Monday, April 03, 2006

A Child of the Church

I feel ten again.

Fr. Jack says that he would like me to go through the HOSEA class (Hope Of Seeing Everyone Again - Protestants don't have a corner on goofy acronyms) before my confirmation. So here I am, a 35-year-old man with four children taking communion as a child of the Church.

"Have you been baptized?"'

"Yes, I was baptized as a Catholic."

"Have you received the sacrament of Reconciliation?"

"Yes."

I stand with the others in my pew and make my way toward the altar, with a silly grin on my face. Self-conscious, I know that my wife is watching me as I stand in my second line of the weekend. The first line in which I stood, I waited patiently to tell a man things about myself that I hoped no one would ever know. My sins urged me to turn and run out the door. But I didn't. So now I stand in this line to receive Christ, to participate in his life.

I try to look Catholic. The body of Christ. Amen. I receive the Body, and I cross myself. The blood of Christ. (I forget the second Amen, though I mean it.) I receive the Blood, and I cross myself. I walk back to my family. And in the nervousness of the moment, of trying to do it right, I have forgotten what I am doing, I have forgotten Whom I have received. And as I remember, joy pours into my desperate heart. I am both needy and filled, like a newborn at her mother's breast.

"Do you believe the Eucharist is the real body and blood of Christ?"

I pause for a minute, smile, and say, "I do."

Celebration, clarity, and peace - I wish the feeling would last, but I know that it will not. There is pain outside those doors. Messes and noise and brokenness await me. But I am washed, graced, and Christed. I am a child of the Church. And at ten, the world is full of wonder.

19 comments:

Michael Barber said...

Welcome to the family - welcome home.

May God continue to bless you...

Dan said...

Hi Scott,

It's good seeing that you're where God wants you right now. The last I read in your blog was that you were thinking about joining Catholicism. Sounds like you've made the decision already--have you blogged about the moment of decision? Did I just miss it? As a member of a family now firmly ensconced in the Catholic church, I have close contact with former protestants who've found a home in the church, and have been privy to their decision process. It's been fascinating for me to watch them, and I'm curious when and how you made the decision. What was the pivot point that caused you to say this is the right place for me? I know in my family's case, they made the right decision, and they're all ecstatic in their new church home. I trust the joy they feel will be yours as well. I'm very happy for you!

I'm curious about something though. (Perhaps this is too nosy, and maybe best done through email). Are you joining the Catholic church solely, or is your family joining you too?

Jamie Dawn said...

Messes await us all, Catholic or not.
I'm so glad you have found peace and a new beginning.

Alexa said...

(((Scott))))

Owen of 4 blogs said...

Welcome Home!! and continued prayers for your family; it's possible, I know. God recently did that miracle for me.

David B. said...

Welcome to the Catholic Church Scott. My friend Jason read your blog a month or so ago, and told me "this guy is doomed," meaning from reading your blog he could tell you were on your way to becoming Catholic :). Of course, Jason will be Catholic soon, so being doomed in this way is a good thing! God bless you Scott!

Scott said...

Michael, thank you. Your encouragement has been a blessing.

Jamie, so true and thank you.

(((Alexa))) : )

Owen, thank you for your prayers. We have a baptismal class in May to find out more information about the kids being baptized, but both my wife and I are looking forward to it. I'll talk more about this in my response to Dan, an old friend, below.

David B., thank you. I read Jason's response when he posted a snippet of my "Riches of Emmanuel" post on Per Christum. He was right.


Dan, I don't believe I blogged about my moment of decision. My moment of decision happened as soon as I first considered Catholicism. From that point, I was merely trying to discern the way into it. I felt compelled, almost, at the outset. So once I began my exploration and discovered that I had so very many misconceptions about Catholicism, it was a done deal. There were, of course, a couple of issues I had to struggle through: (1) The Real Presence in the Eucharist and (2) sin, grace, and justification. But as soon as those issues were straight in my mind, I couldn't wait to be Catholic.

My family will be joining the Church as well, though it will be a lengthier process for my wife as she was not raised Catholic. Our children, we hope, will be baptized sometime in May or early June. Sophie and Anna will then start being catechized in the fall. Sophie, then, after some catechism will be old enough to go through First Communion, but I'm not sure when that will happen since she's just joining and hasn't had the opportunity to be taught about it. Laura will begin RCIA and, Lord willing, be received into the Church Easter 2007. I think this will be a good time for her to learn more about the Church and have time to examine the issues and struggle through many of her issues with the Church at her own pace and without feeling rushed or forced into it.

I hope that answers your questions. If not, or if you have other questions, let me know. I'll be writing more about it as the weeks progress.

alison said...

When you first e-mailed me last year to tell me you were blogging and I went to your blog I had a visceral reaction to your title. I was feeling so profoundly swept over by the love and grace of Christ.

As I read and began to understand the experience of being swept over you were talking about was of loss and pain - though I know there was always joy in the midst.

Each perspective of being swept over is a good place to be: either a time of sweet joy or an opportunity to know that His "strength is made perfect in (our) weakness"

I am celebrating with you in your "clarity and peace".

ScottB said...

It's not the path for me, but I'm happy for you. It's good to find home.

Blessings, my friend - perhaps home will happen to me too eventually (but if it does, I suspect it will be in the direction of the anabaptists - hey, I can hang with Hauerwas, right? ;)

Scott said...

Thank you, Alison. I am coming to realize that being Swept Over, whether by God's presence or by his silence, is exactly where I want to be. Even in his silence, or his seeming non-activity in my life (such as career, finances, or other practical matters), there is an awareness of his presence. That makes no sense, I suppose, feeling his presence when you cannot feel his presence - but it's a reality. And perhaps it's an understanding of his past faithfulness that allows you to feel such a thing, an ability to cast yourself onto him in spite of all your senses telling you no one is there.

Berkhimer, thank you. Hauerwas would be lucky to have you. I appreciate your support and wisdom and friendship this past year. You continue to make me view my faith in new ways. And some day, I'm going to make it up to Philly, smoke a pipe with you, cough a lot, and whoop your rusty butt in Halo. Hehe.

ScottB said...

Bring it.

:D

Scott said...

Hey, maybe even *whup. (This is why I edit.)

Birdie said...

Nothing but love and wonder comes from following your heart, from following the path the Divine sets before you. I wish you much love, much peace. I love your telling of this story, the gentleness and excitement you feel shines through, makes my own heart smile for your riches.

Peace,
Birdie

Anna said...

Man, I get busy for a couple of weeks and come back and I'm all confused - Are you converting to Catholocism?
Whassup?

Scott said...

Thank you, Birdie.

Anna, in short, yes. Kinda funny, huh?

Anna said...

Cool! Are you doing the RCIA classes? Will you be confirmed at Easter Vigil Mass?

Scott said...

Anna, I visited the RCIA class this week - they walked through and explained the Mass. But since I am simply reverting into the Church, I will be taking the HOSEA class (familiar with it?) for six weeks instead. Then I will be confirmed after that - sometime in June or July, I hope. I went to Reconciliation and received the Eucharist last weekend, which was wonderful. Laura will do RCIA in the fall.

Anna said...

Wow! That is really cool! I'm happy for you and your whole family! I hope you find what you're looking for at your new church :)

lord_sebastian_flyte said...

Congratulations. Though it's been hard, I have never since doubted my choice to convert two years ago. Welcome to the Church of Peter, Augustine, Aquinas, and John Paul II.