It's hard to believe Easter Vigil has come and gone already. And I'm now a member of the Catholic Church. It's ironic - the first Catholic service I ever went too was Easter Vigil at Sacred Heart two years ago. If you would've told me then that two years later I'd be coming into the Church myself, I would've said you were crazy.
But what the Lord had planned for me was much different than what I wanted for myself. And He and I fought over it - it took me quite a while before I finally submitted to His will. But I did... and here I am. And I feel better for it. It took me a while to realize that loving and following him didn't mean not thinking for myself. But it does mean that I don't necessarily have to understand everything. That's been my struggle with faith in the past. And I was determined not to fall into that trap this time around. Intellect is one of the greatest gifts God bestowed on men, but it's also one that's easily manipulated by the adversary to turn us against Him.
Anyway, my future mother-in-law was my sponsor. We all processed into the the church bearing candles in total darkness, and the service began. There were seven of us coming into the Church last night - one receiving baptism as well. Easter Vigil is such a beautiful service. The music, the multiple readings, the smell of the incense burning. It's just amazing.
Following the baptism, we all went up to receive confirmation. Father Ettner sealed me with oil on my forehead in the shape of the cross, called me by the name of my confirmation saint (St. Francis of Assisi, of course) and sealed me with the Holy Spirit. We then sat back down, and Father began the liturgy of the Mass.
Now, the thing with Easter is that from Holy Thursday evening until Easter Vigil, there can be no Mass - even for a funeral. The tabernacle is bearen, and let me tell you... it's chilling. If you ever doubt the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist, go to Good Friday service, and see what it feels like without Him truly present. So the Vigil is the first Mass since Holy Thursday, and is something to be excited about.
And with that, I received Communion for the first time. As Father was consecrating the host, I prayed that I would be able to truly appreciate this moment, and that it would be a life changing experience. But as I approached to receive, I realized... I have already had my life changing experience - this is just the exclamation point on it! I had a feeling that I can only describe as Christ smiling at me, proud that I "got it". And yes... I felt his true presence was over me as I received the Host.
So with that, the first leg of this journey ends. What's next? I don't know. I believe I might join the Knights of Columbus at some point in the not too distant future. I'd like to get involved with youth ministry as well, but that's probably a little further down the road. For now, I'm just going to keep the faith - He'll tell me what he wants me to do next, in His time.