Friday, January 27, 2017

How I Became Catholic Part 7 of 7

I am struggling to wrap this up because I'm sure I've forgotten something that was important or that it will be misunderstood if I don't say it just right.  But I think knowing that I am going to try and let grace be present here and just go with it. It's been 10 years after all, and while some things are clearer now, others are not. A lot of my conversion story continues post the actual moment of becoming Catholic, as I think this is true for most people in their faith walks. God doesn't give up on you after you are claimed but keeps the refining process going if you'll let him. But this story isn't about that, though maybe I should write another series on the next ten years post conversion some other time. :)

So, let's back to the story. Just a few short weeks before Easter vigil, one of the other catechumens and I met with a woman who had recently gone through the conversion process. Because both of us were struggling with a lot of outside pressures against us and also were wondering about all the things we just didn't quite get yet. It was almost a reassurance thing, and it was really needed because to see someone that already did what you are about to do and survived and is thriving on top of that a few years down the road, it gives you hope. Especially when you realize how big this is what you are doing. Part of me wonders, if I would have waited another year, and came into full communion after I had gotten married,  if I would have had all the strife going into it. But maybe for me it needed to be so uncomfortable from the outside that I knew I had to do it from the inside.  That even though it wasn't easy to go against my family or origin's wishes, the tug to do it wasn't going to go away and maybe it would have just gotten that much worse if I did wait another year.

Easter vigil came. It was a day full of snow and it was terrible weather, but despite that people that were important to me came out to support me in this process. It was so very great to have my roommates there and some friends from graduate school and K and his family as well.  I was so thankful for their presence and support.  They were troopers in the weather. I loved that it was snowing, not because it made it difficult to get there but snow is my favorite thing. It washes away the yuck of the world and paints it new again. It just felt like a symbol of a new beginning with the fire in the barrel light on a snowy night. It was a special night and while Easter vigil is long, every bit meant something and it was good to finally feel at home in my faith at the end of the night.  The rest could wait.

And that's one thing I think about often, despite how hard it was to get there with a lot of searching, I finally feel at home in Catholicism and this feeling hasn't gone away.  There are so many instances where I'm in mass and I just smile for the love that is there that is present in Jesus that is present in his sacrifice and in those around me despite coming from so many different backgrounds and at so many different stages in life.  There is a oneness, which I didn't feel before and there are so many other things that just keep me growing more and more in my walk with Jesus.  I recall one thing said in RCIA that was emphasized in our learning about the faith. It was simply that everything that Catholicism holds is there as something to bring you closer to Jesus. Every bit of the mass, every bit of the sacraments, every bit of prayer and devotion should draw you to Jesus. Not every devotion within Catholicism is for every Catholic or for every time in your life,  but they exist as means to lead to to Jesus. For in the end our goal is to be in communion with Christ, something for which every Christian strives. The vastness is there in Catholicism but it only accounts for the fact that each person needs something just a little bit different to reach the finish line. I am no where near the finish line yet, but God continues to meet me everyday where I am at and particularly now as a Catholic.

Read Part 1 here.

Read Part 6 here.

1 comment: