Finding Joy #3
Before I return to my conversion journey today, I promise this blog will get to many various topics with the centerpiece being vocations ministry. The one I never would have chosen on my own but we all know what happens when we plan things… God has other plans…
As I left off in my first post, I hadn’t quite made a decision on converting. I believe my heart had but my head was on the edge. At this time my son was about to leave for seminary. It was hard because I knew I was now sort of on my own on my journey. Could I continue going to Mass almost every day without my son to guide me? After all, I wasn’t Catholic, didn’t know many people yet and was so worried about doing the wrong things during Mass. All of these thoughts were going through my mind as I sat outside while my husband and son were inside getting his dorm assignment at seminary. And then I met a young man, a seminarian named Tim Sahd, who with my son and the Holy Spirit, led me on a path to The Truth in the Catholic Church.
Tim asked me to sit down with him while I waited. Our chatting came around to faith and I mentioned that I was not Catholic. He immediately asked me “Why not?”. His bold question was brilliant. It caught my attention and really made me think. He then proceeded to list the normal objections folks have, and I told him no to all of them. He told me I was pretty much already Catholic but I had a “hurdle” to get over. I needed to “just make a leap of faith!”. Tim is now Fr. Tim Sahd, and I am pretty sure any parish that he serves in is truly blessed.
Later when we had said our goodbyes to Damon and as we drove through the gates of seminary, I texted Damon to tell him I was signing up for RCIA that week! He was thrilled and so was I for I finally made that leap!
As I made my way through a giant amount of information about Catholicism that year both in RCIA and on my own, I learned something about me. I had begun to find joy I never knew. And then…
The following spring, four days before confirmation, I found out my husband's annulment was not going to be approved in time. This is a requirement of the Church before anyone can be confirmed. An annulment must show that our marriage is valid. I was soooo disappointed!!! This was indeed a learning opportunity from God. And boy did I have to dig deep to learn from that one.
After a few days of being angry at God and shedding many tears. I began to see there had to be a reason in God’s plan for me. My biggest problem with it though was how badly I was aching to be able to receive the Eucharist. I was already in love with the Mass, every bit of it. To this day I get goosebumps and frequently cry when the Gloria is sung. I love watching the priest consecrating the host and later reverently purifying the vessels. But I needed the Eucharist. As a sinner, I truly needed the Eucharist. Time seemed to drag by until a year later the annulment came through! In this time we had a new wonderful pastor, Fr. Rodriguez, and as soon as he received the verification he called me about my confirmation. Damon and I met with him and I did a practice run on receiving the Eucharist. Then I found out how the delay was a part of God’s plan. Father pulled out his calendar and asked me about two dates. The first was just a regular Sunday on the book. The second one he offered to me was April 12th of 2016……. Which just happened to be DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY of that year!!! Damon immediately said “ Mom take that!” I didn’t have any idea why but trusted my son. When we left he did indeed tell me all about the significance, and then I realized what a blessing it was. On that Divine Mercy Sunday with my family and friends at my side, I stood at the altar with my son’s hand on my shoulder as my sponsor and became Catholic. The greatest gift and joy I have ever received! And on that day, with tears running down my cheeks, I finally was able to receive the glorious body, blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. The wait God had me endure was truly worth it. It all came together perfectly as only he can do.
So now you know my conversion story. Stay tuned for the next chapter of the Holy Spirit working in my life, a mission for vocations. God truly has a sense of humor as I planned one direction and he nudged me in a totally different one. This is where I’d like to give a teaching moment. Don’t ever stop listening and trusting in where Our Lord is guiding you. You just can’t imagine the TRUE joy you will find. Never stop looking for it!
“The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with JOY!”