It is interesting that I continue to see my return to the Catholic church in terms of parent/child. However, there is truth to this because we see the same principles mirrored in our own relationships.
When a child is young, even as a toddler, there is a sense that dawns on her that she is an individual, capable of acting on her own. Soon, she wants to exert that independence by tying her own shoes, choosing her clothes for the day, determining what she will or will not eat. Many parents are exasperated during this stage because they know that what a toddler demands is not always good for her. If a parent gives in to every demand, the child will be spoiled and will continue to see the world as her slave.
It takes a persistent effort on the part of a parent, to break the child not of their spirit, but of their will. To temper it, so that the will realizes it is good to think of others, to be sensitive, to be kind - traits that often overrule the stubborn flesh of man that otherwise would only be absorbed in himself. We are born with the sin of Adam, the assumption that we don't really need God and can make our own way into this world on our own, thank you very much. But a parent reminds us that we do need help and guidance. Parents teach a child humility.
My return to the Catholic church brings up such lessons in a new light. I can see my childishness clearly, now, when I was intent on "going my own way" into the wild, blue yonder of non-Catholic churches. Yes, I was curious. Yes, I was searching, but I became satisfied most when I found a church that didn't demand as much from me, a type of church where I'd look up to see twirling things that captured my imagination and brought entertainment. Of course I thought about God and sought to do His will, but it would seem I was in a playground, and not school.
The Catholic church is a school. A training ground. It is also a fortress. It protects us by disciplining us. And, there is strength in numbers.
I am thinking that our world will be changing very soon. How drastic, I do not know. But the Church will survive because Jesus Christ said it will be so.
I may add more to this later throughout the day. This idea of the Catholic church offering protection has been on my mind lately.