Last year about this time I went away for a silent retreat and came back a Roman Catholic. In the silence, I heard God asking me if I was willing to carry the cross. I heard God calling me to the Catholic faith. I remember how it felt. I cried a lot. I felt joy and terror and peace and Jesus. It was such a big, sweet, loving, encounter.
Simon of Cyrene was there. The cloud of witnesses looking on. The quiet of an empty church and solitude. I wrote a lot, and read scripture. I slept for hours at a time. I walked.
When I got back I was teetering on the edge of radical change and knew it. And knew it would be hard. And suspected it would be beautiful. I was thirsty, so thirsty for deeper connection with Christ. I longed for him. It was at once lovely and painful.
I met with a priest and began the unpleasant task of finding a parish. It was funny that it had never occurred to me that being a Catholic meant finding a new church. Truly one of my least favorite tasks.... I checked out a few parishes and mostly felt uncomfortable and foreign. Thankfully, I wound up in a church with a wonderful pastor. He met with me weekly to prepare for confirmation. I also met with a couple from the church. And while the process was hard, it was also clear that it was the right process.
For me, the liturgical year feels more relevant than the calendar one. Christ the King is coming and I am coming to the close of one of the most eventful years in my spiritual journey. When I look back, I can hardly believe that in the midst of all the chaos at my work, I was simultaneously undergoing a radical spiritual transformation. But I believe that the conversion was a gift God gave me to equip me for the work he has planned for me.
This year, as I enter into silence and the rhythm of the Liturgy of the Hours, I pray that I will, once again, seek his will for me. And rest in his presence. And praise him. And love him. I love Him.