Sunday, May 24, 2009

You Will Never Leave Me

This is perfect. I remembered this prayer tonight as I thought of two friends of mine who have used it throughout their courtship. It fits so well with the uncertainly I find myself facing; I think I'll start praying this regularly.

Thomas Merton's Prayer

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 that 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 will I 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.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Regime Change

My 100th post here comes in the middle of changes, some of them expected, and some of them that came by surprise.

My regular confessor and unofficial spiritual director is leaving my parish next month. It will be an extremely difficult adjustment for me to make, as this priest is both the one who heard my first confession upon reversion, and the first I allowed myself to be vulnerable before. The thought of losing that relationship and trust when I am still trying to reform myself is a bit frightening, honestly. I'm left to try to cultivate that relationship with someone else.

My pastor is a good man, and very wise, but in some ways I'm not sure if he and I are on the same page. He is very different from my confessor in both the way he advises me and what he sees as crucial issues in my formation. It will take some time to get used to, but I'm not going to close my mind and heart to him. I can't. We are also going to have the addition of a newly ordained priest who served his year in the diaconate at my parish here as parochial vicar beginning in two weeks. This all comes in the midst of a merger with a nearby parish that will be completed within the next two years or so, which will shake up not only who attends Mass, but who celebrates, and who gives the Sacraments.


In three months, I'm leaving home for the first time. After graduating with my Associate's Degree this past Thursday, I'm continuing on to a 4-year university to finish up my Bachelor's. I'm going to be living on campus, and as ready as I thought I was, I now find myself full of anxiousness and doubts. I won't have my family to come home to at night, and will have to make a new name for myself in a sea of 10,000 people.

That's weird.

It doesn't help that while I'm going through this upheaval, my church, always consistent and dependable, is changing, too.

The verse in the alleluia, and echoed in my current confessor's homily tonight was an almost prophetic reassurance for me:

I will not leave you as orphans.

Yes, things are changing, and I'm obviously being called to a greater sense of independence...but that doesn't mean that God is going to lead me out into the desert and then leave me there to fend for myself. "I will be with you always," we're told.

But what if I stumble?

That, too, is part of the learning process...I hope that I can accept this change in direction gracefully, and with humility. I can hope, and I can trust. That's what the Divine Mercy is all about, after all, being able to say "Jesus, I trust in You!" and believe it.

I do.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I found these two videos tonight with help from The American Papist. What neat evangelism tools!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Run Back to You

This song by Run Kid Run, "My Sweet Escape", always reminds me of my reversion. Plus, it's pretty catchy!

So here we are, a video and lyrics.

This is it, confidence is all I need
This is how You're going to save me from myself
From all that fails
I see You and me and everything in between
And I know I'm wrong but You long to
Fuel the fire beneath these tired bones

As I dance this road back to run back to You
A place of sweet escape I fell into
My everything will always sing Your glory

Progress, I confess is way overdue
I get caught up in the things that I've held onto
For too long I've been alone
I'm stronger ever step I take

Back to You
Run back to You
A place of sweet escape I fell into

A familiar taste that You have made inside this refuge I can't create
All back to You
A place of sweet escape I fell into Your glory, Your glory
Sing Hallelujah, I'll forever sing to lift You up
Sing Hallelujah, I'll forever sing to lift You up
You are my King
You are my King

Friday, May 1, 2009

Two Years

It didn't escape me this last Tuesday that it's been two years already since my reversion. Liturgically it's the Third Sunday of Easter, but I like noting it on the day of. :) I was just too busy that day to blog, unfortunately. The last weeks of the semester do that to you.

In a lot of ways, it feels like yesterday, but in others, I feel like it's been forever. The memories of the weeks leading up to my return are still so fresh in my mind--I had literally become Job grappling with Israel. Having been a cradle Catholic, the hardest things to accept weren't the doctrines and dogmas of the Faith, as is the case most often with converts. Those things were what I had been catechized in, no matter how weakly. What turned me upside down was the morality that I would submit myself to following my Confession. Not only was I a sinner, but I liked it that way. As cheap as the highs I got from my favorite vices may have been, I had come to define myself by them over the years. To give them up would be like giving up my identity. I didn't know how to be holy. I knew that when I crossed the Tiber I would immediately be knocked on my face with the weight of my failures. The most vivid memory of all was on the night before my reversion, as I sat in the wee hours of the morning doing my examination of conscience. I wept bitterly all through it, not just for shame, but for pride and selfishness as well. The Church was uncompromisingly right, and I knew that, but it didn't change the fact that cleaving to her was going to hurt like hell.

I'm not going to lie; it really did. The weeks immediately following my reversion were at times as turbulent as even leaving the occult had been. I had removed myself from things that I really loved, and was thrust into this "new" place with its foreign morals. I felt utterly isolated. There was no one to guide me at that point, and no one with whom I could share my struggles. My other half was not yet Catholic then, but I knew he was searching, and it was for that reason that I often felt reluctant to confide in him. It would have been easier if I had reverted at another time, sure, but I hold firm to the belief that if you wait for when you're "ready", you'll never make the the move. I truly did enter into it completely broken.

Today, my parents have more or less come to grips with my decision, and my friends and I have adopted a fairly successful live and let live attitude. Every so often, I find myself at the center of some name calling, criticism, and even downright ad hominem attacks in the classroom just recently. Do I appreciate it? Definitely not. To say I've handled my trials with complete grace and peace of mind would be foolish. Still, I hang in there when it really matters, and let my guard down in the company of those that I love.

I didn't ask for any of this, but I remember that the same holds true for Christ. We're going to have to navigate some hurdles once and a while, and some of us are burdened with more than others. I'm still trying to figure out where I fit in that scale.

Above all, He is my peace, and the Church my home. Now that I'm here, no matter what consequences it brings me, what I've found here is priceless. Regardless of what comes my way, I now have the tools to deal with hard times...particularly the blessing of being able to meet Him face-to-face in the Eucharist, to pour myself out in weakness in order to be filled again with strength.

It's been a wild ride, but one that I wouldn't trade for anything. I knew it when I knelt to pray right after my reversion, when the weight of my sins was lifted off my shoulders and suddenly, my mind stopped reeling. For four years I had searched for peace in so many things, many of them sinful and shallow. It was only when I followed Christ to Calvary in complete and not just partial obedience that I was fulfilled. Someone told me once on the journey that "The Truth isn't going to be easy to swallow. It's not about what makes you feel good."

I understand what she meant now. It's difficult at first, but given time and effort, things do settle. And when they do, you'll never be left wanting.