Recently, former Christian music artist Audrey Assad gave an interview to NCR on why she left the Catholic Church.
And it resonated. It sounded loud.
I fell in love with Audrey Assad’s music when I was in high school. I met her after a gig when I was 15, and I still have the photo I took with her (above), in which my smile is too wide, showing how good I was excited. I have prayed with his music countless times. I sang her song “Restless” on my graduation from high school (although it was still my friend Abby’s favorite song, not mine). At the university, while attending the Franciscan University of Steubenville, a friend and I attended a chat and dinner with Audrey and her then-husband, followed by an intimate little concert in the old town. concert hall of the Harmonium project.
His words about the creation of works of art and the importance of finding a community of artists have marked me to this day.
Audrey has always inspired me with the depth and kindness that emanate from her lyrics, music and demeanor. I watched his deconstruction from behind the scenes, via tweets and his website, and it all resonated.
But today was the first time I saw her confirm that she was no longer a practicing Catholic. Well, I made it obvious, I’m sure, but neither did I.
I held on to the Eucharist for a long time. Because I still love him deeply. But reading Audrey’s interview today, her words about the Eucharist struck me the most: “[Do you miss the Eucharist?] Yes. . . . Another reason I’m not getting is that I know what the institution demands in terms of what makes you a Catholic in good standing, and I just don’t fit those things anymore. I do not want to disrespect the institution by flouting this. I no longer receive the Eucharist out of respect.
Yes. It’s exactly that. I’m still thirsty for the Eucharist, but I just don’t believe many of the Church’s moral teachings anymore, and I can’t jump through the loops in order to receive “lawfully”. And I can’t stand attending Mass and skipping the Eucharist either. I’ve done it too many times and it hurts too much.
But what remains in my mind is what a friend once said to me: “If the Eucharist is as powerful and vital as the Church says it is, why don’t we offer it? to the sick and homeless at street corners? And it still gnaws at me. Christ said take and eat. I think he meant that to everyone. I think he meant it even for Audrey and myself. But I still cannot cross the psychological barriers of the Church to take and eat myself.
Yet, little practicing and somewhat adrift, I believe (or at least I hope) in a good and loving divine being. I leave you with Audrey’s thoughts on God:
“There is something that leaves a trail of breadcrumbs in the heart of the universe, and for me it is God. I don’t really have many specific forms or beliefs around this idea anymore, but I still feel very deeply connected to this concept.