Last night was #RCIA night for me. The topic was What is the Church? We were to watch Fr. Robert Barron’s Catholicism DVD on the topic, but Deacon TC didn’t have it with him, so we “winged it”. A quick prayer to the Holy Spirit and we were off.
Deacon TC gave an on the fly talk and that was all well and good. He’s always very engaging and charismatic. He gets VERY excited about the faith and that is evident when he starts moving around and using his hands to talk like the good, Italian, old school man that he is. He asked the pilgrims who were there what questions they had. These would be answered in the second half of the night. I kept him on track because if you let Deacon TC go when he’s on fire? FUGETABOUTIT! During the break, our youngest (maybe 14 coming with her parents) asked if she could read what she wrote for the assigned work for the previous week – to look up a scripture verse and write about what it means to you. He assured her that she could read what she’d written. Knowing that others would want to share their work, I suggested that they email their writing to the team and they could receive a response from a team member personally on their impression. Deacon TC thought it was a good idea.
The break was over, and all returned to their seats. Deacon TC talked a little more and then I began to fan the pages wilting from gripping them so tightly in my hands. I was excited to hear what burning questions they had. So we begin…here are some of their questions:
- I have been married ___ years. Does God recognize it?
- How do I know if I am on “the right track”?
- If someone believes in God and Jesus but doesn’t go to Church, will God forgive them?
- Will God forgive the mistakes I’ve made in the past?
- I have a soft spot for pets, will I see them in heaven?
- What is my next step?
- How do I pray the rosary? What does that mean?
- I don’t think I’m getting it. How can I be more open to receiving God?
Do you see the common thread in these questions? I do. Fear. Anxiety. The unknown. How can they know it’s God? Is He there? Is that pang of fear and anxiousness, the worry of the unknown, is that God? Is the pang they feel God whispering, or Satan pulling? I think it can be either, depending on where you are in your faith no? For me, whenever I think, “I want to skip morning prayer and sleep in”, “Is anyone even praying for me?” I can’t even tell you how swiftly I hear – ARE YOU INSANE! Get to praying! Who cares if no one you “see” is praying for you, the saints are, God is, your Guardian Angel is. That’s God. I think you “get” on the right track and you “open yourself up” by just going back to the focus of God’s love; going back to the first thing I say when I am awake “Lord, come to my lips and my mouth will proclaim your praise”. Let’s make it even easier. Be thankful. Some could say, what am I thankful for? Start with what you are looking at. Right now, I am looking at this screen. “Thank you Lord for giving me the gift of my hands to type, a country in which I can write what I feel, the grace to think about you and love you so much that I want to write about you. Thank you for giving me this very next breath I take. Thank you.” I think, the more you thank, the more grateful you become and the easier it is to see God in all things. I didn’t say it last night. I regret that. We were tight on time and I wanted all of the questions to be heard. I wanted them to feel like they had a voice on this journey; that even though the questions remained anonymous, God heard them and they were not anonymous to Him.
I wanted to break of the Word and read Matthew 6:25-28:
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?
I wanted to say, pray the Liturgy of the Hours. Pray the Morning Prayer and the Night Prayer even. I wanted to say that it is in the seeking of God that you will find him. That he will find you before you find him (as Deacon TC mentioned).
Or read Psalm 24 5:6 to them:
They will receive blessing from the Lord,
and vindication from the God of their salvation.
Such is the company of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob
As always, there was SO much more that I wanted to include here, but the most important is this: Pray for them. Pray for these pilgrims, these Brothers and Sisters who so desperately want forgiveness, acceptance, love, fellowship and God. Pray that they are gentle on themselves in this process of heart conversion and remain open to see Him, because He is there waiting to welcome them home. This is my prayer always for everyone, every night; for them, for people I know, for those that I don’t and especially, for you.