When my husband and I were on our honeymoon in Hawaii, we stumbled upon a summer camp group at a waterfall right off the Hana Highway. We watched these little Hawaiians play and wondered if they knew how lucky they were to grow up in Paradise. Could you imagine spending summer camp swimming under waterfalls? Back when I was little, it would have sounded like a fairytale. And, actually, it still does!
A couple years ago I discovered, possibly for the first time, the real beauty of the Catholic faith. I grew up Catholic and attended mass weekly with my family. I imagine as a small child I understood the beauty of faith much better than I do even now. But, somewhere between second grade and sophomore year of college, I lost the sense of that beauty. Even though I still read the bible occasionally and attended mass or a non-denominational service when convenient, I became a complacent Christian. I took for granted what I had once perceived as beautiful.
I’m sure that many Hawaiians have always and will always appreciate the majesty of their islands. But for others, I imagine it takes a long trip to the mainland to be able to understand the true beauty of their Hawaiian home. And this is how it is for many of us Cradle Catholics. It wasn’t until I had returned home from a stay on a sort of “secular mainland” that I was able to understand the beauty that existed in the Catholic Church.
If you have found yourself on a secular mainland, I pray you can find your way back home.