Yes, I'm Catholic and it works... for me. But I have four children, none of whom are tied to any particular religious beliefs. Not sure why, both my husband and I are Catholic ~ both raised in the faith, even though my DH is from the Ukranian tradition while I was brought up in the Roman tradition. Not any big differences and no problems with either of the families ~ after all we were both marrying a Catholic ~ and a practicing one at that. And Yes, I do think that sometimes the "practicing" part can be rather humourous... I do have, after all, a rather odd sense of humour!
Anyway, all our children were baptised, went through the various sacraments, went to church with us every Sunday... in fact, grew up in the Catholic faith. But now?
Well, our son Stephen goes to church with us ~ if he's around ~ Christmas Eve and Easter. They all will come to church with us for any major celebration; and I'm pretty sure that they do that for us not because they feel a need. Our oldest daughter, Lisa, is living in Cairo and, while ostensibly an agnostic, followed Ramadan during the month of September. Her boyfriend follows Islam and Mo seems to be a believer. Our second daughter, Meagan, really isn't into following any beliefs of any kind. She does admit to believing in God ~ or more likely ~ a superior power. Funny how her boyfriend ~ and best friend ~ is also a Catholic, but Tim attends Mass weekly.... *grin* Our youngest, Teresa, has mentioned that she would consider herself a believer in Buddhism ~ not traditionally a religion, and she does come to church with us fairly regularly ~ but then Teresa has never wanted to cause any trouble. *shrug*
Now I can't say that I'm thrilled with the fact that none of our children think of themselves as Christian or even hold any religious beliefs. But I also realize that my beliefs are just that ~ mine ~ and that I do not, in any way, shape or form feel that I have the right to insist that they conform to my way of thinking. I mean, shoot, we worked their whole lives so that they would actually learn to think for themselves... and me telling them what to believe? Nuh uh!
I do not agree that religion is "the opiate of the masses". I believe that people need to believe in something other than themselves and the concrete world around them. I believe that belief in God, however we see Him (and yes I'm rather sticky about the gender, even though I believe that God is far more than any label that we use... labels are for us humans... we need to categorize to understand... but that's another discussion for another time.) is something that people need; something bigger than themselves that can stand up to anything ~ something that will support us when life throws curves of any kind.
ANYway.... (see I can get off-topic so quickly and soooo easily... and end up miles away from where I started. *sigh*)
The Catholic church does not agree that reincarnation exists. Personally I think that the church, being made up of people... fallible people at that... has to have certain rules to follow so that the "church" may be united. Not sure that I agree... actually I don't really... and that might make me a *bad* Catholic or something, but I try to live my faith insofar that I don't hurt others, that I follow God's directives ~ believe in one God with all your strength, all your mind and all your heart AND love your neighbour as you love yourself; but I don't think everything that's been ordained as TRUTH through the church is just that. But that too, could be a discussion for another time... probably not, but it could be! LOL
Okay, back to the story whereupon I started this rather lengthy and meandering blog: This Time Forever. I've read other stories that deal with two people who, throughout their various past lives, are never able to fulfill their love and so they continue on through generations and centuries.
Two of my favourite reincarnation stories are Linda Howard's Lake of Dreams (novella) and Jayne Ann Krentz's Dreams Parts I and II (originally published under the Harlequin Temptation imprint), and now to those titles I add Margaret Chittenden's story (originally published under another Harlequin / Silhouette imprint reprinted under the defunct Dreamscapes: Whispers of Love imprint).
Okay, here I will insert my review of this story, along with the blurb from the back of the book... just 'cause this is my blog and I can do it! *grin*
Margaret Chittenden; This Time Forever; Silhouette Dreamscapes
I loved the theme of eternal love between two people who, not finding it in various shared lifetimes, are given another opportunity ~ love, love, LOVE this type of story! I really liked the characters of Liz and Matt ~ they experienced such an intense connection before either knew who the other was. There were some secondary characters as well ~ Liz's divorced parents, Catherine and Jake, and Matt's partner, Ione ~ that really added a depth to the struggle that Liz and Matt were undergoing. A very nicely portrayed journey of love.
Excellence: 4 stars of 5
FROM the BACK:
He'd waited a lifetime for her
Liz Brooks felt like a swimmer caught in a powerful undertow. One minute she was an ordinary businesswoman. The next she was swept into the past. How could she not feel out of her depth, finding herself in another woman's body, thinking another woman's thoughts, consumed with hunger for another woman's man? She needed answers...desperately. Dr. Matthew Lockwood was just the man. For many, he had opened doors to the past. But with Liz he struggled to maintain a distance. He could help her, yes ~ but not because of his professional skills. Matthew knew intimately who she'd been ~ and loved passionately who she was. But would he be able to keep her this time, forever?
I know that I started off talking about a book dealing with an eternal love and how the H and h experienced various lives, yet were never able to come together, and from there segued into how the faith I grew up in, and still practice, teaches that reincarnation is not an acceptable belief. From there I went on to how I disagree.
Now if only I could have said so in that few words, eh? Yeah, right! *snort*
What I did want to get across is that I believe that any set of beliefs that limits what you can believe in is, first and foremost, flawed. Not deliberately ~ at least not the majority of the time... or so I would like to think ~ but because we as human beings need to have limits, especially if we belong to a group that is more than one person big.
I also believe that by presenting such limits to people that we are, fundamentally, disregarding that God, the Spirit, the whatever we believe in, is far more than we can even begin to understand.
I'm always reminded at these times about the following bit of wisdom, courtesy William Shakespeare: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
And I guess my final question is, why do we think that we know all there is? Why we figure that what we have to say is the final word... because to tell you the truth, I truly do believe that what we see God (or whatever your belief is) as is only an iota of the truth.... As humans I don't think that we're able to truly absorb the absolute that is the Creator.
Okay, and now I'll get off my rather tattered soap box and let you poor people try to recover. But Hey! I had fun....!
Have a great one!