Your Artichoke Heart

I just wanted to draw your attention to this comment from a a recent post.


I am so thankful to have stumbled upon your site several months ago. I am a former “pagan atheist” convert to Catholicism, and one of the biggest challenges I faced during my spiritual journey to the Church was the standpoint on gays. I was a very liberal, feministic, civil-rights-activist type when I began my search for God. I had been involved in the gay rights movement and had (have) several very good friends who were gay.

It continued to bother me after my conversion, as I was allowing God to slowly whittle away my personal stances on just about everything, and conform them to His own loving view.

What I found over time was that our unhappiness springs from separation from God. Not just our “sinful decisions which separate us” kind of feeling, but the fact that living this life, in this world, leaves us inherently separated from complete union with Him. This is why heterosexuals and homosexuals, single, widowed, divorced and married, celibate and actively sexual, lonely or surrounded by friends, we are all unhappy on some level and we are all intensely struggling with that. Some of us just use a lot of mechanics to hide that truth, and others do not.

I read that after Catherine of Siena had a mystical vision where she experienced the beatific vision and union with God in heaven, she fell into a deep depression upon its end. This life was heavy. She knew that the possibility for what was to come was so impeccably, perfectly beautiful and she longed for it. Doing His work while she remained here was her only solace.

Like St. Catherine, what helps us to get through pain and spiritually grow is the process of preserving that precious knowledge in our heart, even through the ugly battle, and picking up and carrying the wounded we find as we are forced to walk along enemy lines.

What truly helps others to get through life’s battles is the willingness of some to be

1) aware of their struggle with this earthly separation and
2) willing to share it.

Thank you for being one of those people.
You are in my prayers.

I like how she points out that we’re all basically in the same boat, a fact that’s newly driven home to me every time another friend peels back the layers and lets me see the wounds that, as I am coming to believe, nobody in this world is without. Thanks, Audra N., for the lovely words. Seems like maybe you should be blogging somewhere too.

Stay tuned tomorrow for my guest post on

5 Comments on “Your Artichoke Heart”

  1. Richard says:

    St. Catherine of Siena, O.P.

  2. KD says:

    Oh, so you have time to write guest posts, but not here for us poor saps? I feel so used.

  3. You want some cheese with that whine?

  4. Audra N. says:

    Thank you, Steve. You helped to give me a bit of extra encouragement at a time I needed it….when I was about to record my conversion story, which can now be found on youtube: “From Atheist to Catholic”. It is a bit overwhelming actually getting out into the public arena, isn’t it….I have all the more respect for you.

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