Monday, April 9, 2012

Oil, Bread and Wine

How can I even begin to describe the Easter Vigil? I could list what happened (fire, music, readings, prayer, confirmation, mass, amen). I could mention how I felt (prepared, nervous, bored, excited, unworthy, overwhelmed, amen). But I lack the skill to express what really happened, assuming the words exist at all.

Euphoric, or exultant, or entrancing, or ethereal—something with an e should come close.

I’ve felt the Holy Spirit before, but this time, I experienced being washed in the Spirit. Washed is the right word, because the feeling was thick like liquid, pouring down my head and along my body. I felt frozen by surprise, yet it seemed like an effort to stay standing.

And while that was wholly unexpected, I had braced myself for the Eucharist. I set the bar low as I’m apt to do, told myself not to expect too much and not be disappointed if it wasn’t life-altering. But I’d also told myself to be braced in case it was, because it was something for which I had been yearning for so long. And I was right to brace myself, because wow. It was a miracle in itself that my feet somehow got me from the chalice back to the pew. And for the second time in two weeks, the joyful tears came.

I don’t feel any different for the experience. I’m still as likely to sin making the same mistakes I’m apt to make. I’m still someone who holds her emotions in from others. I’m still a perfectionist. I still can’t say, “Before such and such date I believed that, but now I believe this.” I know this is supposed to change me, and maybe it has and I’m just too close to see it. But I don’t feel like a different person. I just feel more me, like I was always Catholic and just happened to be walking into the wrong building for the past 1,200 Sundays.

I think the reason I don’t feel different is that I didn’t do that much. God did. He brought me closer to Him. Why me and not others? I don’t know. What does this mean for me now? I don’t know. And I’m okay with not knowing. I know all I need to at this time. And I have a lifetime of continued conversion to figure out more.

“Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament … There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves upon earth.” -J.R.R. Tolkien

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