I went to my first, real RCIA class last week. I was a bit nervous as I've never really been a social butterfly and walking into situations where I don't know anyone can be intimidating to me. Thankfully, I have gotten better at this over the past few years, but it can still be a struggle. All that to say, the class was great. It was so great to meet a few new people and talk about Church that I will be a member of. This week, we discussed what it means to be Catholic and talked some about the Bible - and the Catholic beliefs about the Bible. It was so refreshing to be with a group of people and just learn from them. I really do love learning new things and challenging my personal beliefs and do feel that this will be something really special for me.
As difficult (in some ways) as this decision has been, I am so excited to be a part of this particular group, at this particular time. Funny how God works. During the session the other night, one of the members shared about a friend going through a particularly rough time and feeling as though God had forsaken her. We were also discussing why the crucifix is such an important symbol in the Catholic church (absolutely more so than in my faith tradition). I hadn't given much thought to why you see the crucifix so often. Our group leader speculated that many protestant churches feel that using an empty cross as a symbol is more appropriate, as the story of Christ does not end on the cross. The group leader shared that while this is true, we cannot forget the suffering that Christ endured on the cross and seeing a crucifix is a reminder of this. That we are not alone in our suffering. That even Christ felt forsaken by God. But - that's not where the story ends. There is life beyond the suffering.
Wow! It was absolutely what I needed to hear. Now, don't get me wrong. None of this is "new" to me. I grew up in the church, I have a minor in religion. I know what the Bible says. But on that night, I needed to be reminded that there is a purpose to our suffering and that we will rise again.
I'm so excited to continue this process and so grateful that my in-laws are willing to keep Sophie for me. It's so wonderful to talk about faith with a group of adults with minimal distractions.