No, not John the Revelator, or John the Baptist. John Cox, is the Director of Faith Formation and leads RCIA at St. Maria Goretti’s. I decided to do this as quickly as possible after our first RCIA meeting due to fear. Some of my oldest personal demons came to haunt me after that first meeting. I need to talk to my RCIA sponsor some too. I would rather it be face to face, than over the phone. I have realized that in order to move forward, I must be more transparent with other people than I have ever been willing to in the past. It doesn’t mean I need to publicly air ALL of my dirty laundry. I do need however, to be honest with the leaders entrusted with caring and ministering to me during formation. This is probably as good a place as any to say I won’t be baring my ENTIRE soul on this blog. I mean, I have to save something for confession, right?
Back to the regular story…
I met with John. He is a nice guy. Most of all, I felt safe. I wasn’t trying to confess. It was very important to me, however, to give him a little of my back story. That I had been down the road of conversion to Christianity, that in the midst of that I had attempted suicide, that I spent a decade of my life being spiritual and not religious, were a few of things I wanted him to be aware of. He did something I have rarely experienced in my life. He met me where I was. No guilt, no shame, no chastisement was handed down. He compassionately shared with me how he could help, what other resources were available to me, and was all in all very kind. He shared with me some of what St. Augustine had to say, and used a few metaphors that resonated with me. In the past I have generally balked at the idea of God’s love being like the love of a parent. That’s probably because I spent so many years pissed off at them. I also listened very closely when he described love as being an act of will. Something about that statement struck at the walls I have surrounded myself with. He helped me realize that I had experienced a great blessing. In a previous post, I shared my experience with observing the Eucharist. I spoke about watching the Eucharist (and the people for that matter) come alive during the transubstantiation. I also shared about the feelings of longing and separation as I watched people receive communion. John helped me reframe this into something else…Passion. I had never really thought of it that way.
John also introduced me to Sacred Adoration. It is a place to pray in the presence of Christ. After our conversation he took me to the Adoration Room to sit with Jesus for a while. A really short explanation for my non-Catholic friends. Catholics believe that during the Eucharist (communion), that the bread and the wine become the actual body and blood of Christ. This is called transubstantiation. It is one of the Mysteries of the Church. In Sacred Adoration, the Host (bread/ communion wafer) IS Christ. It is an opportunity to be in the Real Presence of Christ. And it is beautiful. Of course, I had 17 ninja monkeys come out in my head to play all at once. Bastards get on my last nerve. I can sit and home and vegetate. Nothing will happen. I decide to pray and BAM!, CHOP! POW! There they are. Thank goodness the others could not hear my head. It sure was noisy. So I sat, and prayed as best I could. I decided for my first visit to stay for 20 minutes. Towards the end I was pretty fidgety. Then it happened…the church bells started at just before 11 am. Have you ever prayed for a sign? Not sure if you were making the right decision? Here was my answer to that prayer:
1. Just as I am, without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me, and that thou bidst me come to thee, O Lamb of God, I come, I come. 2. Just as I am, and waiting not to rid my soul of one dark blot, to thee whose blood can cleanse each spot, O Lamb of God, I come, I come. 3. Just as I am, though tossed about with many a conflict, many a doubt, fightings and fears within, without, O Lamb of God, I come, I come. 4. Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind; sight, riches, healing of the mind, yea, all I need in thee to find, O Lamb of God, I come, I come. 5. Just as I am, thou wilt receive, wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve; because thy promise I believe, O Lamb of God, I come, I come. 6. Just as I am, thy love unknown hath broken every barrier down; now, to be thine, yea thine alone, O Lamb of God, I come, I come. I think that pretty much sums it up.