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My Life As A Catholic

alec vanderboom

Tonight marks 9 years as a Catholic.

I realized last week that I don't even have a pictures from the night when I took my First Communion. Can you imagine?

I've got thousands of pictures of my Marriage, and a few precious shots of my Baptism.

Yet First Communion, the same sacrament that I just put so much effort in last year for my daughter, passed me right by.

I didn't buy a new dress. I didn't do a ton of prayer prep. I just sort of showed up when they said to show up and sat in the pew with my name tag on it. (Jon thought he took some pictures but that was two digital cameras ago. I don't remember ever printing any out.)

I remember being really nervous. My Protestant parents were there and I was worried about how they would react to this big break with my past. My brand-new husband was there. He was so excited and so nervous.

I remember being really nervous and really numb.

I took the big Communion bit--- and nothing.

I remember feeling vaguely disappointed.

My sponsor was a complete stranger from Church who gave me a crucifix and a John Paul II rosary. "It's been blessed" she said. I took the gift without having any idea what "being blessed" meant. The crucifix still hangs over my bed.

That night my husband and I stayed up late and talked and talked. I don't think we were even talking about the faith--just happy and excited to be newlyweds together.

If I had to talk to that girl nine years ago, I'd half to bit my cheek to avoid giving her to much advice. GET A NEW DRESS, Stupid. Take some pictures. Get them developed and framed PRONTO! Did you really work very hard at examining your conscience before that First Confession? Read more Holy Scripture. Girl, is prayer anywhere on the agenda--at all?

But the thing I have to remember is despite my general cluelesness, despite my ignorance-- my first taste of the Eucharist worked.

It's Christ, in there. Body and Soul.

I don't have any pictures of that special Holy Night, Easter Vigil 2002--but I have the fruit. Five holy souls that I've carried in my womb. A Carmelite vocation. A strengthened marriage. A new life with Christ filled to the brim with Faith. Hope. And Love.