On Saturday, I ended one journey to begin another. Funny how that works, huh? We begin a job, a quest, a path, and work steadily to the imagined finish line, only to discover that what we thought was an ending was really just a crossing over to yet another journey. One would be weary if there wasn't such joy in the ending and the beginning. These beautiful, joyful moments refresh us for the hard parts of our paths yet to come. Perhaps one reason I love the Catholic church so is that she recognizes that we need the rituals to light our way ahead.
Easter Vigil is not only a lovely, symbolic ritual of the resurrection of Christ. It is also a ritualistic retelling of the journey one takes in conversion.
We began outside around the Easter fire in order to light the Christ candle which along with our "battery" candles would be the only light in the dark church. As I watch the fire, I am reminded of the many fires in religion I have experienced. From the fire of Pentecost in the the Pentecostal Church of my youth, to the bonfires of my Neopagan days as a young adult. Here in front of this fire, I wonder for a moment, only a moment, if I am in the right place. But the peace that has come to through all my doubts this past year comes again, and I feel once again that I am finally coming home. In some ways back to the my youth but in other ways to a very different view of Christ and God.
Inside the chapel, there are no lights. Only the Christ candle, and our candles. We stumbled into our pews through the dark,lost and looking for light. And indeed, while in many ways I had come home into the grace of my family, I was still searching. Still stumbling. Feeling like there was something missing but not knowing what it was until I felt once again the presence of God and Christ. There was still a lot of missteps this year. Doubts so powerful that I almost didn't sign the Book of the Elect. But luckily in the darkness, it is not just our candle by which we see the path. There are others holding us up and offering us counsel. I am blessed with support not just from the chapel but also from all over the world. We don't always agree but their words helped me to discern my own path.
And then after the Liturgy of the Word, we all sing Gloria and a single light is shown on the cross. Oh I swear my heart leaped up and I was filled with joy.Tonight I was coming from the darkness into the light. No the light might not always be so bright but I feel that it will always be ahead of me.
And then after a beautiful homily by Friar Tom, we come forward to be baptized. This is my moment of newness.
Made all the more special by Camille's presence and joining with me. I am moved that I am able to share this experience with my children.
And finally I am able to participate in the mystery of the Eucharist. Can I began to explain this mystery. Not yet. But partaking made me feel complete, part of the community around me, and one with Christ. It is not something for which I have words. It is a moment that is both shattering yet rebuilding.
Finally I am here. I am a Catholic. I have joined myself to this Church with her beauty and her flaws. She in only human after all like me. Like us all. I have joined her because this is where I feel God. This is where I feel both peace and a conviction to just be a better person.