Thursday, November 18, 2010

Birthday Grace

photo credit: DING52

I feel as if my life is about to change. This could be presumptious of me. It could be a lofty or flighty dream. I could be putting too much emphasis on it. But.. I don't think so.

Sunday, November 21st I will be received into the Catholic Church.

This has been a long journey for me. It started 6 years ago (give or take) at first with a seemingly passing comment made by my daughters friends mother (don't get lost here!) Then with the passing of Pope John Paul II.

Being the analytical person that I am, I began to pick up various books on the Catholic faith. I bought Idiots Guides and Catholicism for Dummies to start. I visited websites, read blogs and watched EWTN. I was curious and learning what I could decipher.

It probably took a year for me to attend my first Mass. I had to understand the concept of each part of the Mass and what to expect before I could get myself to attend. I guess I didn't want to stand out like a sore thumb!

Fast forward 4 or 5 years to my 3rd time in RCIA classes and I was ready. I was ready to commit. I was ready to accept and understand. I was ready to take the big leap!

I wanted to become a true member of the Catholic Church!

photo credit: The Wandering Angel

Here comes the descent... I was guided to the annulment process because I was married and divorced by the time I was 21. I am happily married now but it was not my first marriage. So, the annulment journey began.

At Easter the process was still dragging along, my ex-husband was not cooperating and Easter was here.

My son and all of the members of my RCIA class were being received into the church. I was crushed. I did not even want to attend! I felt silly and ridiculous. I was so proud of my son but watching my class members take their first Holy Communion was very hard for me.

I descended even further. I began to question God. I couldn't understand why this was happening "to me!" Why should it be held against me that I did something before I came to the church. Why couldn't I just be forgiven and move on? Why could some people who didn't even seem to "get it" be able to join while I watched? Did they even realize how BIG this was?

Yes.. it got ugly.
I lost faith.
I acted like a spoiled child.

I started looking for other churches because I was so afraid that it was never going to happen. Eventually I stopped going to church at all.

I watched myself slip further and further into depression.
I slipped into sin over and over again.
I became apathetic

and then one day a letter arrived in the mail from the Tribunal.

photo credit: PinkMoose

It was a simple envelope and it was stamped with big red letters CONFIDENTIAL

I carried it around with me for part of the day.
I was afraid to open it. 

It could be a NO
Then what? I would feel shunned. I would feel unworthy. I would feel like there were things that couldn't be forgiven.

It could be a YES
Then what? I haven't been going to Mass. I haven't been staying in touch with my sponsor. I haven't been making sure my son was at Mass or CCD classes. I haven't had faith. I had been faithless! I had been angry. I had been a spoiled brat throwing a fit!

It was a YES! After some long conversations with my sponsor and dealing with the guilt I felt over my behavior.

I will be going to confession tomorrow and I will be received into the church on Sunday!

I cannot tell you how elated I am. I had knelt in the pews so many times in tears because I wanted to be a part of this community. I wanted to receive Christ and I couldn't.

I realize there are other ways to commune with the Lord and I continue to do so. I am in no way saying that I dealt with this in the right way. I am not saying I had the right thinking. But, this is my story and the next chapter is about to begin!!!


Karen Louise said...

Hi Jules -

You give me hope! I am so happy for you!

I am an "ex-pat" Anglican wanting to convert but it is my husband that was previously married.

I have been attending Mass at our parish church now for just over a year.

Prior to that I attended a pre-RCIA course suggested by our parish priest with the Paulist Fathers. The Annulment process was initiated last February and now have now two years (from October) to wait on the final answer (sigh!).

I was advised not to join RCIA until the annulment is approved so I wait - sometimes not patiently but wait all the same. I have joined the choir this fall and now am a member of our parish (all good to do by our priest) so this now keeps me positively focused during this long sad/depressing two year wait.


Thou Art Jules said...

Oh Karen! My heart goes out to you! I admire you for sticking with it and participating in your local parish activities! I was so afraid to do that! Oh how I wish I had.

I tell my RCIA director often that perhaps this long wait was necessary for me to truly appreciate the end result.

Lets keep in touch!

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