Why My Hindu Practice Has Made Me A Better Catholic
A man gains a better appreciation for the Catholic religion from his Hindu practice.
I recently took a pilgrimage to Corpus Christi Church on 121st Street off of Broadway, here in New York City. This is where Thomas Merton, the great Catholic monk/mystic/author, was baptized, formally beginning a spiritual journey which has captivated and inspired millions of truth-seekers over the past few generations, myself included.
It was a special enough moment to be there, but a certain deeper resonance came as I stepped back out into the street, as I suddenly saw my past, present, and future all before me. My past, raised in the Catholic tradition by my family in Detroit, as represented by Corpus Christi Church and Merton, faced me in my present situation, as an aspiring Hindu minister in New York City. I turned to my left to see the potentiality of my future, as represented by Union Theological Seminary, where I am currently applying, and where I hope to find an experience to harmonize my spiritual aspirations with my concern to be a servant to creating justice in the world.
I was reminded that we owe a tremendous debt to that which has shaped us, to those who have helped to form us. We can forget this so easily, when the cult of our own individuality oversteps its boundaries. I was once again reminded that what I appreciate most of all in my own spiritual journey is gaining a greater and more loving acceptance of where I have come from, from the sacred roots of my family.
The Catholic faith of my youth planted within me the seeds to seek the truth. Now the tables have turned, as my experience of the incredible vistas of Hindu theology and practice has turned a shining light back to where I was before. In fact, I see that where I was before is very much the same as I am now. My Hindu faith has made me a better Christian.
Even as a child, the stories and wisdom I received in church and in catechism spoke to me of a profound yet simple reality: God is a person who knows and loves me dearly and deeply, and that I am also a person who can return that love in a very personal and unique way.