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Monday, April 09, 2007

Thoughts and new old questions

The last few days have been wonderful. This weekend's Easter Vigil marked my first year in the Catholic Church (well, based on the liturgical calendar at least). This year was the also the first time that I had made it to all of the Easter Triduum services. I cannot now remember the reason that I wasn't able to attend the Good Friday service last year.

I was also excited to celebrate in my new parish which I love. At this time last year (and through the summer into August) I was searching for a job. At times it was very frustrating and I would have to remind myself to trust God to open up an opportunity for me and to send me where he wanted me to be. I enjoy my job and believe that God has presented me with a great opportunity. However, I am convinced that a big reason that He sent me to Lawrence, Kansas was the St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center. I'm a staff member at the University and as such this is my parish. It is a wonderful parish were the Faith is alive and vibrant. It gives me great hope for the future of the Church that the students here are exposed to such a great display of the Catholic Faith.

The Easter Triduum liturgies were beautiful. My last parish made heavy use of guitars and contemporary music (not to say that it isn't a great place also. It was there after all that my faith was nurtured). St. Lawrence is much more traditional in it's music selections and has an outstanding organ. The incense was so thick all weekend that you could cut it with a knife. St. Lawrence also uses Latin quite a bit for the Gloria, Sanctus, and Kyrie (okay, Greek on that last one). And I will admit that I had trouble singing the Gloria at the Easter Vigil because I was getting a bit choked up. The same thing happened last year. I think that moment when the Gloria is sung at the Vigil is my favorite moment of the entire year.

During the past few days I have found a renewed joy in my Faith. I haven't been able to get the Gloria out of my head since the Easter Vigil. A couple of other things also happened. Since I was in RCIA I have wrestled with the notion of Communion in the hand vs. on the tongue. We were never given any instruction on this unfortunately and I ended up going along with the crowd and receiving in the hand. Since, then I've always been too nervous to try receiving on the tongue even though I was convinced that it would be the much more reverent option. Right before communion on Holy Thursday I made up my mind to receive the on the tongue. What a difference!!! By Easter Sunday (having a couple of receptions on the tongue under my belt) I noticed that I was much less worried about dropping the consecrated host and much more focused on my Lord whom I was about to receive in the Eucharist. I don't think anything short of an directive from the Pope or Magisterium will cause me to revert back to Communion in the hand.

I've also decided to really try to go to daily Mass. Again, St. Lawrence being the great parish that it is makes this really easy. They offer two every day. So this morning I got up and went to the 8:00 am. What a great way to start my day. I usually am not a Monday person but I think today went much better than usual. So far so good, but I should avoid being boastful as that is the surest way to fall. Right now, I'm going to shoot for making it to Mass every day of the Octave of Easter and hopefully my daily Mass attendance will continue from there.

The Easter Triduum also saw the return of some thoughts about my vocation that I thought, or at least had tried to convince myself, that I had resolved. I found myself questioning again whether or not God could be calling me to the priesthood. I can think of many obstacles to that, which is exactly what I started to do immediately. But then I realized that if that is what God really wanted and if I turned it over to His hands he would resolve those obstacles. However, that being said and I am still pretty sure that the priesthood is not the vocation that God has in store for me. But I do pray for the strength of heart and spirit to say "yes" to whatever he asks me to do.

Along those lines, I think some of this may come from a need to become more involved in the Church. Being a convert and moving 300 miles has left me not knowing very many Catholics, well not practicing ones anyway. I realized that interaction with others in the Church is pretty much limited to the Sign of Peace during Mass, my blogs and those that I read, and the Defenders of the Catholic Faith message board. Not that I don't treasure the friendships I've made on the blogs and message board, but it's not quite the same as having some live face to face interaction with people. So, I think that meeting people has to really be a focus over the coming months. Of course, I am unsure what turn my life will take in the next couple of months. My current job is not the most permanent of positions. I currently have my eyes open for new jobs and in my line of work that almost always involves moving some distance. So as of right now I'm not sure if I will still be in Lawrence or moving somewhere else come the end of June. But, during the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday masses I started to have a strong idea that I should investigate the possibility of joining the choir if I end up staying here. It seems that the choir, like almost everything at the Center is open to students and the "permanent community" (i.e. faculty/staff) alike. I'm not the best singer in the world but I was the the University Choir back at Arkansas for two or three semesters. So basically my thought process went, "maybe I am called to be a priest, no I'm just longing for more involvement in the Church, maybe I should join the choir". Anyway, we'll see where all of this goes.


Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

Good questions. Sadly the music at my parish is too modern for me to sing it confidently (trust me), so the only option is the Cathedral Choir. The problem is, though, that I don't have an awful lot of time for activities outside of work (I get tired too easily); however, if my life were to change immensely then I would obviously have time for that change...I am hinting here at your question, which is one I've been thinking about, musing over, and trying to listen hard to God about, for at least two years (consciously) now--and the one that lead me to the Catholic Church. It's a good question... let it percolate around your mind. :)

Runningmom said...

I can't get the Gloria out of my head either! Thanks for the warm welcome you left on my blog.

Annabel said...

I would urge you to join the choir. That has been one of the best ways for me to actually get to know people in my parish. Each time we have a major celebration, we have a larger choir and the people change so I get to meet new members all the time. And it is such a blessing to lift your voice to God for His glory.
I enjoyed reading your post. I, too, celebrated my anniversary as a Catholic and it has been a wonderful blessing!