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.