Reflections on a Mission

I began this blog in April with the intention of sharing pithy reflections and insights on the Christian life but it quickly deteriorated to the general sort of “oh look isn’t this cute” sort of outlet. Well, I needed the practice and the warm-up, I suppose; I certainly wasn’t experiencing the pithy sorts of thoughts and insights I had wanted!

I think the direction of this blog is about to change — I hope for the better. My parish, St. Anthony of Padua, had a Mission this week. For my non-Catholic friends, Mission is kind of the Catholic equivalent of Revival services, with a very important twist: it seems that in the evangelical circles where I hung out for more than 20 years, revival was a strong emotional stirring-up. It took my introduction to Keith Green’s Last Days Ministries to introduce me to the revival literature of the 19th century, particularly that of Charles G. Finney to point me to a direction of the deepest meanings of revival. The Catholic Mission goes even deeper than that.

The first Mission I attended was at this same parish, back in ’97, given by the Redemptorist Fathers. One of the Fathers with us that week — when I was very much drawn to the Church but not ready to dive headlong into converting — gave a homily (sermon) on the Crucifixion that was the most powerful I had ever heard. I’d been told the Catholics don’t get preaching like that. They most certainly do! And some of us are blessed to be able to get high-quality preaching every day.

Well, this Mission was also an answer to prayer for me. Fr. David Wilton of the Fathers of Mercy was our Mission speaker. Over the course of five days and six talks, he led those of us in attendance into a deeper union with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ — beginning with the promise that “God has a plan” to the effects of sin and the importance of Confession, the centrality of the Eucharist in the life of Faith, morality and love, and finally “The Importance of Prayer.”

I didn’t feel my emotions stirred up and manipulated. There was no hollering or dancing about on the altar or raising of hands or any of the outward and superficial signs of religious fervor — but everywhere around me, I felt people bending their heads forward and saying “yes” to a deeper life of faith and fidelity to Christ.

I certainly said “Yes” several times over this week. I went to Confession on Wednesday night and laid before my spiritual director and friend, God’s representative to me, my most grievous and recurring sins, found forgiveness and the strenght to begin anew… again (for the umpteenth time).

I hope that from this point on my blog will be both a celebration of Faith and an encouragement in Faith. I’ll probably be posting more about things that resonate with my own needs as I strive to be “remade in the image of Christ” — about being “born again,” Confession, the Eucharist, vocation, exploring a possible call to religious life… The most intimate details of our lives are also the most universal, so I can only hope that my thoughts and reflections will have some effect of helping me and my new friends grow closer to the One Who calls us to take up our cross and follow Him.

Pray for me.

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