RCIA: How Sacred Tradition spoke to me

English: Dormition of the Theotokos (Uspenie B...

The RCIA classes that I have been attending have been so very enlightening. I can’t even begin to tell you the sharing and the vulnerability that each person in that room puts on the table each week. Some people are angry, others lost, and still others with a void that they are finally realizing no earthly thing can fill. Some of us cry, others laugh and we always, always pray and encourage one another. I find that I am always smiling as we go to each person when we share. I want to convey with my smile and my face that I see Jesus in them. I see Jesus in their struggle to speak, I see Jesus in their confusion, in their anger and even in their peace. I want them to know that I recognize it so they, too come to trust that He is all they ever need.

Next week, I am to speak on Sacred Tradition. I’ve already created the lesson. Personally, I think it’s not going to be as fun or visual as the other presentations I’ve had the pleasure of listening to, but that’s because, again, I am more of a feeling, witnessing kind of person. I feel God. I don’t “think” God. I guess that may be difficult for some to understand, especially some of my Lay Dominican friends. Yes, I study, yes I understand, but to convey the love in words, to me, is like asking me to not eat ice cream for a week. Ain’t happening. Well, maybe it will, but boy is it ever hard.

I thought I would share my ideas and thoughts for the witness portion of the evening which I am also doing that evening – thank God for that saving graze or it would be Zzzzzz all night! I am also responsible for the opening prayer and the scripture reflection which I will share here too. But as a start, according to Father Paul A. Duffner, O.P.:

God’s revelation is found in Sacred Tradition, understood as God’s revealed word handed down by the living teaching authority established by Christ in the Church. That includes both written tradition (Scripture) and unwritten tradition received from Christ and handed down orally by the apostles and their successors. The Church founded by Christ on Peter, and only that Church, has been empowered by Christ to interpret His teaching authoritatively in His name.

The Rosary Light & Life – Vol 47, No 4, Jul-Aug 1994 taken from The Rosary-Center

When I decided to say Yes to God, I was living in an apartment with my husband and two boys. We moved to Pennsylvania after being die hard New Yawkers from birth.  I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t have any family near me and my husband was traveling all of the time either to NYC or domestically (sometimes internationally for work) and always for long days or stretches at a time. For a while I was alone more than I was with my husband and that made me very sad. During the course of 7 months, I saw him for maybe 2 cumulatively. Imagine that? I didn’t even know how to get to the grocery store and my safety blanket, my only friend was not with me. I took Lexicon to school and was supposed to meet up with him later that morning to see him in a choir concert. I woke up that morning needing to read the bible like I needed coffee. It just had to happen. I had to make the purchase of my very first bible at 33 years old happen. How could I do it? He would see the statement if I purchased it from a religious store, so I made my way to Barnes and Noble with Little Monk in the back seat to get a bible. I reserved it online so I didn’t have to spend time looking for it. The bible was behind the counter waiting for me. The woman who checked me out had a tattoo of a dove with an olive branch in its mouth on her wrist. Now, you know, I took that as a sign. Smiling with Little Monk’s hand in mine and my God affirmed bible in the other, I made my way to the concert.

Every day after that day, I woke up just after my husband left in the morning, prayed for his safe return, made coffee and read. I started at Genesis. I read and read until I had to get Lexicon up for school. I highlighted, reflected, took notes, cross referenced scripture with personal anecdotes of memories I hadn’t dug up in years. I then decided that I should have a reading plan to get through the gist of the bible in 90 days. I couldn’t give up on God now, so I continued reading from where I’d left off the day before AND began the bible plan. I could not get enough. I remember pulling out my bible in the middle of the day even when Little Monk wanted to spend some time outside. I would sit on my balcony and read and he would be playing at my feet.

But…

something was missing. You see, at this time, I didn’t know where I was being called to, only that I was being called. Only that He wanted me and I wanted Him back. I’d only been to a Catholic mass a couple of times with my grandmother and maybe when I sang for midnight mass once in college. I thought maybe I wasn’t called to be Catholic, maybe I was called somewhere else. I did some research and looked into Wesleyan churches, and other Protestant churches like Church of Christ (because it was right on the corner of my house). It was during this time that I was introduced to Little Monk’s Catholic early childhood program and upon entry to the school there was something about that

English: Basilica di San Marco, Venice
English: Basilica di San Marco, Venice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

settled me. Something about it that responded to my initial Yes. In a flood of memories I remembered the Eucharist and how privileged I felt everyone must feel as they received that small looking circle of bread (I was little remember?). I remembered the pads of my grandmother’s fingers clutching her rosary. Then I remembered when I was in college at an exchange program in Italy, how while I was there performing an opera, I felt compelled to visit every Catholic Church there was – and there were a lot. It’s as common as Startbuck’s coffee shops are here; one on every corner. Doesn’t that say something? I remember going to St. Mark’s Basilica and purchasing (with the little money I had and it was like 10 dollars, believe me!) on a red rosary. I didn’t know how to pray it, but I knew I needed it.

All of these traditions, all of the handing down of our Lord that was so lovingly done by my grandmother, the Saints, Our Lady, past Pope’s and Church Fathers. I knew that the Catholic Church was the only place I could ever really call home.

Scripture verses for this evening are:

I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you (1 Cor. 11:2)

So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15)

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us (2 Thess. 3:6)

Prayer for this evening is:

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful.
And kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.
And you will renew the face of the earth.

Lord,
by the light of the Holy Spirit
you have taught the hearts of your faithful.
In the same Spirit
help us to relish what is right
and always rejoice in your consolation.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I hope they hear me when I speak to them. Pray that it goes well and they hear just what God needs them to, that I speak just what God needs me to and we all meet in heaven and rejoice.

+xo

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