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A Joy Like No Other and a Chance for Renewal

March 29, 2013

This year at the Easter Vigil I will have a completely new experience.  I will become a Godfather.  I’m sponsoring a catechumen who will enter into the Church.  I can’t explain the honor and joy that I feel in anticipation of this moment.

For the past year and a half I’ve watched a close friend make one of the most difficult decisions of her life: to become the lone Catholic in her family.  It is a decision that I can only hope that I would be strong enough to make.  It was just around a year and a half ago that we were sitting in a bar together and she told me that she was wanting to join a church and was interested in Catholicism.  We had a brief conversation, then another one.  Eventually I gave her a prayer book and a rosary, and told her to listen to Catholic Answers Live on the radio to see what she thought.  Over time I watched as she grew in her faith.  I remember when she first told me that a priest would be starting her private instruction, the conversations that we would have over theology, I watched her engage in Facebook battles with friends, but what struck me the most was the stories of how her family was struggling with acceptance of her new faith.

Her siblings and parents all reacted differently, and from her descriptions none were too positive.  I could tell that her conversion caused pain as she lost friends and continued to squabble with her siblings, but above it all there was joy.  Watching these events unfold got me wondering: would I have the strength to undergo all of these tribulations for a completely new found faith?

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I’ve already shared parts of my own journey to a deeper appreciation of the faith, but it is a completely different story.  I was already Catholic.  I had a base understanding of the faith.  I was brought up going to Catholic school, and attending mass faithfully every week.  So even if I had reached a place in my life where I didn’t completely appreciate the Catholic faith, at least I knew what the faith was and I knew the history of how people had fought and died for it.  She on the other hand had no background in the Catholic Church.  She was going through pain and loss for a faith that is completely new to her.  All throughout what should have been a painful experience she was bursting with joy.

I’ve decided to turn these events into a chance for my own spiritual renewal.  As she grew spiritually I saw her start reading books and discovering devotions that I had never considered.  It is because of her that I’ve taken to reading classics like Dark Night of the Soul or The Interior Castel.  It is because of her that I’ve started praying the psalms with the Liturgy of the Hours, It is because of her and her faith in the face of adversity that I am a better Catholic.  Her faith has renewed me.  It gave me a completely new perspective.  In attempting to look at the Church through her eyes I’ve begun to see the Church with a completely new lenses of joy.  Joy for the faith.  Joy in completing God’s will.  Joy.

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Lent is a time of spiritual renewal.  We don’t just give up things for the sake of penance; we do so to grow closer to God.  As Catholics we are very good at focusing on the cross.  We are very good at stating at the crucifix and thinking of the suffering Savior.  This lent I’ve had an amazing renewal because I’ve been reminded that there is more than just Good Friday.  The cross is important.  Without Christ’s death on the cross we would have no salvation, but it didn’t end on Good Friday.  Good Friday is pointless without the Easter that follows.  Sometimes I think we need this reminder.  I wish everyone was as lucky as I was this lent to experience Catholicism through a completely new lens.

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From → Everyday Faith

One Comment
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