Friday, December 19, 2008

In Awe

It is at times like these, particularly in seasons such as Advent and Lent, that I stand back in grateful awe of our Church's Liturgical Calendar. The ebb and flow of days and weeks, the significance of each Sunday, the timely Mass readings, the celebrations of saints, the faithful traditions: these among so many other wonderful details do so much to draw my soul in and keep me waiting in anticipation for Christ in each season. These times make me truly grateful for a Church that guides my reflections and contemplations and heightens each season for all that it is.

When I began my Catholic journey in college, I came as a rooted-in-Christ Evangelical, fully appreciative of Christ and his message of hope and salvation. I was saved by His Grace (still am) and enjoyed opportunities to exalt Him who loved me enough to die on the cross. As I began to regularly attend the 4:30 Mass on Sundays in the University Chapel (seen in the background of our blog) with my roommate, I slowly began to realize that Catholics, too, loved Jesus as much as I did. You see, this was a surprise to me, who had grown in my faith thinking that Catholics didn't believe in Christ. (So many misconceptions out there!) My subtle realizations turned into a vast appreciation for the Church and all it had to offer. The Mass for me was mesmerizing--holy, pure, and Christ-centered. The Catholic Church helped me take my Christian faith to an even deeper, more meaningful level at a time when I needed to do so.

My first Lenten season offered a new appreciation for Christ's forty days in the desert, a time of temptation and testing. I had "given things up" for Lent in the past, but never before with such reflection and contemplative prayer. My growing Catholic faith helped me put it all into greater perspective, with an increased appreciation for the season. Later that year, during my first Catholic celebration of Advent, GG (my then crush and now husband) presented me with a beautiful bouquet of flowers in a dark, rich purple, "for this time of Advent." How utterly gorgeous--to have hues of color to represent each season. The Church was reaching out to me once again, allowing me a deeper sense of the season.

"Silent Night" plays in the background as I type. It is the same "Silent Night" I remember singing as we lit candles in my beloved childhood church at the end of our Christmas Eve service. It was my absolute favorite part of the Christmas celebration... This year, the playing of "Silent Night" brings tears to my adult face. With it comes a serene appreciation for this beautiful season of Advent and all that it holds, all that it promises. Thank you, Father, for sending your Son. Thank you, Jesus, for taking on human flesh. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for my Christian brothers and sisters who helped me to hear and respond to your Gospel as a youth. Thank you, Lord God, for your Holy Catholic Church, which preserves and enriches my ongoing faith journey.


Right Said Red said...


This reflection is beautiful. I think anyone considering joining the Catholic Church should read your thoughts. Thank you for sharing with all of us the many beautiful reasons that we are Catholic. I couldn't agree more with your sentiments.

Kat said...

Thank you, B-Mama, for this beautiful reflection. Your words reflect the sense of awe and wonder that is so wonderful during the Advent season.
Yesterday afternoon, while playing with the kids in the playroom, I was beginning to feel frazzled as my list of to-do's before having dinner guests started to grow in my head. I stood up and walked into our living room to take a moment to myself, and was greeted by the simple white lights on our Christmas tree, the lit-up manger scene, and some cinnamon-scented candles that I had lit. The scene calmed me, and I just sat for a few moments and prayed "Thank you, Lord," much as you did in your reflection. Praise God for this season!

Elena said...

This post made me thank God (again) for converts. Converts are such a gift to the Church and, especially, to cradle Catholics. Could I ask, how many of you are converts?

Right Said Red said...

Converts = 3
Juris Mater

Juris Mater said...

It's the cradle Catholic who bear witness to converts and help to show us the way (Kat and Tex many others out there, a personal thank you!). Thank God for all you cradle Catholics who have faithfully walked with Christ in his Church throughout your lives!!

Juris Mater said...

And thank you, B-mama, for this lovely post. What a reflection to launch us into this week! Hope you all have a blessed one...

texas mommy said...

B-Mama, Red and JM,
I don't think I'm alone in thanking you for the example that you are to cradle Catholics as well. Thank you for reminding us to live each liturgical season with a fresh and earnest heart!

Bethany said...

I'm curious-- for the three of you that converted, what made you decide to convert and from what did you convert? And do you ever find yourself slipping back into the questions you may have once carried about the Catholic Church?

This may be a topic for another post all together.