Last night's RCIA session was all about meeting the staff of the church. It was nice to meet several people in ministry and to meet the pastor. I remember when Danny and I got married that I was very nervous to meet the priest (Fr. Ralph) who married us. My exposure to the Catholic faith was pretty limited at that time, and for some reason, I felt like priests were on a different level and that I would not be able to relate to them. Fr. Ralph definitely proved this notion wrong for me. As we met with him several times to discuss our relationship and our upcoming marriage, I felt very connected to him and learned a lot from him (I especially liked that he told Danny to remember that I am his "gift" - yeah, that was my favorite part).
Before we met the staff, however, we were able to see a member of the other RCIA group go through the Rite of Acceptance. It was really a beautiful moment. It was different that I expected - much more sacred than I thought it would be. I will go through the Rite of Acceptance on December 15th and am really looking forward to that.
To continue this period of exploration, I am joining one of my best friends, Macy, on Sunday afternoon as we go to Ferdinand, Indiana to visit the Monastery Immaculate Conception, to attend an Advent Concert and shop at the Christkindlmarkt. I'm really looking forward to our little trip and learning even more!
During our Meet the Staff session last night, we were able to ask questions of the staff. One of the questions was asking the staff's opinion on what might be the hardest thing about being Catholic. I appreciated the pastor's response. He talked about how many times in life, the hardest thing about anything we do is sticking with it. He also shared that sometimes we feel like we know what God wants us to do, but then wonder if we are doing what WE want to do, thinking that that is what God wants us to do. Got it? He reminded the group of this prayer by Thomas Merton, which I have always loved:
MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road
ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I
really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire
to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in
all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from
that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right
road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you
always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will
not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face
my perils alone.
- Thomas Merton, "Thoughts in Solitude"
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