Friday, November 3, marks the fourth anniversary of my reception into Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I’m utterly amazed and awe-filled at God’s grace and mercy in calling me to be Catholic.
But that wasn’t the end of things. It seems to have been only the beginning.
One year ago November 8, I made friends with a wonderful Catholic from Chorale. He was marking his score when I plopped down beside him to chat. We’d already met, he’s one of the crowd who goes out after rehearsal for food and drinks, but we’d not become acqainted. I struck up an idle conversation, but something he said prompted me to ask him where he goes to church. When he told me, it took a second to realize that he had named one of the parishes in the diocese of Raleigh.
“You’re… Catholic?” I think I stammered. His face took on a certain set that told me he’d already (having only lived in NC a few months) taken a heavy hit of southern anti-Catholicism. He affirmed quietly, and with great dignity, that he is indeed Catholic. I nearly jumped off my chair. “I’m a convert! I just celebrated the third anniversary of my Confirmation!” and my brand-new friend’s face lit up like Christmas morning and he grabbed my hand and shook it clean up to the shoulder.
After chorale we sat side by side at the restaurant and talked and talked and talked. It was quickly evident that this is a man who is a joyful, intelligent Catholic (I have since learned that he is quite devout – that is to say, he’s wonderfully serious about his Faith). He was also nice! I don’t know when I’ve had such a delightful, stimulating evening.
During the course of our conversation, he mentioned that he is a student of John Paull II’d Theology of the Body. I’d heard of it through COL, but I’d never done any reading on the subject. He immediately offered me the loan of some tapes he thought he had in his car (he did).
Wow. Heavy. “like being hit by a freight train,” my friend recently said. Uh, yeah – right slam into the solar plexus. Painful but the best sort of painful. At times I was literally unable to catch my breath from its impact. You mean, Lord, that’s what it’s all about??? Being male and female, reflecting in our particular Part the Totality of Your image and likeness, being a living metaphor for the union between Christ and His Church?
My life will never be the same, thanks be to God, because of a remark, carelessly and spontaneously made, but a brand new friend.
Sometimes it’s not enough for us to know the “Thou Shalt NOT’s” of sin — sometimes we need to know the rest of the sentence — “So that thou SHALT delight in the fulfillment of God’s BEST PLAN for your life as a man or a woman.”