Fifteen years ago this evening, I was received into the Catholic Church in a brief but beautiful ceremony during the Easter Vigil Mass. In one fell swoop, I received the Sacrament of Confirmation and made my public profession of fidelity: “I believe and hold to be true all that the Catholic Church proposes and teaches.” Then, within a few moments, I encountered my Lord for the first time in the Eucharist. The gifts I had received from my wonderful, faithful parents decades earlier – a knowledge of Jesus Christ, a deep appreciation of the Scriptures, and a thoroughly Christian view of the world – reached their full flower in a matter of moments. Meanwhile, in a sad commentary on the continuing disunity of the Body of Christ, my mother, the finest Christian I know, sat weeping in the second pew, bewildered by what to her appeared to be loss, not gain.
I have often reflected on the strange fact that the Easter Vigil passed without much meaning for me. After so many months and years of preparation, the actual event was anticlimactic. The late hour, the incense, the music, the crowd, the bishop in his magnificent vestments; it was all a bit too much to process within the moment. We were actors in a liturgical drama that evening, moving deliberately across a grand stage in accordance with an ancient script, but with the detachment of jaded thespians. Objectively, the drama was tailor-made for a peak experience, but one of the things I realized that evening was that Catholicism isn’t about peak experiences. Catholicism is an everyday faith, suitable for the mountaintop surely, but divinely configured for the valleys in which most people spend the days of their lives.
In that moment I knew I was home.
We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.