Friday, August 31, 2012

A momentous day

Today marks a major turning point in our lives.  For the first time since I can't remember when, we will officially be without insurance.  No  benefits.  Nothing.  With four active boys, that isn't a feeling that keeps me warm and fuzzy.  We're still plodding along, applying and applying for jobs.  But so far, the offers just aren't there.  We could settle for smaller paying jobs and work several of them, but even there we've had difficulties.  Because of the salaries we made, folks are unwilling to believe we won't bolt the first chance we get to snag a better paying job.  I can't lie and say otherwise.  Even if I did, I don't think they would believe me. 

I have applied for some positions in our diocese recently, in parishes, in various ministries and apostolates, as well as the diocese itself, but thus far, they have come through with a 'thanks but no thanks' letter.  Not even so much as an interview.  Why I can't even breach the walls of a sit down interview - or even a phone interview - is something I can't figure.  At this point it is one of two possibilities.  Either the fact that I was a former Protestant clergy means absolutely nothing, or the fact that I was a former Protestant clergy is itself the problem.  Either way, my only hope now lies in the secular work force, a work force peopled by increasingly secularized younger HR folks who either have little experience with religious life, or in keeping with the post-modern tendencies, see religion itself as a major detriment to good will and positive contributions to society.

Therefore, as the last and final savings account quickly dwindles, and the only option left is to raid what paltry 401Ks we have, the only thing left is diligence on our part and prayers on everyone's part.  When I became Catholic, the one thing I didn't want was to have it negatively impact our children.  I didn't want them to see it as the point when everything went to hell in a hand basket. God, I guess, is not without a sense of irony.  It's also tough because some of those who were critical of our decision are able to sit back and gloat about how well this decision has turned out for us. 

Nonetheless, Truth is Truth.  I would rather be able to enjoy my Catholic walk with a job and some benefits, but I know I'm not the only one out there hurting.  I know others are in the pews worrying about the same things we are.  That doesn't mean I'm looking forward to losing our home or ending up wherever we may end up.  Nor does it mean I don't worry that our children, our two oldest at least, are beginning to openly wonder about the wisdom of our entrance into Catholicism.  But it is what it is.  I have made my decision, and can only hope that my wife's efforts and mine will open up something, that someone will hear and help us through a door, that something will occur to save us from the inevitability that seems to be approaching us at this hour.

In thinking this, I'm reminded that in olden days, today was the day of St. Raymond Nonnatus.  He lived at time of hostility and strife between Christians and the Moors.  He assumed the role of ransoming Christians who had been seized by the Moors, only to become a prisoner himself when he refused to leave for safety.  Instead of leaving some Christian behind in captivity, he used himself to ransom those Christians who were left.  While there, he continued to work to convert the Moors to the Faith.  Needless to say, they were none too happy about this development.  Here in an excerpt of what occurred:
"His own life was now in great danger. The Moors of Algiers were enraged that he had managed to convert some of their number. The governor would have put him to death by impaling the saint on a stake. What saved him were others who realized that a rich ransom would be paid for this particular Christian. Even so, he was still whipped publicly in the streets — partly to discourage those who might be tempted to learn from him the Christian faith."
So there you have it.  Could I return to my old Protestant faith for jobs and security?  Sure.  It probably wouldn't take long at all.  Just the testimony of 'I was once lost (was Catholic) but now am found (Protestant) would get me a string of speaking engagements.  In fact, some time ago, I ran into an old colleague who offered me a position in his church.  Right there in Kroger.  It was tempting then, and it would be more than tempting if it happened today.  But I've made my commitment, and I believe that the historical Faith of the Church is True.  So here I stand.  I've endured far less than scourging, and nothing close to being impaled on a stake.  But hopefully somehow, some way, somebody will come in and by the grace of God ransom us from the edge of the pit.  That's my prayer.  St. Raymond Nonnatus, pray for us!

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