So, I have not blogged since Easter Sunday. I’ve had a lot of time to reflect over the last ten years — I’ve been Catholic now for ten years. I’ve not been disappointed, or ever doubted my calling — the way in which I ran into the arms of the Roman Catholic Church. There is no other way to come in — when you already believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. At least I already believed enough in order to seek the rest of the story. This year my Easter Vigil was extra special — knowing the Elect and Candidates through my participation on the OCIA team this year. Ah.. Easter Vigil — I come for the smells — the bon fire, incense, and Chrism oil. I come for the baptismal water and a renewal of promises. I even come to hear a large portion of Bible read — from Creation to Resurrection. It makes it all so real for me again — something the Catholic Church does well — making things real again. I feel that my spiritual life was rescued the day I sat in my first Inquiry session and said, “I want to be Catholic.” I was very hungry — starving — raised in a tradition that lacked vital nutrients. Every day I fall more in love with heaven — my heaven has more people in it now that I can talk too. <grin> Where ever I’m at, I can pause, close my eyes, I can literally taste the heavenly meal — the Eucharist.
In the last ten years, I attended World Youth Day in Toronto, made two pilgrimmages to Italy and one to the Holy Land. I made two trips to Assisi. I completed a year of Pastoral Ministry Formation and then went on to finish my bachelor’s degree in Management. I became a professed Secular Franciscan — that to which I was asked if I was moving too quickly, to be so new in the Catholic Church and then into a religious order. To that I can only say, “You are saying I cannot live the Gospel life?” I do understand the questioning — it is a serious life long commitment — a religious profession. Being a Franciscan is not simply about the Gospel — it is about being in relationship with a community of people — Franciscan family. Every one who aspires to St. Francis’ spirituality is not meant to spend several years becoming a professed Franciscan. My whole Christian experience from age 9 forward has been about discovering what Jesus has said in His Gospel. In my own Southern Baptist experience, I learned nothing of Saints. Having been brought into the Catholic Church in a Franciscan parish, I was bound to learn about Saint Francis of Assisi. He was the exclamation point for all that I’d read and studied — the Gospel lived according to Jesus — indeed. Sometimes, you have to join the family to continue in conversion. I saw that in him — a model of continuing conversion. The Christian life is a narrow road. What does Jesus mean when He says, “Follow me?” It is a different calling to each of us — you must listen and He will speak.
I feel I should say something profound about my future expectations. I’m looking forward to the Archdiocese of Atlanta Eucharistic Congress in June. I’m excited to see Greg and Jennifer Willits will be official speakers. There is something else I’m looking forward to as well — as God so wills it — but — I’ll save that for much later.