RCIA started Monday night. I would like to share with you what I learn from others on this journey. I pray that when these 10 months are up, I will have learned from these pilgrims as much as they will have (hopefully) learned from me.
In the course of an evening, I met with pilgrims from different walks of life. Men, women, sisters, mothers, fathers, daughters, husbands and friends. The new team members (i.e. me and another woman) were to sit next to Deacon TC, while the more seasoned team members were woven in with the candidates and interested Catholics. We began as we in the Catholic Church always do, with prayer. I love praying with others in a room, I love to feel at one with many. Don’t you? In the first hour, Deacon TC gave an overview of the history of Jesus from the Old Testament to the New – with lots of anecdotal references peppered with humor. Maybe that’s why I love him so much. He infuses humor and wit when he speaks.
After the hour was over, we had a 15 minute break to chat and eat together. The spread was unbelievable. I wish I had taken pictures as the hospitality team really outdid themselves with all of the wine, cheese and fruit they made available. I, who wouldn’t eat blue cheese, almost walked away with the wedge! Caramel blue torte. Delicious.
I spoke with a woman and her daughter who actually felt called to come because of the talk I gave just the day before. Considering I was actually scheduled to speak the week prior, we all felt that God meant for me to speak when I did just for her to hear the message. As always, I am humbled when I can look at the blueprint of the Master Architect of my life and His loving hand in all plans. I also met a husband whose wife had been asking him to go through the RCIA program for 13 years. In speaking with him, I couldn’t believe that his son was who I had been praying for from the prayer of the faithful at mass. I hugged him. I noticed that in the past month, his son’s name was no longer being spoken and it is because he is better. Thanks be to God. I did feel like I had just met celebrity when he told me his name. I think he thought it was funny and it was. Another man, Catholic, was there to deepen his faith. I know him well and didn’t think I would see him at RCIA. In my mind, I didn’t think his faith needed catechesis. I love being proven wrong here. I think it’s beautiful that he humbled himself to say out loud that he needed. When and how often does that happen? Men are strong, leaders of their families, relied upon – but this one was strong enough to say that yes, he needed God too.
There were many tears mingled with sharing in the second hour as we talked about our expectations and fears. I was first up. Of course. What did I say? As always, something that is probably too honest and should have been reigned in a little. But, there it was. My expectation was that I would hopefully meet all of their expectations. I mentioned to them that I had been praying for them long before I met them and in fact, as soon as I was put on the team. Rosaries for them every day. My fear was that they would realize that I had no idea what I was talking about. They all laughed and so did I, but more because it was a very vulnerable thing for me to say. Here’s why. My faith, much like my gift of singing or the love I have for my husband and children, is something that is difficult for me to explain in words. I can’t quote scripture, I don’t know every part of the Bible and can honestly say that for the many times I’ve tried, I’ve never read it cover to cover. I can’t recount when I actually took that leap of faith. For me, the question of whether it is fair for a woman to be priest, was never a question. I’m sorry. For me, the tradition, the way things are, should always be and I never, ever question it. My husband runs the house. That’s how it is. That’s why in my marriage vows, I made sure that the readings were from Ephesians 5:21-33.
The Christian Household
21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.
24 As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
27 that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,
that she might be holy and without blemish.
28 Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
29 For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church,
30 because we are members of his body.
31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
32 This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the church;
33 however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
My husband even quotes it to me. He says jokingly that I should obey him, and I should…but, he has to love me.
When God says walk out the door, I do, no questions asked. I’ve always been this way. Maybe that makes me naive to some. But I find freedom in knowing that I don’t have to know the ins and outs. I don’t have to know every detail. I don’t have to know every prayer, novena and devotional there is. I know that when the lights go off in my bedroom, God is there. When I feel the urge to hug my husband, God is there. When I think to kiss my children as they dream, God is there. When I don’t know what to do, God is there. I know that like I know that I have brown eyes. It, for me, is fact and that sometimes is difficult to explain as deeply as I feel it in my soul. As I try to stumble with the words, some may feel that I don’t really know what I am talking about.
I should have probably told the new RCIA pilgrims that my fear is that they’ll figure out I have no idea what I am talking about, but my expectation is that they will now how I feel about God.
I learned so much that night. So much more that I wanted to share with you here. This is just a small portion of my reflections that night. I will share more in the coming weeks. In the meantime, pray for them. Pray with me for them all.