For those of you that didn’t already know, I tried to cut my finger off on Monday. I had already started working on this post. I had to stop because I couldn’t type. Sorry for the delay. Here it is.
I am not sure words can describe what the last 3 days have been like for me. I am not even sure that I should attempt to, lest I not capture the full glory of what I was allowed to experience.
There are so many memories crammed into these last few days though, I worry that if I do not put them down indelibly, that I could forget; or that they could possibly lose the power they have wrapped my heart in.
Maybe the best thing to do is share with you all, some of the things that I know I will never forget.
I will never forget veneration of the cross. During this time a simple wooden cross is held up in front of the sanctuary. People come up and kneel, or touch, or kiss the cross. A very simple gesture of faith and belief. That is, until I was asked to hold the cross. When I first heard Fr. Jim ask me to, I thought he could read my mind. I wanted nothing more than to throw my arms around that wooden cross and hold to it for dear life. Standing there, so close to people in their own rapt love of Christ and all He did, was almost as unfathomable as God’s mercy. At the end of the Mass, there was a solemn procession. Christ (the blessed sacrament) was removed from the tabernacle and taken to the Altar of Repose. Ours was in the Family centre. To see hundreds of people on their knees in worship, elicited the same feelings of mystery and mercy to me.
Joy coming from sorrow. As I sat and listened to the reading of Christ’s passion. To recognize his humanity and how humble he was. It was sorrowful. It had to come to pass. If there was no death, there would be no resurrection. Though every ounce of my finite human compassion would will it not to happen…it was inevitable. Christ willingly came to earth fully man and fully God. He experienced everything human kind can. He did it with no sin. He loved his mother, father, his disciples, and others. He experienced hunger, pain, and anger. In all things, including temptation, He remained sinless. After experiencing all of this, and after seeing humanity and its capacity for love, its depth of depravity…He willingly entered into his Passion. He allowed himself to be offered up as a perfect sacrifice, for all of mankind.
And then He died.
If there was ever a day I have longed for! From the moment of personal revelation that the Christ was really in the Eucharist, to every Mass I went to with my hand over my heart, for the waiting for 36 weeks, and all the longing to experience Christ fully…this was the day I truly prepared my entire life for. Memories of the last 9 months would file through my mind, along with remembering all the things that had brought me to this point.
Mass was LONG! The wait before Mass was LONG! I think there is enough symbology in this one celebration to ponder for a lifetime. As we entered into the church in complete darkness (except for the flame of candles), I did feel the weight of my own ignorance. Slowly we read through God’s plan of salvation for all of mankind.
As the story culminated to its conclusion, the church was fully illuminated. The tomb was empty, Christ was alive, and salvation was available to me, you, my family, your friends, and the whole world.
It seemed that the entire congregation, the priests, the angels and saints, and God himself, had turned their attention to the front four pews on the St. Mary Altar side, of St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church. It was such a blessing to see so many people baptized. It was amazing to see Fr. Jim do it with such joy and love. Fr. Larry’s gentleness and kindness touched my heart. Fr. Larry had many of the women with pretty hairdo’s. He was very gentle in his pouring. What Fr. Larry had in gentleness, Fr. Jim had zeal. After they were baptized and given their baptismal mantle, they were welcomed into the Church as its newest babies, with applause. Yes, applause.
Then, us candidates were up. In the moment it seemed to happen in slow motion, and looking back it seemed so fast. We made the profession of faith, and then one by one were sealed to the church. My confirmation name is Francis, as in Francis de Assisi. I may have picked the most common, but to me it is most special. With a love of animals and plants, child-like zeal for God, and a need to be more humble; I can not think of a better person to emulate. Needless to say, I have a lot of work to do.
As I sat in my seat, confessed and confirmed, it truly began to soak in.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world.
Lamb of God, grant us peace.
Christ was here! The Eucharist! The thing I had longed for the most was going to happen. Nobody was going to stand up and say, “Everyone except Roy.” Nobody would block my path. I was going to be able to experience Christ on a level I never had before. By eating his flesh, and drinking his blood I was going to receive an impartation of Grace that only Christ can give. I have many friends who simply do not understand why the Eucharist is such an important thing to us Catholics. Maybe in a later post I will haltingly and poorly try to explain The Eucharist. For now, we can leave it as the source and summit of the Catholic Faith. There was no lightning, no angels to be seen. There was however, reverence. Sacred reverence for Christ, King of the universe my Savior and redeemer;living more fully inside of me, than I had ever allowed before. Afterwards, I did begin to detect, and still do, a sense of peace and strength. I am sure there will be days when I don’t feel it. Hell, I’m sure there will be days that I am convinced that it is gone.
You see that is one reason why I have been writing this blog. I am human. I need reminders to guide my future. I am weak. I forget when I have had strength. When I sin, I need to be reminded that there is grace. This has always been to help me. I am blessed to have so many friends and fellow bloggers that read this. It is truly a blessing. I’m not really interested in being well-known or famous. Sometimes though, I look at the world map on my stats page and pray that somehow, something I have said has helped someone else in the world.
My name is Roy. I’m a Catholic. Those are words that I never considered in my first 36 years of living. I’m hoping that in the next 36 years, it will always rank as my #2 or maybe #3.
What would be my #1?
Jesus, I trust in you.
I can share with you one of the greatest gifts Catholicism has given me. (So far.) You can take it, use it, quote it, steal it and not give me credit. It is yours to do with as you will.
The greatest sin in life is not the deed done, or what we failed to do. The greatest sin is believing that whatever deed was done, or whatever we failed to do, is so big, that it cannot be overcome by the ocean of mercy, that is Christ Jesus.
Peace be with you.