Tuesday, November 20, 2007

happy anniversary to me

It's kind of hard to believe that it's been a year already since I officially became a catechumen. If you weren't reading my blog back then, you can catch the highlights in a couple of posts--one reflecting some of what went through my head beforehand, and one following up the day after. There was a rather frantic flurry of e-mailed dialog, mostly between me and my then-pastor, that preceded the service, up to literally hours before, as well as one emergency visit from a couple of elders. In the midst of all that, I attended the Society of Biblical Literature conference in Washington over the weekend, which may have been good in that it kept me from saying or writing more than I did. But it was a very fast-paced few days, and I was relieved to get through it.

After so much build-up, it was almost anti-climactic what actually happened in the service. I just responded when they called the catechumens forward, was prayed for like everyone else, and went back to my spot. Looking back on it a year later, it seems even less of a milestone, because I do the same thing in every liturgy I attend. In that sense, becoming a catechumen was almost a non-event. There is no inaugural ritual--only the difference between not being one and being one. It has to happen sometime, but that's really all there is to it. Not to downplay the significance of the moment--because of the build-up, because Fr. Gregory came to our house to talk with Julie ahead of time, because we worked for a while on setting a specific date, because Julie was there in the service and brought a friend for moral support, because suddenly at the last minute there was vocal protest from the Evangelical church leadership, because I really did go through a lot of soul-searching before the leap, it was still a monumental occasion.

Quite a bit has happened since then, but the pace has seemed more relaxed. I think Julie and I have reached a somewhat better place in our relationship and on this whole issue (even though we still have a long way to go, and no idea where it's going to end). I've rejoiced to see my fellow catechumens complete their journeys into the Church. Today, my name is the only one on the list that remains from a year ago. Names have disappeared, and others have come in to replace them. I'm not giving up the first slot just yet, though :-) The timing is not mine to decide. Fr. Gregory says it's a kind of dance in my situation. I suppose in a sense, it is for everyone--just some steps are more complex than others. I've never been much of a dancer, but fortunately I don't have to lead in this case. My fate is in better hands than my own.

For now, I'm still glad just to be here on the doorstep. My own Entrance will come soon enough.


Jim N. said...

A year already? Wow... We look forward to getting you all in the door!

Benedict Seraphim said...


I can appreciate your struggle. In my case, the dynamic unfolded a bit differently. My wife and I were catechumens, in the formal sense, for only a few months before we were chrismated. But we'd been worshipping at our parish for nearly three and a half years (sort of our "informal catechumenate").

Ours was a challenging "dance" as you call it, though it was hardest at first and got better as time went on. Thankfully, we didn't have any other issues to deal with other than the dynamics of our own marriage. No in-laws to appease, no previous pastors or church leaders to answer to, or any of that.

When I think about it, my reaction is: "Only three years?! It seemed longer than that!" But in the midst of it, it sure did seem a long time.

I will leave the spiritual counsel to Fr. Gregory, but let me simply exhort you to continue in the patience and love you've demonstrated.