Last night, I received instructions on what to do for Mass on Confirmation day.
Lately, I’ve been feeling a lot less nervous about the whole process. During the Easter Vigil I watched some of my fellow RCIA classmates receive their sacraments, and it filled me with so much joy. They were so happy. God was in that church that evening, filling them with His Spirit. I left feeling renewed myself, between their dedication to the Church and the glory of our risen Lord.
But when I received that email, with the bullet-pointed list of where to go and what to do, it reminded me that I still have to go through it myself.
Those old nerves rose up, the knowledge of this being right but also the anxiety over the unknown. It’s exciting. It’s so exciting. But I recalled those days in the beginning, when I didn’t know anything. When I stared at a schedule at my first RCIA session in disbelief because right there, on paper, was the date of my Confirmation. It seemed impossible that it would come at all. Easter? Christmas was still months away at that point, so Easter was inconceivable.
Also last night, after reading over those instructions for the third time, I went back to St. Augustine’s Confessions. God has some sense of humor, because that night’s readings lead to his conversion in the garden. St. Augustine was distraught. He was at his lowest, having isolated himself from his friend so he may weep in peace. But God reached out to him. God, in His infinite patience and love, guided him to read a portion of Scripture that figuratively smacked him in the face.
“No further would I read; nor needed I: for instantly at the end of this sentence, by a light as it were of serenity infused into my heart, all the darkness of doubt vanished away… For Thou convertedst me unto Thyself, so that I sought neither wife, nor any hope of this world.” —St. Augustine, Confessions
I remembered my own moment of serenity. I had been cast in the darkness of doubt for months. Perhaps years. And God revealed himself in a singular moment. It was no lush garden; instead, it was the parking lot of the rectory. I sat in my car on that Saturday afternoon in August and said, “Okay, God. I’m gonna do this.” The two weeks until my first RCIA session seemed an infinitely long time to wait.
We need these little reminders at times. I know I do. So that the majesty of God doesn’t become commonplace. So that we’re not merely repeating prayers without contemplating them. He reminds me where I started, in that darkness of doubt, and the seemingly impossible way He brought me out of it. Because I still don’t understand how I’ve gotten to this point in my journey, nor will I ever, because it’s part of His mystery. He will continue to remind me, over and over, how it started. Where I came from. And I’m okay with that, because it reveals His wonder.
Confirmation is four days away. I don’t feel nervous because I doubt, nor because I don’t want to listen. It’s because I want to do it right. I want to honor Him the way He deserves to be honored. This Sunday is the start of that. It’s a new life—my own resurrection. May I never forget that.