It’s that time of year where our beautiful Catholic Church welcomes so many people who have made their way Home! RCIA, Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, usually begins around September in most parishes and ends with people making their profession of faith or being baptized, confirmed and receiving their first Holy Communion at Easter Vigil. For most people it is quite a journey. It’s different for everyone, but I have yet to meet anyone who hasn’t thought of it as a whirlwind journey full of struggles and grace.
I came into the Church five years ago. My conversion was the craziest of journeys which included a trip to Rome during Holy Week. I still remember standing at the altar and being confirmed. It was one of the greatest moments of my life. I knew at that moment that God had a lot of plans for my life. The only moment that was better than that one was the moment that I married my husband in the chapel of my parish six months later. What both of those moments had in common was that they were both amazing and I thought both of them were the end of a long journey.
That’s where I was wrong, they were just the beginning. There are so many things that I would like to go back and tell myself. Since I don’t have a time machine, I will just do the second best thing and write about what I wish I would have known back then. I hope if you are reading this and you are coming into the Catholic Church this weekend that you know you are loved. You were loved before you ever even made that first step towards this amazing place that we Catholics call Home.
1. You are not alone. No matter what lies the evil one tries to fill your head with when you are going through things, you are not alone. Ever. There are saints, angels and people in Mass every single day praying for you and loving you.
2. God loves you more than you think He does and nothing you do will ever change that. The goal is not to earn His love, but to just let Him love you and love Him back.
3. Catholics be crazy. We are like a family. We have our weirdos and we don’t always agree, but we all are in this together. Even the craziest Catholic will pray for you when you need it.
4. Ask for help. No matter what. Ask. Someone will help you.
5. Make friends with your angel. You have one and he is your greatest supporter. (Angels do not have gender, but I say “he” because I can.) Get to know your angel and always ask him to guide you throughout your day. Learn to figure out what he is trying to tell you. My angel is like Bubblebee on Transformers, he speaks to me through music. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true.
6. Mary. She is on your side. Get to know her.
7. Do not hang your identity on which side of the latest Catholic debate you are on. Hang your identity on Jesus. The rest comes and goes, but He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
8. You will go through the hardest things you have ever been through. People will let you down, your life will fall apart and you will want to walk away. Don’t do it. Hold on to the foot of Christ on the Cross and do not let go. Be honest with Him, even if it is telling Him how much you are mad at Him. He can take it. But whatever you do, do not let go.
9. Nobody in this Church is perfect, do not expect them to be. Learn how to forgive and move on.
10. Bloggers are not the end all be all of the Catholic Faith. God is. Do not read blogs more than you read your bible.
11. Never stop praying. The first and most important thing to build up is your prayer life. Pray the way that works for you the best, but set time aside every single day to pray. Without a prayer life, the evil one will knock you off your feet.
12. Always be kind to everyone, no matter what.
13. Get to know the saints, they weren’t perfect. Know their stories.
14. This moment that you are in right now; this high, this happiness, this glow, this right here, remember it. Remember it so that when you feel like God is nowhere to be found, you can look back and remember that He is always with you.
Welcome Home!!!! God bless each and every single one of you!!