Monday, April 16, 2007

In Gratitude

They were unexpected...the cards and flowers left on my desk.

"Thank you for all that you did to help me come into the Church," one card said.

Here was a box of chocolates and there a vase of lavender tulips. And here was a bottle of hand lotion--a most practical gift. Through the winter months, my wearing of tipless gloves while teaching Catechumenate became a running joke. Catechumenate class fell in between Masses for which I had to play the organ. Thus, the gloves to keep my hands from getting cold and stiff.

Another wrote: "Your humble service was a testament to your love for God."

I felt a stab of guilt and embarrassment, knowing that I hardly deserved this kind of esteem. What did I do, really, but merely to share what I'd been given. And isn't that what we're all to do in fidelity to our baptismal vows?

Everyday, in the dimness of the church for early morning Mass, I receive the most incredible gift of all in the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. Was there really a time when I wasn't Catholic? How did I manage? Yes, there was a time when I wasn't Catholic and it was very much like being on the outside peering into a window, wanting to be in that room next to the fire. But stubbornness had me returning to the familiar cold room where aching longing was a constant companion.

When my whole family and I were finally received into the Church, my priest gently patted my cheek and said softly, "Welcome home." How could I think about going into the pew to sit and not give that homecoming joy away.

So, no, the sacrifice wasn't really much of one. I received far more than I gave. It was a privilege to be there at the door welcoming the stranger in. And in return, I was drawn into intimate parlors where family pictures were shared, and life stories were exchanged. And what higher tribute is there than to be asked to have a picture taken with them, realizing that that snapshot will have its place in the family album.

This week, another round of inquiry classes begins, bringing a whole new set of people. I can't wait to hear their questions.

1 comment:

Tom Reagan said...

Awesome, awesome, awesome!