Sunday, January 8, 2012

Conversion Part 3

Today in Mass we will celebrate the feast of the Epiphany.  I started celebrating on the traditional day of Ephiphany, January 6.  We made a King's Cake, and before we enjoyed it, we moved our kings back to our nativity sets.  I couldn't wait for today!

I love Epiphany because I have had a few epiphanies of my own over the years.  One such epiphany came in the midst of volunteering (being on team) for a Walk to Emmaus.  Walk to Emmaus is an ecumenical form of Cursillo.  In our area, the "Walks" were held in a local Cursillo center, which had formerly been a small convent house.  It had a small, simple chapel with a very large crucifix.

Although I was close to two Catholic families growing up, I had not spent that much time in front of a crucifix.  I have noticed that Catholic children are not bothered by the image of the crucifix, but not having grown up with it, it was an uncomfortable image for me.  Prostetants place a lot of emphasis on the empty tomb and that tomb is symbolized by the empty cross.  Crucifix's were not a part of my world.

As team members, we were encouraged to spend time alone in the chapel in prayer.  One late night, something overcame me in that time of prayer.  I did not hear a loud voice or see a choir of angels.  It was nothing like what I'd read about in books.  Yet suddenly and quite discernibly, a sense of profound peace came over me as I sat gazing at that crucifix.  Suddenly, it became so deeply beautiful to me.  In fact, instead of seeing the crucifixion as something that had to be endured to get to the empty tomb, I saw the true sacrifice and importance of the cross.  I saw that figure, then, as the slain lamb, the atonement for every sin of my life, past and present. It was dazzling yet still utterly keenly sincere; it was all-embracing.  (I am finding it quite challenging to describe as I have never spoken of it before.)  I found myself prostrate at the bottom of the altar steps though I do not remember thinking to move there.  I stayed there through the night, alternately praying and dozing, unwilling to move.  I was vaguely aware of others moving in and out of the chapel during the night, but no one disturbed me.  When the light of dawn began to beam through the windows, I reluctantly removed myself from the chapel, forever changed.

It was one of many epiphanies I would have in my life and one of the most profound, as well.  I have not thought of that event in some time, but was reminded of it when listening to the video reflection for today, Janary 8.  As the speaker in that reflection suggests, many times in my life God has sent me my own personal messenger, even once in the form of star.  This time it was in the form of the crucified Lord and it was a definite turning point for me.

More to come . . . happy Epiphany Sunday!`

Part One of my story
Part Two  - Midnight Mass
Part Four - Seeker
Part Five - Signs and Wonders
Part Six - Annulment
Part Seven - Taking it on Faith

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