Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Invitation, Initiation, and the Power of the Sacraments

     Kevin and I were very moved by Saturday evening Mass this past weekend. We came to support a friend who was coming into the Catholic Church and who happens to be the roommate of our dear brother in Christ, John. We’d only met Stephen a few times and hadn’t really gotten to know him well, but when we heard that he was going to be joining the faith, we agreed we both wanted to be present to support him.     
     In some ways, we were prepared. As we do each day, we’d read aloud the Scripture readings for Mass that morning. We prayed for Stephen and his fiancée Andrea (who goes by Andi). We came to church knowing we would witness an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We had a card and a few small gifts to give him at the conclusion of the Mass.    
     In other ways, we were pleasantly surprised. We had no idea which Sacrament(s) of Initiation Stephen would be receiving. We weren’t sure if family members and friends were coming from out of town to support him. Truth be told, his roommate John didn’t even know the who or what, just the when and where for the event, but I guess that’s not a shocker since guys don’t tend to deal too much with details.
     Another friend of ours, Jeff was doing one of the readings, so we sat with him over by the lectern where John soon joined us. Stephen, Andi, their families, and friends were gathered in the first couple of rows directly across from us.  It was beautiful to see the joy and anticipation on Stephen’s and Andi’s faces. Seeing the two of them together on such a special day reminded me how incredible it felt when Kevin first started coming to Mass with me because he wanted to be there, participate in the Sacraments, and live what he learned. Faith has been very important to Andi, and I was really excited for her as well, because I know how significant it is to have the love of your life open his heart to the Lord.
     The love, power, and joy of the Holy Spirit shown across their faces as Stephen was Baptized, Confirmed, and made his First Communion. Looking across at the two of them, I couldn’t help beaming. I know that no other aspect of their relationship is going to be more important in their future as an engaged couple and as a married couple than that they both share a deep love and desire to serve the Lord and one another.
     I completely understood when Andi said after Mass that she couldn’t imagine a day, even their wedding, being any better. I happen to know that God continues to shower blessings upon those who love Him, so I wouldn’t put it past Him.
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