It’s been a long time since I’ve written on here. So much has been going on in my life, all things of progress and joy. Last night was one of the most incredible nights of my life. On 3-31-18, at Easter Vigil Mass, I received baptism, confirmation, and communion in the Catholic Church. After months of preparation and a lifetime of feeling like something was missing, I’ve never felt more whole than I do, now.
I didn’t sleep for the week before the mass. I was nervous, anxious, and scared. In the morning before mass, I tried to stay in bed for as long as I could because I feared the anxiety would kick in full-force once I left the cozy cocoon I made for myself in my room. Finally I had to get up and I felt this knot in my stomach – the good kind, like before you go to a concert or go on vacation or buy a new car. That excitement that had to settle somewhere so it took home in the place you hunger – trying to fill that hunger with the joy you are about to experience.
Upon arriving at church, things began to sink in. I felt so small in the big, overwhelming space. I changed into my robes and took my seat with my now godmother, and looked up at the crucifix. Even Jesus seemed smaller than normal, but I think it was just my mind playing tricks on me. Later in the night he would be larger than ever.
As family and friends began to arrive the nerves subsided. The distraction of conversation was a blessing – I was no longer focusing on the nerves, rather I was focusing on the love and support I had. I could see the face of Jesus in every person I talked to and I remembered why I was there in the church, about to receive the sacraments.
Then I had to walk to the back of the church with my fellow elect and candidates, our sponsors, and the clergy, and the nerves set in again. I could feel my heart rapidly pounding in my chest, but I also felt comforted by those around me. To be a part of such a sacred and celebratory mass is such an honor and a blessing. Walking before the church and taking my seat – I finally had a moment to settle in and listen to the gifts our God and our Lord has given us.
After four readings, a reading from the Gospel, and a beautiful homily, it was time to go before the church and ask for baptism. I almost forgot what I was supposed to respond because I got so caught up in the moment, but thankfully the awkward silence caught my attention and myself and the others asked of the church the gift of baptism.
When walking over to the baptismal font, hearing my name in the song of saints, everything began to set in again. There was no turning back now. I was standing near the baptismal font – the first of my group to go in, and my heart was pounding so hard I was afraid other could see it. I worried that when I went to step down into the waters my legs would not be able to support me. I paused and looked across the water to see my sponsor on the other side, and I knew everything would be alright.
As one priest led me into the water and into the hands of the other priest, I could feel joy I had never felt before. Of course, being first comes with its ups and downs. A moment of laughter for the crowd – I got into the water only for the priest to realize there was no pitcher for water. It was a pretty vital part of the night but it was quickly fixed.
Next thing I knew, I was cleansed. Holy water was being poured over me and I was a new person. I was helped up and out of the water and into the arms of my Godmother. I was so overwhelmed by joy and happiness that I needed a minute to take a deep breath and comprehend what has just happened to me. I stepped back and out of the way and watched my fellow elect and now Catholic brothers and sisters experience the same joy I had – it was incredibly beautiful.
After everyone had experienced the beautiful and blessed sacrament, we all rushed to change into some dry clothes. It was a quick affair but it gave me a moment to reflect on baptism before I headed back down to the altar for the sacrament of confirmation.
Oh, confirmation, another overwhelming experience. I expected it to be less exhilarating than baptism, but I was completely wrong. Being sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit, having my godmother standing with me to promise to leave and guide me, to receive prayers and blessings from people who have become so close to me – I was wholly overwhelmed with love and peace and joy. I was crying more than I would like to admit, but I know I wasn’t alone. I could hear the sniffling of many around me, and it was a relief to know I wasn’t the only one crying in front of hundreds of people.
Next was the bearing of the gifts and the Eucharist. Before receiving the Eucharist, however, a sign of peace. I received so many congratulations and signs of peace from those I love and am proud to call friends, it was a moment of pure joy and true peace. Of course I had sat through the ritual of the Eucharist many times, but knowing that I was about to receive the blood and body of Jesus for the first time – it was so powerful to witness the consecration of the Eucharist. To kneel and pray with my brothers and sisters was a truly beautiful moment. Acknowledging that He was brings us together in this truly beautiful and wonderful and mysterious sacrament was something quite extraordinary.
Getting up to receive the Eucharist was an incredible moment. I’m very grateful to receive these sacraments later in life when I was able to know what it really means. Comprehending such a powerful thing was what made the experience even more special. To be one with Jesus, to eat his body and drink his blood, it’s something I can’t describe. The moment is completely unique and individual, but for me, it was outstanding.
As mass came to an end, I stopped and thought about the things I had just experienced. I came into full initiation with the Catholic Church in less than two hours. I had the people I love most in the world there with me, and most importantly, I was there celebrating the resurrection of my savior Jesus Christ.
Without a doubt March 31st, 2018 was the most incredible night of my life. I could try to describe why, but it wouldn’t make sense. Just trust me when I say I am blessed beyond measure to have the most amazing Godmother in the world who helped guide and lead and support and love me as we went through this unbelievable journey. I’m blessed beyond measure to receive the love of my creator and of my savior, Jesus Christ. I’m blessed beyond measure to be a Catholic Christian.