Our Ninth Anniversary in the Catholic Church
Anniversaries are important to us because they help us to commemorate life-changing events. When an anniversary comes up, our minds and hearts go back to that day and we once again re-live the events of that occasion. Today marks the ninth anniversary of our return to the Catholic Church. On April 30th, 2004, Deborah and I returned to the church of our youth and "Crossed the Tiber."
We now tend to describe the times of our life as BC (before Catholic) and AR (After Reversion to the Catholic Church) since it has been such a momentous change. As I have said before, our life is a series of conversions, or at least it should be. Saint Paul tells us - "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." My first conversion experience was my infant baptism when the Holy Spirit came upon me and washed me clean of original sin. "Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, the person baptized is configured to Christ. Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ. No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation. Given once for all, Baptism cannot be repeated." (From the Catechism 1272) Unfortunately, I messed up pretty badly as a cradle Catholic at some point in my early adolescence giving into the temptations presented to me by the Age of Aquarius. Actually, up until 6th-7th grade, I prayed the rosary on occasion, went to mass weekly and confession every 6 months and would have considered myself loving God and my faith. That changed pretty quickly between 12 and 14 years of age. At 14 years of age, I experienced yet another conversion when I surrendered to Jesus, inviting him to be personal Lord and Savior and repenting of my sins. I then spent the next 31 years reading the bible almost daily, attending services 1-2 times per week and would have described myself as a fairly devout evangelical Christian. Then I saw The Passion of the Christ movie in 2004 and had yet another conversion which led to my reconciliation with the Church and convalidation (sacramentalization) of my marriage. This was probably the most life-changing conversion yet!
Returning to the Catholic Church as an adult has been a sea change, as they say, and after 9 years still find myself in awe of the God who created the world yet humbles himself to come to us in the appearances of bread and wine. I can walk down my street to Saint Joseph the Worker parish (about 4/10ths of a mile) any day of the week and allow this God to come into me and experience his life-changing grace. I hope and pray for however much time left that He grants me, I will continue to be open to an on-going conversion of my mind, heart and soul.
Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.
St. Augustine 5th Century.
If there is anyone out there in cyber land reading this and would like to learn more about the Catholic faith please feel free to comment or you can write me confidentially at: dobrodoc1 (at) Gee mail (dot) Com.
God bless you!