February 2, 2010

Finished our second week of RCIA (Roman Catholic Instruction for Adults) class tonight at St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church, and remain pretty impressed by the number of people who will join me come late April in being received into the Roman Catholic faith. I’m the lone Episcopalian in the group of the two dozen or so that are making ths momentous step in our lives. We have a few Lutherans, a Presbyterian, and 6 or 7 non-churched / un-churched people, but the majority of them are Catholics who, for whatever reason, now feel drawn to the Church and long to take the sacraments.

Last week we went around the room and briefly told the various journeys that led us to this place, this time, this decision. For some, getting married is the driving force behind joining the Church, for others – actually, many – it was the fervent need, whether due to health reasons or some inner motivation, to get their spiritual affairs in order. For me, it’s all about coming home to the true Christian faith and the integrity that goes with the upholding of the Church’s sacramental traditions, beliefs, and practices that have endured for more than 2,000 years.

Listening to all the stories last week brought me back to our years in Louisville and the “Newcomers Weekend” I attended at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary back in the fall of 2000. How different things were back then! How different I was (or at least felt) back then. Lots of water has passed under that bridge since then, I’ll tell you!

What it mainly did was to reinforce my belief that the biggest mistake I ever made in my life (right behind, of course, adding my sister-in-law Tam and her cell phone to our once-stable and uneventful AT&T calling plan) was turning down the Dean’s offer to join the Presbyterian faith and complete my Master of Divinity degree education at Louisville Presbyterian after being rejected by the Diocese of Louisville for pursuing the priesthood in the Episcopal Church. She knew (as I knew) I was thriving in that rich and intellectually and spiritually challenging environment. Besides, once you have that degree no one can take it away from you, and who knows what kind of bridges that might eventually lead to? Sigh. As Roberto Di Vicenzo said after he realized he signed an incorrect scorecard to lose the 1968 Masters, “What a stupid I am!”

But no use crying over spilled milk. Right now, I’m more than satisfied with taking my place amongst all the other earnest candidates and looking forward to the next three months learning about the Roman Catholic faith and its sacraments, beliefs, and practices. As my friend, co-worker (and sponsor) Jamie tells me, I probably already know more about Roman Catholicism than just about everyone in the room, but hey, I’m just an Episcopalian looking to ride the Tiber’s currents and bring my wretched, beaten-down soul home to safe harbour.

Every fiber of my body and soul hungers and thirsts to receive our Lord’s Body and Blood in the faith and tradition passed down through His Apostles. I realize now I’ve waited more than five decades for this moment. It’s been a long, hard journey, but I can certainly wait a few more months. God willing, come April 25th I’ll be received into the Roman Catholic faith under the Christian name of John (after my favorite saint, St. John of the Cross. I can’t wait.

Pool temp: 53 degrees

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 00:12 | Comments Off on Riding The Tiber’s Currents
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