Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sede Vacante

Sede Vacante. The chair of Peter is empty.

For most of the Catholics in my generation, they have already experienced the loss of a pope, and the journey of welcoming and getting to know a new Holy Father. Although, I know this is different for them in many ways too. They grew up with Papa JPII, I know many people who felt so close to him, and his death is something that will be with them for the remainder of their time on earth. This time,  for the first time in hundreds of years, our pope has not died, but has left the chair. I believe Benedict XVI is a faithful and prayerful man (um, pope?) and I truly believe this decision was made because the Holy Spirit has guided him to it. But it is different, it is hard. It is sad to see him go, but I am filled with hope to see who the Holy Spirit guides the Cardinals to choose to be the next Holy Father, to sit in the chair of Peter and guide our Holy Mother Church.

It feels so surreal to me. We entered the church at the beginning of this month. Within just a short time, we learned that Benedict XVI would be abdicating. Now it is less than 4 weeks after our joining, and we have no pope. I mostly feel sad at the things so many people, who are not in the Catholic faith or who are not completely following the teachings of the church, are saying in regards to this Holy man who has only tried to serve and guide us in the faith. I wish that I had been able to come to know and love him in a deeper way as pope. But, I also feel this timing is so interesting for my family. I feel that the next pope is who my family will truly learn to be Catholic under, who we will get to know and pray for. I feel especially excited about where the Holy Spirit is leading us, what God has planned for his church. I pray for Benedict XVI, and I am glad our new Holy Father and the church will have the benefit of his prayers. What a lesson in humility. Every cross is different. We all do not carry the same one. Benedict XVI's is very different from that of Blessed John Paul II. And I look to them both with respect, and thankfulness, and I pray for them, as I know they both pray for me and all of Christ's church.

Monday, February 4, 2013


It is official - my husband and I have made the journey home, and are now officially CATHOLICS, lol. I am ecstatic and overwhelmed and in a bit of shock that after all this time and prayer we have MADE IT! Of course, it is a life long journey, but we have entered the doors and I feel such peace and joy and hope. It is amazing.

On February 2nd, we had a marathon of sacraments as we had our first confession, confirmation, and first communion! I was unsure how it was going to go with so much packed in a day, but it was beautiful and so fully connected, and I was so thankful to have confessed so near to my first communion, it was a reassurance to me, and I feel strengthened me through the experience, because I was so very very nervous!

I can not believe how wonderful confession was. I was petrified upon entering, even knowing that the sacrament is about God's MERCY rather than our sin, just the thought of having to speak aloud and make known my faults and failures, and not just to the priest, but knowing that I was having to SPEAK these things to Christ, oh I was so humbled. I was so ashamed. And I was so filled with HOPE. I cried. Yes, I am sure Father was thinking "Oh GREAT!", lol, but he was so sweet, and patient, and spoke truth and advice to me, that although I knew it in my heart, I needed to hear, and I believe it really gave me more strength to continue on the path of following Christ. Abby had her first confession before me, and was waiting for me outside. When I came out of course she could tell I had been crying and just gave me the biggest hug! It was such a sweet moment. Then she just beamed at me and said, "Mommy, I feel SO happy". Of course, I about lost it again at that moment, haha! But truly, the joy and peace from that sacrament alone was so wonderful.

I spent the day with my family and my dear friend and sponsor following confession, just waiting around and hanging out until it was time for the vigil Mass that evening. I do not like getting up in front of people... I get extremely nervous! But knowing that my husband was going with me, and that my friend would be behind me with her hand on my shoulder, helped ever so slightly. I also knew there were several people in attendance at the Mass who had been praying for my family, and it brought me such comfort to know that support and love was out there. My knees were shaking a bit as I received the sacrament of confirmation. For me, I just felt a wave of peace and relief. It was done. I was home. As we made our way back to the pew to continue the Mass and to prepare for communion, I then became so excited and nervous - I was going to be able to receive Our Lord in the Eucharist! Something that stood out to me at Mass, that I had never really noticed before now, was the altar. Its always there. Of course I have seen it. But I was transfixed. This was an ALTAR. I saw a lamb being slain upon it and its blood being spilled. I saw Christ above it and His blood pouring out, and him offering it to me. I cried. And it came time to receive the body and blood of My Lord, and I was terrified to drop it that I thought, well I didn't feel a thing. It was so odd to me that I wouldn't feel as much emotion at this moment that I had at the other sacraments. But as I sat in the pew and prayed, I felt a glow and warmth just filling my soul. My body trembled and I realize I was a temple of God, and Christ was residing within my heart and my body to bring me closer to him and strengthen my spirit to follow Him. I cried. Again. But I was so happy.

Following Mass we were shown such love by so many people who welcomed us home. It was an amazing moment, and we have so many more wonderful moments to experience. I look forward so much to the baptism of my sweet baby Aaron this month, and then at the Easter Vigil when Abby receives the sacraments of confirmation and first communion. I look forward to watching as Will begins education classes soon and prepares for his first communion in a couple of years. We are so blessed. And we are so very thankful to everyone who helped pray us home.