Sunday, April 02, 2006

My own "Come to Jesus" moment ...

Lake Mendota from the U. of Wisconsin, April 1, 2006

The weekend was, of course, amazing. I'll unpack stuff and blog as I can (busy weeks coming up!). I'm beyond exhausted right now, but in that "I'm-too-tired-to-go-to-bed" state. Ergo -- to blog!

Last night as I sat with our students and unpacked the Institute a little, one of them said, "I really feel like I had my own 'come to Jesus' moment." [Good evangelical language there - hardly surprising, given just how many Catholic teens, at least in the South, end up in evangelical Christian groups in high-school and college. A few find their way back to Catholicism, only stronger in their faith in my experience.] I know that this was a deep conversion experience for our pastor, Fr. T as well.

The talk that I got really excited about was one of the keynotes by Dr. William Portier of the University of Dayton, called "Here come the evangelical Catholics." [expanding upon an article he'd written in Communio back in Spring 2004, with the same title. (Ah -- it's not available online. The local Lutheran seminary does have a copy! Yay!)] I'll write more on that at length.

One of the most powerful moments however was Friday evening, when Archbishop Dolan was talking about the characteristics of an evangelical Catholic spirituality. He talked about confidence, and how often "be not afraid" is repeated in Scripture. His words hit me like an electric current. Be not afraid! As I prepare to move from SC, to leave my life as I know it, the life I've built here these past eleven years, there's a part of me that is resistant, like thick, dark, sticky molasses. And absolutely terrified.

Be not afraid! It was the Lord Himself saying those words to me. Be not afraid!

[And, as the Archbishop reminded us, it was hardly surprising that these were the first words uttered by the newly elected Polish Pope on that historic Roman evening in October 1978. In fact, I tend to hear those words in his voice, in his words, "Non abbiate paura!"]

This was my own "Come to Jesus" moment of sorts.

Be not afraid!

3 comments:

St. Elizabeth of Cayce said...

The Padre mentioned before Mass this AM that he'd really enjoyed a session he attended on EC preaching. It will be neat to see how what you guys and the students heard is translated into what happens in the Parish.

Thought you might be interested in the following:

I'm sitting in the "choir" for 4:30 Mass yesterday (Saturday--I'm up late on what is now Monday awaiting a return trip to the airport for Izzy's many-hours delayed plane.) It was announced that Fr. T was away at an Evangelical Catholic conference. The musician seated next to me turned and, with eyes wide and incredulous, mouthed "Evangelical? ....... Catholic?" I nodded, and she nodded and seemed to accept the oxymoron...

Looking forward to the book report.

Lizzie,
has a completely different understanding of what a "Come to Jesus Moment" is--and it ain't pleasant.

Anonymous said...

Gashwin,

Expect many more of these moments as you prepare in your vocational prep.

Sincerely,

Dogwood

Gashwin said...

Hmm --- thanks for the clarification of a "Come to Jesus" moment earlier today, St. Liz! No, that's now how I meant it! :-)