Sophie has been preparing for her confirmation. She’s chosen her dress from the assortment of white procession dresses we have gathered over the years.  She has decided on a patron saint and a sponsor, and now has only a couple of pages to work through in her preparation book.
“Did you have to fill in a workbook before you were confirmed?” Sophie asks me.
“No. I was an adult and I went to some classes.”
Sophie smiles. “Did you have to go to classes with all the school kids?” Some of our other children attended confirmation preparation classes with the school children of our parish. She imagines me sitting in a classroom on a little chair, an adult going back to school.
“No, they were classes for adults who wanted to become Catholics.” Sophie is still smiling. “Anyway, what is wrong with adults joining in with the younger kids?”
“Oh I don’t know. It just doesn’t seem right.”
Sophie finds it hard imagining me entering the Church as an adult. Being a Catholic is an integral part of who she is. She has always belonged to God. A few days after she was born, she was baptised. She grew up in front of the tabernacle, received Jesus when she was seven and now is looking forward to being confirmed. Isn’t that how all Catholics do it?
I was talking to a friend, Nancy. She was telling me how in the Depression, when money was short, a mother would make her daughter a veil that would be worn for all three sacraments: First Holy Communion, confirmation and matrimony. A mother would spend many love-filled hours decorating the edges of the veil with exquisite embroidery. On the daughter’s First Holy Communion day, the veil would reach to the floor. On her confirmation day, it would touch the back of her knees. And on her wedding day, the veil would now fall to the middle of her back.
I love that image of a child growing up in the Church, growing into her veil as she receives the sacraments and grows in Faith.
It is such a gift to be born into the Church and to receive the sacraments at the appropriate age: to belong to the Church from the day of baptism. Our children have received this gift. They haven’t had to go searching for the Truth.
I think again of Sophie smiling at the thought of me attending confirmation classes with the children. Me sitting there with my baby-sized Faith with all those cradle Catholic children, those children who wonder, “Why isn’t everyone confirmed as a child? Shouldn’t adults already know all this?”  Wasn’t everyone born to the Truth?
No. I wasn’t.
I wonder: How did I ever get here? Why did God draw me to the Catholic Church?  I know God loves us all and wants all of us in His Church. But not everyone responds.  In fact, I was one of the hard-hearted and resistant ones. How did God break down the barriers that were keeping me away? Why me?  It is not as if I did anything extraordinary to merit being brought into the Church.
But still… here I am. It is a mystery.
I think about this quote from I Believe in Love:
Why again do you have this grace of being chosen to be part of a Christian elite? Because you have been loved with predilection. There is no other explanation. And if you are a convert, you must unite yourself with the thanksgiving of a St Paul or a St Augustine. What confidence He had in you, to give Himself in this way. You could say you were in some way a need of His Heart.
A need of His Heart? God needed me?
Andy has gone to town to pick up Sophie’s white dress from the dry cleaner’s. On her big day, she will probably wear the dress with her First Holy Communion veil. It is not a long veil. It will reach the middle of her back and not the back of her knees. She won’t wear it again on her wedding day. I have only just found out about that tradition. Sophie won’t grow into her veil as she grows in her Faith.
But still… I pray that Sophie’s Faith will grow and one day she will come to appreciate the gift of being born to the Truth. Every day of her life she has belonged to God, unlike me who wandered lost for many years.
But maybe being called into the Church  as an adult is in some ways an even greater gift, a miraculous gift. I am still pondering, “Why me?”
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  1. My very heartfelt response is why not you. He called you and you responded. He delights in how you are raising your children.
    I have learnt and loved so much more in my Faith since being an adult and a Mum.
    May God Bless you young Sophie and continue to call you deeper into his love.

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  2. What a beautiful comment, Leanne. Thank you! So glad God kept calling me until I listened.

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  3. I've had these thoughts, too, Sue. And, also, why then? The timing is a mystery, too, don't you think? Especially, when you're praying for other conversions. Haven't we been so blessed? There must be a huge line of links, like the apostolic one. In our case, from me to you to Andy to his parents, I guess, and who knows who else was involved or prayed along the way! Exciting!!:)

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  4. Yes, Vicky we are very blessed. The timing? Sometimes it seems we have to wait so long for a conversion. Why when only good can come from it? Confidence it will happen! Only God knows the right time.

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  5. Hi Auntie Sue.
    I rember the day when I had my comfirmation. I rember practising for it at the school at the church. It was very fun practising for it.
    My comfirmation dress was a white and black dress it had pink flowers on it to. I hope Shophie has a good comfirmation day.

    Love from Melanie xo xo

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  6. Hi, my beautiful niece! Thank you for your comment, Melanie. Do you have a photo of you wearing your confirmation dress? You could put it on your blog and then I could see how you looked on your special day. Love A. Sue xxxx

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  7. The timing is exactly as God planned for you... so He could bless us through you and your blog! Converts to the faith can have a better and unique understanding of our faith because they're learning the basics in a class. It's not years of hearing it bit by bit and not recalling why we believe something. Perhaps it was taught "Catholics believe...etc" with no explanation of why.
    I blogged today about Purgatory and the feeling of urgency I have regarding this. I believe Our Blessed Mother has brought me here on this quest to learn more about Purgatory. I was planning on emailing you today about what you've learned of Purgatory but it's here instead! God Bless!

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  8. I am so glad that God called you to His Church and that you responded. You are now inspiring many people and touching lives through the sharing of your faith on you blogs.
    I am so happy for Sophie. She looks so beautiful in her dress and veil.
    I had never heard of the old veil tradition - what a beautiful tradition that is!

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  9. I'm glad that God called you to His Church and that you responded! You are inspiring so many people through sharing your faith on your blogs!

    I had never heard of the veil tradition - What a neat idea!

    Sophie looks so beautiful in her dress and veil!

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  10. Noreen, "He could bless us through you and your blog!" This is such an unexpected answer to my question! Thank you. You are so encouraging.

    Always feel free to email, Noreen. Hearing from you is such a treat. I will hop over and read your purgatory post and comment. I love sharing on your blog. God bless.

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  11. Hi Dana, I think I have just published two slightly different versions of the same comment from you. I think I will keep them both!

    You and Noreen, have made my day with your comments about my blog. I really didn't expect such an answer. I could say the same about your blogs too. Do you teach religion, Dana? You have a wonderful way of sharing our Faith.

    I like the veil tradition too! I shall have to post some photos of Sophie on her confirmation day. Only 7 days to go! God bless!

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  12. It is a gift that you are here. That we are here. We are where we are supposed to be. We converts have something to give cradle Catholics and they have something to give us.
    It is all good. God is good.

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  13. You are right, Colleen! Yes, God is so very good. May He bless you!

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