I had lunch today with a friend of mine who happens to be Buddhist. While she is raising her son Catholic, and is a very active member of the parish (where I used to work) she has never felt the need to personally become a Catholic herself. I have always maintained that she and I believe in the same God and have very similar styles of praying, and have wanted to talk to her about her prayer life for over a year now, but somehow it took this long for our schedules to permit us to get together for a talk.
We had the most amazing discussion about Union with God, the transcendent Other. That which is greater than any words we can use to describe. We talked about how we pray, and how we use our prayer time and what we do with distraction in our prayer life. We talked about The ultimate goal of the spiritual life being that of union with God.
It was a fascinating discussion, and in many ways I could easily have been talking to another Catholic. She even has a deep appreciation for the Blessed Mother. She understands what it took for Mary to say yes to God's plan of salvation and be willing to go along with that plan, holding those things she didn't understand in her heart.
She commented at one point that we have similar understandings about God. I told her that many mystics within the Christian tradition came to understand that God was more than the sum of what human language could describe. I also told her that for me, because of what I knew of Christ and His mission and the Eucharist I would always be a Catholic, because for me personally, the fullest expression of my union with the Divine would only come within the Catholic Church. She seemed to be willing to accept that.
We promised to try to get together again. I am sad that we finally did this so late in my time at he parish. It would have been nice to have these discussions for months and months.
Who knows, maybe we will for months and months from this point on. It could happen.