Anticipating Joy

Tonight is the Easter Vigil.

If there is one specific Mass I make it to, it is the Easter Vigil. Midnight Christmas Mass? Who needs it, I’ll go at 10:00. Chrism Mass? Boooo-ring. But Easter Vigil?!?! There is a Mass that is a must!

Every year since 2009, the Easter Vigil has been my Easter Mass of choice, and it will be until I die. The beauty of experiencing the first celebration of the Resurrection. Lighting the fire outside the church. Walking into the dark with a candle. Listening to the story of salvation through so many readings and psalms with the candle light flickering on the walls as if in a cave, a tomb.

And then! The Gloria! Its been over 40 days since we’ve sang Glory! 40 days since uttering Alleluia! The lights burst on, the bells chime out in the night, and glory of God is proclaimed, and the chill runs down your spine. You are a part of this. You are a member in the mystical body of Christ. You are now a character in this great story!

The story of God’s victory over sin and death are proclaimed. The new members of God’s Church are baptized, confirmed and taste the goodness of the Lord for the first time. The memories of my own first time flood back. My first Easter Vigil becomes real in my senses. The joy. The laughter (being Megan’s fiance for about 1.37 seconds–lol). The raw grace of God.

There is so much to be thankful for in life. The time for mourning is over. The time for hope and joy has come and is being fulfilled in this moment, in us, by Jesus Christ!

Church in a Blizzard

I had been planning on going to Mass before it started blizzarding and so I decided I would still walk on over to the Newman Center today. The Newman Center is on the corner of campus about three blocks away from RJ. Well, I didn’t expect the horrible snow drifts and unplowed state of everything. Well it took me about 20 minutes to walk what should take about seven. Anyway, I was really glad that I went, for a couple of reasons. The first was that Fr. Cheney’s message tonight was about the structure of the Catholic Church’s leadership and why it is good. One of the things that struck me, and I had heard this before, was that in Protestant Churches, pastors are called by the congregation to lead the church. Whereas in Catholicism, pastors are called by God and then sent out to individual parishes. It gave me peace of mind and confidence in the structure that Christ laid out for his Church.

Second, when I got there I saw one of my friends Mary, who I haven’t seen in awhile. I sat with her to discover that she too is not Catholic, but is becoming Catholic as well!!! I was so surprised and excited to find out that she is also coming to the Catholic Church. We talked for awhile and she introduced me to a few people. I also some others that I knew and chatted with them as well. It felt awesome to be surrounded by so many college Catholics who definitely cling tight to God and the faith. You would have to to venture out to Mass in this blizzard (you honestly have no idea how bad it is out there).

Coming back from Church I felt like a pioneer. Walking through a blizzard, freezing to the core, snow caked onto my clothes. That must have been what it was like for our forefathers as they trekked across this desolate prairie to give thanks to God. It is so bad out there that there is a high possibility of getting a second snow day tomorrow!!!

I am really glad I went to Church tonight.

First Meeting

 

I actually had to meet with the woman who does RCIA last night instead of tomorrow. I was pretty nervous the whole day and I’m not sure why. But it I enjoyed it. We talked about sacraments and what they are. The Catholic Church celebrates seven sacraments, which are Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Reconcilliation, Annointing, Matrimony and Holy Orders. We discussed what they are and what all of the symbols in them, especially baptism, mean. I will be going to to RCIA classes with Andy now up until Easter. It’s exciting, but I do have two problems, which are more schedule/transportation issues. You see, I’m on duty Easter weekend which is when I will be baptized/confirmed. That is my own fault though, because I switched duty weekends so that I would have an excuse not to go home for Easter weekend. I’m not really sure why I did that. But even if I did get that weekend off, I would not really have a way to get to the Church. I trust though that all of these things will be worked out.

Anyways, as a result of the meeting I missed The Office. When I got back to my room, one of my friends started talking to me on facebook, wondering what I thought of The Office and then wanted to know why I missed it. Then she wanted to know about why I came to choose Catholicism and so I got to have a good conversation with her about that. It was very encouraging and gives me a little more confidence to talk about it with other people, which is good, because now I really cannot hide this at all.

P.S. As I continue to explore the Catholic faith, I found this great testimony. You should read it.