Wednesday, May 14, 2014

My Faith Life: Part II

Sometime during the latter half of middle school, the parishes in town began to alternate hosting a Totus Tuus team during the summer. The first time I went was a game changer for me. It was the most intense religious education I had ever had, and I was in awe of the faith that seemed to radiate from the team members. None of the men in my family attended Mass on a regular basis, and only some of the women. We had four young adults willing to answer any questions that we had about our faith. We learned about the mysteries of the rosary, talked about daily readings, lwe had lessons straight from the catechism, we went to daily Mass, and had the opportunity to go to confession. We even were given tours of the church. Time spent inside the church that was not dedicated to Mass, and it was beautiful to me.

One day, I had a pocket filled with sunflower seeds. (It was softball season after all.) I had been mindlessly eating them most of the day, and then I realized that we were all walking to Mass and I had consumed some of the seeds within the fasting hour before the Eucharist. I was incredibly sad. I wanted to receive the Eucharist, and I didn't want someone to think I had some awful sin on my soul! I was preoccupied throughout the Mass. I was kneeling in front of a statue of Mary, and I kept asking for permission to receive. I kept asking for a sign. I looked up at the statue during the Eucharistic prayer, and for a moment, her lips seemed to move. I heard a voice coming from within me that told me to receive my Lord.

I instantly felt torn. I didn't know if I was imagining it or if I had truly been given permission. My rational self weighed the severity of the situation: it was a few small sunflower seeds, so I was probably in the clear anyway. I stopped worrying over that matter either way, and felt as though Mary had patted me on the head and smiled at me.

My desire to know more about the Church, the saints, and God was only fueled from this point on. I never missed a week of Totus Tuus. I had innocent crushes on the male team members at times sure, but they had a passion for Christ that excited me. I was very much a willing participant in youth activities in high school as well. It is a hard feeling to describe: it was not so much that I was "on fire" with my faith as it was that I was bursting with questions, maybe envious of those youth that seemed to have close experiences with Christ, and filled with the desire to have it in my own life.

In retrospect, I wanted the fireworks. I wanted the dramatic experience of seeing God. That desire calmed down over time, but my interest in Catholicism did not.

Our Lady of Guadalupe hosted Totus Tuus the first year I attended.

1 comment:

  1. I am enjoying your stories, Jess. They are beautifully innocent. They are the story of one soul's journey. I'm a believer in stories and appreciate yours.

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