When I was a little girl, I was fascinated by adoption. I was born into a loving family, but I thought the idea of being “chosen” was far more interesting and it really intrigued me. I would read and write stories about being chosen for adoption. They were always wonderful experiences. There were still orphanages in the Sixties, although they were on their way out, and the Cote-de-Liesse orphanage was not far from my home. They were sad places, in my mind, yet filled with the hope of matching poor children with loving families. Of course I eventually came to understand that things were more complicated, but at the time I thought it must be marvelous to be chosen rather than just be born into a family.
As an adult, I confess that I had similar sentiments towards those who chose to be Catholic, who converted to the faith. I really respect people who truly search for a full relationship with Christ, and don’t stop until they believe they have found the truth. Just last night I watched a gentleman on The Journey Home describe the several stops along his journey as he grew deeper and deeper in his understanding of scripture and the sacraments. Many people undertake these spiritual journeys, often at great personal expense, but their love for Jesus won’t allow them to settle for less than the fullness of the faith, the Catholic Church. The idea of choosing still resonates with me, as it did when I was a little girl.
As a cradle Catholic, I was born into this loving family we call the Catholic Church. And, like my biological family, it is easy to take that belonging for granted. There is a point in time when we do choose, although it is less explicit than those who formally enter the Church, but somewhere along the way – over and over, really – we choose to accept this family, warts and all. (And if you have read this blog at all, you know I can rant about the warts.) We love the Church despite the warts, just as we love our family despite the objectionable behavior of some of its members. Those of us born into good, if imperfect, families are blessed to have had that love and security, that sense of belonging, throughout our lives.
It won’t surprise readers, I’m sure, that I am a fan of the TV show, Long Lost Family. It is a series that shares the stories of family members separated by adoption who have looked for one another, usually for many years, and who are reunited through the resources of the show. Every episode is a tearjerker, of course, as mothers and children, siblings and other family members see each other for the first time in decades. It’s fascinating (and very moving) to see how powerful are the biological bonds, even when the adoptive connection is very strong and positive. This, I think, is what it is like for people coming into the Church. We have been waiting for each other because until everyone is “home” there is something missing. This is where we are all meant to be.
Thousands of people have entered into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil this year, as in previous years. We should be warmly welcoming them into our communities, sharing the joy of Holy Mother Church that her children are home. Those of us who have always been here affirmed our choice to remain as we renewed our baptismal promises at Easter Mass. Whether cradle or convert, we are all so blessed to belong to the Body of Christ.
Christ is risen! He is truly risen! Alleluia!
Happy Easter to all and a special welcome to those who came home this year.