How many people remember when they were baptized? Not many, right? Well, I remember it fully because I was baptized on April 23, 2011! I am one of many, many people who went through the RCIA program, or the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. This is a class that lasts typically 9 months and is similar to the religion classes that kids/ young adults take before confirmation, but it is much faster paced.
I was raised in a semi-Christian household but no one went to church and we never talked about God or anything. In my early years (7th grade-10th grade) I would have considered myself an atheist or agnostic. I didn’t know what I believed or if I even believed in anything. That all changed when I was a junior in high school and one of my closest friends passed away. (I’ll post in a later blog about my conversion) However; I turned to the church and decided to become Catholic. I went through all the classes and fell in love with Catholicism! On April 23, 2011 during the Easter Vigil, I was baptized, took first communion and was confirmed. I can’t even begin to describe the feeling of all this but I will try my best.
My baptism: I remember being with my best friend, who was my RCIA sponsor, and I was super nervous, I mean, all my studying and classes had lead up to this point!!!! I went to the bathroom and changed into the robes to be worn for my baptism. As I stood at the alter, in front of the baptismal waters, my mind was blank…I heard nothing, felt nothing and just stood there in complete reverence and silence. As I took my first steps into the water and began to kneel it felt like time had stopped, everything was in slow-motion and as my priest began to dunk my head and baptize me, everything made sense; my entire life made sense, it was a burning in my soul that I KNEW what my life meant. I was cleansed of all my doubts, all my frustrations, all my worries and all my sins. I felt as though a huge weight was lifted off my heart, I really can’t explain God’s love, because it is so infinite, it can’t be explained!
As if my baptism wasn’t enough to send me into euphoria, I immediately received first communion after. For the over a year and a half that I had gone to mass before actually becoming Catholic, I had never received Eucharist. I would go up during mass and be blessed and go on my way. Sure, that’s great, but I wanted the Real Deal, Jesus Himself. I wanted the Eucharist. At this moment, I was about to receive Eucharist and I couldn’t stop smiling, I was BEAMING ear to ear because I had waited…quite literally my entire life…for this moment. My priest always tried to give me Eucharist at mass before and then he joked saying, “When you actually can receive Eucharist, I’m probably going to forget and try to give you a blessing instead.” Well, he didn’t, to my surprise, and he held up Jesus, right there in front of my face and said, “The Body of Christ” I was so excited in that moment, probably more than I ever had been. I took His flesh and ate it. As simple as an act that is, it was the defining moment of my life and I finally felt one with Christ!
Confirmation: For real at this point during Easter Vigil, I thought I was going to pass out from all the excitement. With my family, my friends, and my fellow parishioners in the church, I finally received my finally “initiation” into the Catholic Church and again, I didn’t even hear words, all I knew is that I was there and it was surreal. Father put the confirmation oils on my forehead and I just wanted to jump up and down in excitement! The entire day was so full of life changing moments, I could have died on the spot and been very happy!
Becoming Catholic was the best day of my life, by far. It has been a great journey and I look forward to what God has in store for the rest of my life! This is all just the beginning.
May God always be with you,