Confirmation on November 1, All Saints’ Day

All Saints’ Day painting by Fra Angelico; from Wikipedia

Well, looks like it is going to happen. I am joining the Catholic Church on November 1, All Saints’ Day, with conditional baptism and first confession on October 31, an ironic date.

It is happening so “quickly” because I went through RCIA last year and have talked with the local priest a few times. He knows where I am coming from and is content I know what I am getting into. He and I are going to grill steaks soon and we’ll talk some more.

There are still many things I don’t understand about Catholicism but I have discovered enough to be convinced for myself, even if it isn’t convincing enough for others. But we shouldn’t be expected to understand everything before a decision is made. One doesn’t perform 100 pushups from the get go. One starts with 5, eventually moves up to 10, then 20, and so forth. The famous saying from St. Augustine is fitting; “Believe that you may understand.”[1] This is not blind faith leading to a false understanding. It is reasonable faith rooted in something strong which will grow into greater understanding.

The final decision was due, in part, to the realization that this process has been two very intense years (even longer for the roots of some issues).  Life needs to move on and it cannot move on so long as I am stuck in paralysis.  Paralysis and indecisiveness has only drained my joy and even driven away people I cared for.  Paralysis will only continue to haunt and hurt unless a decision is made. The lines in the sand must eventually be draw and so far Catholicism still seems the best option.  The soldier in battle who freezes when the bullets fly is in the worst danger.  It would be better for him to shoot back, run for cover, or at least run away as a coward.  But freezing in one place will only destroy him and probably also hurt those around him.  That’s kind of how I felt.

So I figured the best remedy for indecisiveness is to make decisions and Catholicism is still the most reasonable option available.  And I must say, I have felt peace beginning to return, not in an overwhelming way, but like a gentle touch of God easing me into my decision.  Laughter is also coming easier, and I love to laugh.  There is still some residual frustration and lack of understandings about the way things played out in my life this past year but even that is subsiding into a calmer acceptance. (After all, anything I went through is small potatoes compared to what others are currently facing around the world right now and throughout history. Who am I to whine when life is still so good?)

Another thing that revealed how far I was along the trail was my brief consideration of atheism. While grilling a steak I wondered, “Is this whole Christian thing even true? Maybe I should just give it up.” These were short lived thoughts but they shed light on where my soul was; either Catholicism or give up Christianity altogether. And it seemed lame to give it up. After all, how could chance give us something as delicious as steak? There must be a God, right?

Two people have asked me if I was happy with my decision. It is a natural question to ask. We all want to be happy. But it was my father, a protestant minister, who raised me up to follow truth and to do what is right, whether we like it or not. Happiness may come with the territory, but happiness cannot be the litmus test. C.S. Lewis enhanced this theme in Mere Christianity: “In religion, as in war and everything else, comfort is one thing you cannot get by looking for it. If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth—only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair.”

The Bible talks much about joy, but it also talks about “taking up your cross.” Christianity is life and life includes both laughter and tears. I have hope that the grass truly is green on the other side but that cannot be the standard of my decision.

So I have been eyeing an 18 year bottle of scotch and waiting for the appropriate occasion. This is as fitting a time as any to buy it . If anyone else wishes to raise a glass too, I would love to hear about it.

God bless and peace be with you all.

By the way, while there is no need to end the blog, since the name is still fitting to the Christian life, this will also mean I will probably take a break from blogging. I feel the need to settle and gain roots into my new faith. I will probably post here and there but they will probably be few and far between.

[1] Tractate 29 (John 7:14-18), http://newadvent.org/fathers/1701029.htm

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7 thoughts on “Confirmation on November 1, All Saints’ Day

  1. I didn’t realize your father was a minister. Has your family adjusted to the idea that you are entering the church [just wondering]?

    So your being received into the church on the 31st, will you be confirmed next time your bishop comes round?
    I’ll offer up a prayer for you. There is of course a sense in which you will never understand Catholicism, we are after all dealing with mystery’s of God.

    • Thank you for your prayers.

      The family situation is a strange one. Basically, there has been a cease-fire and we just don’t talk about religion anymore. Since sparks flew well over a year ago, they probably assume I made the plunge a long time ago. But it was their decision to cut themselves off from any conversation while I was still searching. Not that I don’t own a level of blame; I was not always the most gracious or charitable, either. This stuff touches the core of emotions because it touches the foundations of belief. Turning Catholic practically says, “All this stuff I was raised with is mostly wrong.”

      I’m doing conditional baptism and first confession on the 31st and confirmation and first communion on Nov 1. What do you mean about the bishop? Is it required that the bishop be present?

  2. When I was received into the Church I had confession during the week (in the rectory living room) first communion that Sunday and was confirmed months later when the bishop was coming through to do them.

  3. WELCOME HOME, DEAR FRIEND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How I have prayed for you. A smile is on my face from ear to ear. You will never be the same and sometimes that is a good thing. God Bless, SR

    • Thank you for your prayers. You are right; it’s probably a good thing I will never be the same. It was quite the weekend. First confession was difficult but not as difficult as I thought it would be. It’s funny that Protestantism threw out the confessional but found itself dealing with the problems of “secret sins” and encouraging people to get “accountability partners.” Maybe if we had kept the confessional problems like these would not have risen.

      Confirmation was also a good experience, although the priest had to help me through the short profession of faith. I was nervous being in front of everybody. 🙂 But it was nice having friends in the Church with me. I’ve already been hanging out with some of the guys and families and they all came to see. Very special.

      God bless, SR. And thank you again for your words of encouragement and prayers. You have my email. Let me know if you ever need prayer for anything.

  4. I always need prayer, so just put me on your list! 🙂 If you need anything the same holds for you, just email. I am so happy for you. I always get excited for those who come into the Church.

    I was nervous also at my first confession. At times still am, depending on the confession! I always come out more blessed then when I went in. Those sins are gone and forgiven.

    I have not thought of the “secret sins” in a long time. It takes so much more than ourselves, doesn’t it? In my life, the Catholic Church gave me the answers to it all.

    Please keep us updated from time to time on your journey. I will be so anxious to here. If not a post, an email will do. God Bless, SR

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