Reflections from Easter Vigil: Part I

This quarter is quickly becoming the craziest one yet. Responsibilities are piling on, quickly overwhelming me. I so much want to sit in quiet and soak up my fresh, new sacraments. Spend more time in prayer. Catch a weekday Mass. But I have a million things on my list. I repeat to myself that God have given me enough time in each day to do what I need to do.

I've been reflecting as much as I can on the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. Having family visit us over the weekend added to the joy of everything. I've been thinking a lot about how I've converted, turned over. And Easter Vigil was a night of turning over a new leaf. So much healing happened here:

I read this reflection today in a little book I have of Pope Francis's writings, addresses, and homilies. How he talks about renewal really speaks to me.

"The grace contained in the sacraments of Easter is an enormous potential for the renewal of our personal existence, of family life, of social relations. However, everything passes through the human heart: if I let myself be touched by the grace of the Risen Christ, if I let him change me in that aspect of mine which is not good, which can hurt me and others, I allow the victory of Christ to be affirmed in my life."
-Regina Caeli address, April 1, 2013

It is a new life even though my days are cluttered with things drifting along from the past.


Nine Days!

I didn't have the opportunity yesterday to write a TEN DAYS! post. But it is exciting! I can count the number of days I have left as a pagan on two hands. I can't believe it is coming up so soon! I am so incredibly excited. Just nine days until I am Catholic!!

These past couple of weeks have been intense with research projects and preparation for the Sacraments of Initiation. I spend the little free time I have reading and praying with daily reflections from Pope Francis and two different Lenten books. I do wish I had more time to reflect, relax, and soak in all of the beauty and love around me.

I wanted to share an excerpt from The Little Black Book, a Lenten reflection book...

"What is Lent?

What best describes Lent?
1. ashes
2. baptism
3. fast and abstinence
4. the Passion of Our Lord
5. giving things up
Answer: Baptism.
Explanation: The origin of Lent is the final 'countdown' for those who are preparing to enter the Church through baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist. The basic baptismal decision sets it all in motion, and that is why Lent revolves around baptism.
But what about us Catholics who are already fully initiated into the Church?
Lent revolves around my baptism too. It is the final countdown as I prepare to renew my baptismal commitment at Easter. I fast, pray, and do good works right along with those preparing for baptism and full reception into the Church. I do it to support them, but also to prepare for the moment when I will put my hands into the baptismal water on Easter, and solemnly renew my basic commitment to walk in the footsteps of the Lord.
Through that ritual gesture I reach down deep inside myself and re-commit myself to be the Lord's disciple. This touches every part of my life. Everything. No footnotes, no asterisks, no fine print. One doesn't just stroll into church on Easter and do something that powerful. That gesture takes thought, prayer, preparation.
That's what Lent is for."

It's incredible to be a convert to Christianity, and to Roman Catholicism in particular, and to know the entire Lenten season is for, well, me and my fellow Elect. The three scrutiny rites the past few weeks have been for us. The Easter Vigil centers around our baptisms. So much ritual and tradition, so much richness for us converting. I feel incredibly blessed to be welcomed home with such open arms, a la the Prodigal Son.

When Sean and I get married in less than four months (!!!), we will promise to raise our children in the Church. Of course we will, but my heart does ache a bit for our children who will never experience all the preparation as adults for becoming Christians. They will not remember their baptisms. Of course, they will get to have many other incredible experiences. But they will not experience what I have unless they convert to another, non-Christian faith as rich as Roman Catholicism.

Which brings me to this article published this morning about a young Catholic who prays for the faith of a convert. It is quite touching. I am so blessed.