"Let unity, the greatest good of all goods, be your preoccupation." - St. Ignatius of Antioch (Letter to St. Polycarp)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Two years ago today


The Institution of the Eucharist
Joos van Wassenhove (1473-1475)


"Magnificat"
Composed by Arvo Pärt

On this day in 2006, my wife and two daughters and I were received into full communion with the Catholic Church, were all confirmed, and all received first communion. Seventeen days later I wrote the following:

"I am deeply moved in my soul at every mass. I find it to be extremely enriching, edifying, and profoundly beautiful. I sit in the very front, and after I partake, I kneel in prayer and I keep hearing the priest say over and over, "the body of Christ", as each person receives the Eucharist. I hear Christ given to each person; I hear Christ giving Himself to each person; I hear the body of Christ all around me, every beautiful person of all races and ages, all joined together by that act on Calvary and in that act on Calvary, all united in our love for Christ and sharing in His act of self-giving. I have never experienced anything more spiritually edifying and upbuilding in my entire life. In the Eucharist, I experience the love of Christ, that love than which no love is greater, the love shown in His giving up of His very body and blood for my salvation. In the Eucharist I am made a fellow participant in the sufferings of Christ; as I receive His body and blood I am so brought into union with Him that I feel as though I am also encountering His sufferings, the sufferings for which and by which my sins are removed. In the Eucharist I am raised up with Christ to where He is; I am assured of the resurrection of my body and life everlasting joined mysteriously but truly to Him who is Life Itself. In confession I am confronted with the gentleness and patience of Christ whose mercy is without limit. In Catholicism, particularly the mass and the sacraments, I encounter the living Christ, and am deeply and truly blessed and raised up in my faith and my love for God."

To all those who helped me find the way home, your gifts of courage, charity, gentleness, prayer and patient listening will always remain a part of me and my family. We are eternally indebted, and ever grateful. Thanks be to God.

4 comments:

Neal Judisch and Family said...

Bryan,

Very edifying to read this. I remember feeling substantially the same way my first time, particularly in regards to the communion of the saints effected through participation with Christ Himself, in His flesh and blood. But even that wasn't the 'high point' for me; this is a mystery which just keeps deepening.

Thanks for sharing this.

Neal

Thos said...

If I may, why did you not join at the Easter Vigil? I do not understand why [most? people join at that service, but then others seem to join throughout the year.

Peace in Christ,
Tom

Principium Unitatis said...

Neal,

Thanks for you comments.

Tom,

The Catholic Church has made it clear that it does not want to treat candidates (those who have been baptized) like catechumens (those who have not been baptized). So candidates may be received during the year (or at Easter), while catechumens are typically received only at Easter.

Until this Fall, the parish where we went through RCIA has done a 2x/year RCIA cycle. One cycle finishes around the end of September, and then the other finishes at Easter. I had been attending RCIA since May of 2005, but my wife didn't join me in attending RCIA until January of 2006. So she wasn't ready to be received at Easter 2006. But the Church deemed us ready to be received when we finished the next RCIA cycle in September of 2006, and didn't see any reason for us to wait until Easter of 2007.

In the peace of Christ,

- Bryan

Thos said...

Bryan,

Thanks! I was always curious about how various people entered the Church at times other than Easter. The distinction between baptized and unbaptized non-Catholics makes sense -- it's good to see that expressed by the Church.

Peace in Christ,
Tom