So this is mainly just a note to say once again that I do intend to post more reflections on my transition into Catholicism at some point. Right now, I should be focusing on final papers and exams for school and I intend to do so over the next couple of weeks. This summer I’m planning to go to Paris for a little under two months to work on my French. I may or may not post much while I’m there, but my hope is that I can spend some time recounting and reflecting both between exams and France and between France and the beginning of school next year.
Hopefully I’ll hit my stride in terms of presenting it as well. I think I envisioned such a broad potential audience for this blog that I balk at specific attempts to communicate ideas. The blog may morph into something else than it’s been over time. We’ll see.
For now, I’ll just present another emotional update in the form of a juxtaposition. As I said before, I’ve felt overwhelmed for quite some time now by the feeling of being small—of knowing little, both relatively and absolutely. And I’m loving it. Along with that realization of how much of a beginner I am, I am honestly enjoying day to day life as a Catholic.
Holy Week services in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on campus were absolutely beautiful. During the Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and especially Easter Vigil services I remember thinking, “This is who we are. ” The Church is literally born out of the life of Christ and the great drama of his life, death, and resurrection. And it’s all present, all enacted, and articulated in the liturgy. At Christ’s death water and blood came out of Jesus’ side so that just as Eve was formed out of Adam’s side, so Christ’s bride could be formed out of his side through the Sacraments. And indeed, three days later there we were, watching new Christians be baptized with water, sealed with the Holy Spirit, and then drinking the blood of Christ. Christ lives.
Liturgy was not actually one of the initial draws to Catholicism for me. I’ve read a couple evangelicals who’ve attributed any movement from evangelicalism to Catholicism to a vague desire for stained glass and incense, but I remember no particular fascination with it. I recognized a good in it, but felt largely indifferent towards it, largely because my liturgical experience was rather limited. There was power in the first mass I attended. It moved me to see people stand for the Gospel reading, and to make the sign of the cross over their heads, mouth, and hearts before the reading. It’s routine. It’s ritual, but it speaks eloquently and it spoke to me then. My love for the Mass has only grown and grown, and as the seasons unfold I appreciate everything. I appreciate that this week is all technically Easter day. I appreciate saying extra hallelujahs. I appreciate how the Scripture readings always seem to fit. I appreciate the changes in color. I appreciate the priests who prepare homilies for every day, and are sometimes asked to say Mass with only a few minutes notice. I appreciate the Eucharistic prayer, the prayer of thanksgiving. I appreciate church bells going off at midnight. I appreciate fasting and feasting. It all points to God. The Mass is in a particular way the Church’s prayer, and I’m blessed to be allowed to take part in it. Thank God.
So I feel alive.
And I want to talk about my faith, at a time where I feel so especially aware of the fact that I’m grasping for words to describe it, to conceptualize it. I once feared that I would become Catholic but perhaps only as one moves a piece on a chessboard: as the most logical option available to me. But now, as before, I have to strive to live up to the theologian’s calling of faith seeking understanding. Here I am, a graduate theology student at a premier Catholic university, and I would probably have to devote a fair bit of thought to what I would say if I were invited to teach a children’s Sunday School class. I should be articulate and ready with answers and quips for all the questions that I had to ask myself over the last two years. And I’m going to try. As I said, I’m going to try. May God enlighten my path.