It started back in August (well, at least this round started in August, anyway). After months of dreaming and scheming, five of us gathered in Florida. We’d connected via the internet and were delighted to have an entire week to share in person time with each other. We shared laughter and tears, hugs and hearts, wine and chocolate, and it was beautiful. And on Sunday we joined one of our company and attended Catholic Mass.
I didn’t really give much thought to attending Mass, just happily agreed. Liturgy long ago rooted its beauty deep within me, and after a few years away, I was delighted for an excuse to return, and to return with people I loved. Several years ago I’d briefly explored the process of conversion to Catholicism, ultimately shelving the idea in realization of some familial complications, and some unhealthy people-pleasing motivations for the exploration. I was certain that this was a whim, now safely behind me, and I was free to simply enjoy the beauty of the liturgy, and seeing God in a different form of worship, without out any personal ramifications.
It would seem I was wrong. Very, very wrong.
I can’t explain the experience I had that day. I can’t even give a detailed description, because, like so many of my powerful experiences of God, the details are blurry in the face of the overwhelming knowledge that I met God in that place and moment. It was quiet and personal, not loud and public. It was one of those moments of deep personal spiritual communion, of a heart in the presence of the Holy Spirit, being melded, softened and moved.
It took a month or two for me to understand the extent of that movement. To understand that this was going to be one of those “trust God with the journey to the land he’ll show me” kind of movements. The kind of movement I’ve lived before, and the kind that ultimately gave this space its name.
For the last several months I’ve had conversations with friends, I’ve prayed (and begged, and screamed, and cried), and I’ve worked to avoid the growing reality within me. My heart is being moved to explore Catholicism again. To really explore it this time. For me. Not as a means of trying to please someone, but as a way of honoring this space that Jesus seems to have opened in my heart.
Honor is an important word here. Important enough that it led to the “A Place To Honor the Journey” tagline at the top of this blog. It’s the word I’ve returned to over and over as I’ve considered whether I was willing to explore Catholicism honestly. It’s a word that speaks of sacrifice, of commitment, of faithfulness and respect. It also seems the perfect word for a journey with unknown conclusions.
I’m being called to honor this exploration without knowing where it will lead. In my more fearful moments I cling to that reminder – that I don’t know where this will lead. I cling to it in those moments because the worst of my fears centre around this exploration leading to conversion, and since that is not (yet anyway) a foregone conclusion, I remind myself that I don’t need to fear these things just now. That I simply need to be faithful to the call to leave the place of space in which I’m comfortable, and venture out to see where Jesus leads. And so, slowly, carefully, I’m doing just that. Some days with more enthusiasm than others. Some days I just do it scared. But I’m doing it.