I have taken to calling myself a Catholic again. For the longest time, I hated even calling myself a Christian let alone a Catholic. I disliked how when I say, “I’m a Christian“ that somehow that means I believe the same things they do, and that’s seldom true. If I describe myself as a Christian and then describe my beliefs, I’m quickly labeled a heretic. Not long ago I realized that if I'm was honest with myself; I would have to admit that, despite the fact I have grave differences with the Catholic Church, I nonetheless was raised a Catholic. Catholicism is the software my parents used to program my brain on how to behave. Add to that my public education and you have the foundation of who I am. What defines me as a person is how I use the skills given me, I can use them for good or evil. My mother and father were very stern Catholics, and I grew up in a very large Catholic world with many aunts and uncles, and almost every family has at least one priest or a nun included among them. I did not inherit my family’s image of the world, and that troubled my mother before she passed away. And even though I don’t share my mother’s view of the world, I never doubted that she just simply wanted the best for me. I remember as a child, my mother telling me that if I went to nine first Fridays Mass’s in a row, I would be guaranteed a chance at last rites before I died. At the end of the last one, I stayed behind because I was having some problems, and I needed God’s help. As I knelt there praying, the light image of a dove appeared, and a rainbow of colors blasted out from around the dove and it oddly enough appeared above the statue of Mary and not the Tabernacle in which he was supposed to reside. I turned around because there were lots of stained-glass windows in the church and I wanted to see where the image had originated. There was no dove in the stained-glass where the sun entered the church. It felt very real, and then it faded. I think all kids of that age suffer from some type neurosis, and so a rational thinking human being would explain it as a hallucination. The famous psychologist Carl Yung believed that the principal function of the unconscious is to bring about balance to an individual who is psychologically out of balance. He believed the unconscious express is itself through the language ofsymbolism. He believed that the symbolism in dreams were the same symbols that someone in a psychosis imagines they are seeing. A symbol is like a metaphor or a piece of art in that it speaks to something that language is incapable of explaining. A symbol can invoke a variety of different feelings upon being seen. A swastika can invoke different emotions from different people. A Jewish person would not feel the same sense of well-being that a Buddhist would when exposed to that symbol. Through the course of a day, all of us go through conflicts and how we deal with those conflicts can often leave our psyche out of balance at the end of the day, and Carl Yung believed that dreams were the unconscious’ way of putting that psyche back into balance. My first memory of my mother and me is of her walking me to school, and I began to cry because I had just realized that I was going to die, she tried to comfort me, but I know that my fear of death haunted me in my youth. I have never been a morning person, and I remember the morning mass being at 6 AM in the morning and the only thing that would’ve got me out of bed that early in the morning was my fear of death and my fear of going to hell. If I indeed hallucinated this divine image, then it came up through my unconscious, and it must’ve worked because my fear of death seems to end. I have always known that there is a higher power. The way I see it, there are only two explanations for the dove; it was real, or I imagined it, if it was real then there is a God, if I imagined it, then a power greater than myself knew I was out of balance, and knew how to fix me. I would like to believe for one moment in my life, I truly believed in God. If the dove was real, it was because of my capacity to connect with the divine. I think most people lose the chance to experience the divine at this level because as society builds the rational brain, it starts to erase a part of our humanity that goes beyond reason. Joseph Campbell said that what was keeping most Christian from experiencing the divine was their image of the divine, an image that has been impressed on them by society. Most churches, like the one I grew up in, are more concerned with getting young people to adapt to the norms of the community than having an individual have a divine experience. To have a divine experience requires, in some small part, “heresy,” or moving away from the dogma that is the church. Joe used to say “Heresy is the life of religion.”