Firstly, as per the rules: All due respect and obeisances to Marta the Cat.
Now that that is out of the way ;) I'd like to introduce myself. This may be a bit lengthy as I am a long winded type of person, and the internet is the ONE place where I'm not crippled with social anxiety. My wordiness actually got me into a lot of trouble at University in my upper-level philosophy classes LOL.
I'm 28 (or 29?....I think 28), married and without children (I am incapable of having them myself, but perhaps I'll adopt one day. We'll see. Things are going pretty well right now, and I can barely take care of myself on the reg). I studied Philosophy and Religion at University, but I never carried on to graduate studies (I lacked the self-confidence and I have pretty bad social anxiety so the idea of teaching - the only application of my degree - scares me like no other). So, currently, I am a homemaker - by choice - and I love it. There's a certain science to keeping a good home - at least in my opinion - and I think I'm doing well enough at it. My husband is a founding member of a Commercial Janitorial Collective so we are Blessed to be financially well off enough that I can stay at home and work on my philosophy writing (which is how I spend most of my free time and make a little extra money from my blog - I'm not going to share it here though as that seems like inappropriate self-promotion).
I was born and raised a Catholic - although my parents never saw fit to have me Baptised so I'm not 'official' yet. My father grew up Anabaptist so I think part of him still held onto the 'make that decision when you are an adult' mentality. I'm leaning heavily towards being Baptised soon, but I would like to do some more studying etc. before making that commitment. Although I was born into Catholicism I have never actively practiced the Faith, and I fell out of it entirely through most of my teenage years (I stopped attending Mass around 13). I guess I never really understood the faith - our local Priest was not what I would call an 'active' Priest so when I had questions of faith I was mostly pushed aside. My parents, being converts to Catholicism (my mother was born Orthodox Jewish and my father Anabaptist), also lacked the theological background to help with those 'teenage year questioning of faith' phases.
In my early teens, I drifted into Ceremonial Magick as a spirituality. However, my time studying these theologies/metaphysics/etc. is actually why I am here today considering Baptism into Catholicism. I gained a lot of understanding of the Catholic faith through the contemplative works of Michael Molinos in his 'The Spiritual Guide', and my time spent practicing the techniques he laid out in this book. I was never into the whole 'make things happen, gain money, etc' part of Magick, but I attached very heavily to what is called 'Knowledge and Conversation with the Holy Guardian Angel'. In my quest to invoke this event in my life - which boils down to learning one's true purpose on this Earth - I found myself constantly drawn towards Catholic practices - especially Eucharistic ritual and the Rosary (which instantly reminded me of mantra mediation).
The more I prayed the Rosary the more I felt drawn towards Our Lady of Grace, Mary Mother of God - and through Her (and devotion to the ascetic practices of St. Francis of Assisi) I learned to develop a deep respect, Love, and understanding of Jesus Christ, The Holy Spirit, and God The Father. I discovered that it was the Ritualism of Ceremonial Magick that I enjoyed - the all-encompassing lifestyle in which every moment is interpreted as Divine communication - and not necessarily the underlying philosophy - although many of the practices of the particular Order I joined (I am not going to name it unless asked because I don't want to promote it) seem applicable to coming to understand Catholicism. Mysticism in general really attracts me, and I have found that Catholicism offers a complete system by which I can come to know and practice true Faith in a way that speaks to me. This is something I feel a 'good' Priest could have taught me when I was young and saved me a lot of 'lost time', but life is what it is and my journey still got me here so I'm not complaining. At the moment when asked my religion, I say I am a Christian/Catholic Mystic - but I find this is sometimes confused with Gnosticism which is not what I practice. I enjoy contemplation and contemplative spirituality techniques which I guess some consider mysticism.
Anyway, I am currently starting to incorporate some of the daily obligations of Opus Dei as I truly enjoy faith more or less being a central part of my daily life; however, I am not entirely knowledgeable enough of their practices, their Order, or their interpretation of faith to say I am - at the moment, at least - considering joining. One thing that has stayed with me from my previous studies is a saying, "Inflame thyself in Prayer." I try to do this often through the day - especially when praying my Rosary - and I have found myself to be - even if I am undeserving - filled with compassion and Grace a level of which I have never known before in my life. This has sparked a drive to learn more about Catholicism, the Rituals etc and it's been truly life-transforming even without yet being Baptised.
That long wall of text is why I'm here on this forums currently. I am considering Baptism, but I wanted to spend some time in a Catholic community. I, literally, live right next to a traditional Catholic church - I have for most of my life (I bought my parents house when they retired to Flordia after I moved back from University a few years ago), but I'm socially anxious as it is and I'm nervous to integrate because I have tattoos some of which would be very 'questionable' to most practicing Catholics I would assume (and they are un-coverable as some are on my hands). I have, however, corresponded with the Priest over email and he seems to be very welcoming and encouraging. He even is willing to discuss Molinos's contemplative techniques with me which I found surprising considering Molinos's history with the Church. I wish he had been there when I was younger, but again things happen as they do for a reason, no?
Anywhoo. That's it. That's pretty much my religious backstory and why I joined this forum. Right now I am just doing my Rosary, studying about St. Francis of Assisi, building a relationship with Christ, the Holy Spirit, and God, learning about Mary, and taking it easy. I am looking forward to learning from all of you, and perhaps learning where my practice needs modification to fit within the System of Faith taught by the Catholic church. I'd like to have that in order before officially being Baptised. Oh, and I'd like to attend a few Masses and I figure hanging out with you all may just give me the confidence I need to walk next door one Sunday LOL I just have to stop being such a wimp.
Thanks for reading if you stuck with me this far! <3