I no longer think it coincidental that my grandmother's birthday is on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Considering she was the first in the family to convert to Catholicism, I think it's entirely appropriate. It's unfortunate that her conversion wasn't a fire that burned through the family, though. I mourn that, actually. But perhaps it's God's plan after all. I've come home, and I've brought my husband and children to the Lord. I wish to pray always for the continued conversion of my family and friends -- I want for them what is promised to the faithful -- life eternal in his beatific vision.
I was reading this today and I find it an extremely well-written piece on what it means to be Catholic, especially at Advent. I am a sentimental person by nature, so the Flannery O'Connor quote struck me deep:
To be a Catholic is to enter into a relationship with Christ that is at once intimate beyond imagining and entirely anonymous, hidden, and private. Flannery O'Connor once observed: "I went to St. Mary's as it was right around the corner and I could get there practically every morning. I went there three years and never knew a soul in that congregation or any of the priests, but it was not necessary. As soon as I went in the door I was at home."
"To expect too much," she wrote elsewhere, "is to have a sentimental view of life and this is a softness that ends in bitterness."
I am blessed because I am able to experience the body of Christ and fellowship experience at my parish. I have attended Mass and Confessions by priests I felt were less than interested or distracted. Naturally, I was disappointed and hurt by the experiences, but I was a new convert and didn't understand that it's not the priest that matters. It's a huge plus if you happen to have a wonderful homilist and confessor like we do. But that is so far from the point of Mass. I've learned this as I've grown in my faith.
And I'm beginning to realize that being Catholic has been my calling all my life, but I haven't been ready until (fairly) recently. Because I am drawn to the Mass and to sacred space like never before. Just to be there, in His presence, is what I crave.
But I don't fool myself for a minute by thinking that I'm starting to get it, for that's precisely when the wheels start to come off. I will never understand it all, and that's okay. I don't really want to, until Jesus says it's time. Until then, I am living the mystery and praying His will be done.