualistic and traditional. Aside from the homily, you pretty much know what to expect at each mass. A good one leaves it's mark long after mass has ended..

4. Time slows down. People walk slower, talk slower. It's like getting stuck behind a car going 40 mph when the speed limit is 75 mph. It was annoying at first. But I surprisingly came to appreciate the pace. For most of us, our lives are drowned out by constant facebook notifications, twitter updates, push email, tv, and text messages. It's not often that we have time to reflect/think in peace.