Friday, March 29, 2013

Almost there.

I realize that it has been more than two months since I last updated on my RCIA process. So much has happened and life has been so busy (really, though, when is it not?). In February, I celebrated two more rites - the Rite of Sending at my church and then the Rite of Continuing Conversion at St. Patrick's Church. That was a special day, spent with the other members of my RCIA group and my family. In March, I celebrated the Rite of Reconciliation. Yep, confession. I attended a Lenten Communal Reconciliation service at St. Margaret Mary. I was terrified - I didn't know what to say or do. The priest that I spoke with was wonderful. After confessing to him, he said "Your sins are forgiven. Leave them here and go in peace." 

This past week has been full of RCIA related activities. Last Saturday, I attended an RCIA Retreat Day. It was really great to spend the day with the friends I have made in this process and to just focus on this conversion process. The first activity we did was to make a timeline of this process. We were instructed not to make a straight/traditional timeline, but to actually draw the highs and lows of the past several months. It was difficult to remember all that has occurred over the past 6 months. After we completed our timelines individually, we shared them with another person in the group. I enjoyed this process. It's interesting that it has become so easy to share such personal, spiritual experiences with people I barely know, but have come to know in such a deep and meaningful way. Following the timeline activity, we read the passage from John about the woman at the well. Our leader related our Thursday nights to the well of Living Water - that we continue to come back each week so our thirst will be quenched. I couldn't have agreed more with the analogy. I will miss this process. I will miss the time to devote to spiritual growth and formation. I hope to find something else to become involved in in order to continue this journey. We then watched a video about the life of Jesus, from the perspective of a childhood friend. I've searched for a link to the video, but can't find it anywhere. It was a moving portrayal - a monologue written and performed by a priest. We then had a long break for lunch. After lunch, we read another passage ("The Sending of the Seventy Two") and then spent some individual time in thought. We reflected on a few questions regarding this journey. It was a nice, cool day so I spent some time sitting outside and thinking about this journey. At the end of the day, we gathered in the church and participated in a sort of closing ceremony. There were a few readings and prayers. Sal, who lead the retreat, then walked around the semi-circle, pausing at each of us, saying "Lizzie, you have been called by name. You shall be called God's delight, because your God rejoices in you!" It was a special time, celebrating this journey and sending us forth to celebrate Holy Week. 

And what a week it's been! We attended Mass on Sunday - Palm Sunday. Something strange happened during Mass and I had to leave - I wasn't feeling well. I was very hot and there were a lot of people there. I had a couple of girlfriends over for dinner this week and shared with them that I was feeling very emotional about this whole process. And I was right. I went to my first Holy Thursday service. Danny's parents also attended, but Danny stayed home with Sophie. I really, really enjoyed the ceremony. The reverence, the incense, the tradition. It was really very touching. During the homily, the priest shared the following thought: "We come here for nourishment so we can go wash feet." That quote really stayed with me through the remainder of the Mass. The priest then washed the feet of several parishioners, including one of the women who has been in the RCIA group. A very touching, humbling moment. 

Today, I attended the Good Friday service. It was quite different than any other service I've attended. It was a very solemn service (of course). A lot of silence, a lot of kneeling and praying, a lot of genuflecting. I told Danny this evening that I didn't know that they were going to bring in a large wooden cross AND that everyone would come forward to offer the adoration for the cross. What a touching moment! Seeing young children and the elderly (and everyone in between) going forward and kneeling before, hugging, and kissing the cross was quite powerful for me. We also read the Passion again, as we did on Palm Sunday (thankfully, I didn't feel like I was going to faint or get sick this time). Following Mass last night and the service this afternoon, we all left the service in silence. 

I cannot express how excited I am about tomorrow night - the Easter Vigil. This has been my focus for the past 6 months and it's hard to believe that it's actually here. 

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