By: Anna Dlesk
Tonight I was driving home from Milwaukee after a wonderful St. Patrick's Day eating Reuben sandwiches, drinking lattes with green foam, watching TONS of basketball (March Madness, anyone?) and spending time with family. I really like driving, especially at night, but because my license is expired (thanks, 21st birthday) I was stuck in the passengers' seat while my sister took the wheel. This ended up being a beautiful blessing, because my mind could wonder beyond exit signs, speed limits, and scary semis.
If you've never been to Milwaukee, I'd really recommend it! I love Chicago, and will happily argue for the many reasons it deserves the title "Best City in the World," but Milwaukee really is a charming city. If you look out your car window while driving over this one bridge, you will see TONS of church steeples (Holla for the Poles and Germans!). During the drive home tonight, while crossing "steeple bridge," I couldn't help but notice how inviting these churches looked. I found myself wishing we could pull over so I could pry open the doors of an old Catholic Church and sit with Jesus for a while.
Then I started thinking about how these churches were much more than charming buildings with pretty stained glass windows. These churches were... homes. Homes to men, women, and children of varying ethnicities and economic backgrounds; Homes to the lost and broken, the searchers and believers. Churches don't ask where you come from, what mistakes you've made, or what your purpose is for being there. They have a quiet understanding that the souls that enter their doors are in search of something more, and that in itself, is beautiful. In fact, I think churches really only ask one question: where will you go from here?
I know not every steeple I saw tonight was connected to a Catholic Church, but being the young Catholic woman (get it???) that I am, my mind naturally wandered there. The Catholic Church is my home. She has welcomed me, not judged me. She has challenged me, and loved me. She has made me the woman I am, and is my guide to the woman I hope to be.
My heart is very attracted to the beauty of my Catholic home. I could sit in pews for hours on end, resting in the silence of Jesus' love. I had this exact desire tonight. But after thinking about this more, I'm realizing that it's not the building I'm really attracted to. Yes, there are many beautiful Catholic Churches (see picture above :) ), but that's not really what makes my heart joyful. What makes my heart joyful, is how strongly I feel the presence of Jesus.
So often I don't want to leave a Catholic Church because it means leaving behind peace and comfort and the greatest love ever known (2 words: The Mass). Then I remember that it is a blessing to not find my peace, comfort, and love from the world because my heart was not made for this world. My heart was made for Heaven!
The Catholic Church is my temporary home. It shelters me, feeds me (THE EUCHARIST!!!), comforts me, loves me, teaches me, and guides me. She also leads me; leads me on a path with many struggles, but also many joys. This path is my daily walk with Jesus. This path is my way to Heaven. This path is my journey Home.