Monday, April 12, 2004

A Rare Privilege

I had the most interesting experience that went past me because I was distracted. There is a marvelous irony when a convert (edited by me, thanks Karl for the note) priest places his hand on a candidate's shoulder and says, "The Lord receives you into the Catholic Church." You can sense their fear melting, the joy coming into their eyes, and the realization that everything they hoped for is now happening. My head was swimming when I was initiated into the Catholic Faith, and it moved me to tears that night. God so loved the world that He did not forget one sad little fellow in Oklahoma. I hope that is what they came to know. My parish in Alva is stronger by 6. And I hope those in attendance got the message too. It is time to change and take all this very seriously.

It is the logical conclusion of my own conversion that I would be bringing people to the font and making new Christians or perfecting the conversion of other Christians, through my sacramental ministry. Even if I had not been called to the priesthood, I know that I would be working to help people become Catholic. How I am not sure? I also know though that my soul would be in jeopardy if God had not called me to the priesthood. While the sacrament of Holy Order is to build up communion in the Church, it can result in salvation for the one ordained if he gives himself freely in loving service.

I think I know what St. Paul experienced. He too went from darkness to light and then spent the rest of his life doing the same. I did that for the first time at the Easter Vigil 2004. In the past, I have been closely involved with RCIA but this was the first year I administered all of the aspects of initiation. From start to finish, these people were guided by the Holy Spirit and enlightened by Christ. It is an awesome responsibility to assist in this. And terrifying. And I am already working on improving next year's programming.

And to think, I missed the event because I was fighting to remember what came next!

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