When I was in the 4th grade, my class took a field trip to St. Augustine. It was a field trip I had been looking forward to for a while because every kid went during 4th grade and I just couldn’t wait. We visited the old fort, the old city and Flagler College. And at some point we walked into a church – The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine – right in the heart of the city. It was in that moment, I knew I was home.
I can’t fully explain what happened in that moment. But it was like feeling warm and cozy because you just walked into grandma’s house. I felt like I had finally found the place I never knew I was looking for. My grandfather had died about a year before this field trip so I decided to light a candle for him. It was then that I cried. I don’t really know why, but I did. And to this day, when I step into that church, I cry for no reason at all. It’s an overwhelming sense of love and warmth that I can’t completely contain.
A few years later my mom and my dad got together (a story for another day). His family was all catholic and I was finally able to put a name on the religion I felt that day in the church. I’ve gotten to be a part of many of the traditions over the years and was even given my dad’s mother’s rosary as she was dying.
I started attending RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) classes at my local church right before I met my husband. I was planning on finishing the process right before we were married so that his previous marriage wouldn’t be an issue for me. But then I jumped the gun a little and decided we needed to have a baby early on in our relationship. So the wedding was moved up and I was never able to finish my RCIA classes.
So technically, I’m not Catholic. But in my heart I am and that’s what matters to me.
This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of lent. Usually I try my best to give up caffeine during lent, but since I have finally kicked that habit for good, I had to come up with a new idea. This year I am giving up sleeping in (which is incredibly difficult for me). I will be getting up. Monday through Saturday no later than 5am and 7am on Sundays. There will be no more hitting snooze and oversleeping. I will be getting up and working out, making breakfast or taking some time just for myself before the family wakes up. I will be following the rules of fasting and abstinence (from meat on Fridays). Not only will this bring my closer to my faith, but it should be a healthier lifestyle for me in the long run. Even my husband, the non-Catholic that he is will be participating in this healthier lifestyle with me, getting up early and eating fish on Fridays.
Do you observe lent? Leave me a comment below and let me know what you are giving up this year!