An Easter Vigil Testimony -by Kayla
Editor’s note: What follows is a heartwarming and powerful testimony of the author’s experience at the Easter Vigil Mass
6:47 PM – Easter Vigil 2007
I am Catholic.
And for some reason, that sentence doesn’t sound funny to me. Rather, it brings a smile to my face everytime I say it. I am Catholic.
I can still smell the chrism from last night, on my forehead and my fingers. I love that smell. I hope it never goes away.
I wonder if there is a way for me to really put last night’s events into words. Everytime someone asks me how I feel or what it was like, all that I can do is smile and mumble, because I can’t find the right words to really say what type of transformation has occurred. Words can not suffice, my joy is much deeper than words or expressions. I have been touched by God, I have been washed by Him, filled with Him, am in full communion with Him. Who could dare put that sort of experience into words or language? It is impossible.
All day Saturday was a type of haze for me. I was excited, yet numb. It didn’t seem real. It did not register with me that it was the night, it couldn’t be the night. I had waited so long, wanted it so badly… sometimes you can’t really believe that dreams can come true until they do.
The fire and procession into the church was really cool. To be led only by Light, Christ’s Light. The Old Testament readings and responsorial psalms– the prayers sung by Father… Everything was prefect.
The New Testament reading caught my attention. It reminded me of exactly what I was doing, of what was going to be happening during my baptism. Father’s homily, very moving and simply perfect for the occasion. I prepared silently, preparing to die once and for all to my self, preparing to receive the new life that Christ is offering me. To be truly born anew, a life in Christ.
Ted called our names, and we proceeded to the front of the church. I forgot to bow. My mind was racing. I was second to last to be baptized. I watched Andrew, and it brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful grace that God offers us!!! To be cleansed, for all of our sins to be washed from our souls, to be brought to life in Christ our Lord!!
I will admit that I was nervous, and I probably looked it too. Not necessarily because I was scared or wasn’t ready or anything like that. Just nervous. I don’t know why. It was finally happening!!
I stepped up to the basin and Father smiled at me. I leaned over and turned my head. He misprounounced my name, but I didn’t care… The water caught me by surprised as it was poured over my head. It was cool, but not too cold and definitely not warm. And now is where words fail me. I wish I could say what I felt or what I thought, but it is all beyond expression. There was no “over-coming emotion of the Spirit” or anything like that– just a peace and joy that filled the soul to its very depths. A pure and sincere knowledge that neither logic nor emotion had any control over. I don’t know how else to explain it…
We went into the side chapel where there were many hugs and congratulations given. I received my baptismal stole/scapular and Katelyn received the baptismal candle. I couldn’t stop smiling. I didn’t cry, though I thought I would beforehand, but my joy was past tears. It is past tears still. I saw Drew (one of the RCIA coordinators and a sponsor), and the smile on his face was priceless when he saw me. We hugged and shared our joy together… Oh how wonderful the world would be if only the joy that filled that small little room could be seen by the entire world!!
We went back out in front of the church and our sponsors lit our baptismal candles from the Easter Candle. We then prepared for Confirmation. Once more, I was one of the last to be confirmed. Father went down the row twice, the first time placing his hands upon our heads and praying over us. When he did this, I felt strengthened and ready to press forward. He came finally to me, and I said
“My name is Kayla Dominic Savio and I wish to be confirmed.”
Once again, there was no rush of overwhelming spirit or anything to that sort, though I might have expected it. I have been so used to those sorts of feelings in the past, I feared that they wouldn’t come and that I wouldn’t have the fullest experience without them. How wrong I was. They didn’t come, but I had an even fuller experience without them. I may have “felt” nothing in the way of emotions, but I felt in an even deeper way, and my joy (which I had thought was complete), increased all the more. I knew the Holy Spirit had joined me, a companion for me now, never to leave my side.
We turned to face the congregation and I saw my family. My dad was almost in tears, smiling from ear to ear. My mom, well… I smiled at her, she smiled back, but then went back to a scowl. I think she was happy for me, but very tired and slightly annoyed at the length of the Mass thus far. My grandma was smiling, but she was also very tired.
We went back to our seats and a strange sensation came over me… I turned to Katelyn and whispered, “Hey, I’m Catholic now!” She grinned and whispered back, “Yup. You’re in the club now.”
All the time leading up to this night, I couldn’t help but feel that entering the Church was going to be some sort of Climax to my journey, a type of final fulfillment or something to that sort… but when I had gone back to my pew and looked up towards Jesus on the Cross, I realized that everything had just begun. I am a new creation, I have a new life in Christ, and I have oh so much more to journey through. I realize now how extremely feeble and unworthy I am, and how much further I have to go to reach prefection in Christ. I want to be a saint, I want to be holy– and I have such a long way to go. But I am comforted, because God Himself has provided that way for me, and I now have been given all of the tools to reach this goal… I have made a promise, the same promise that Saint Dominic Savio made before his First Holy Communion, “Death, but not sin.” I know that I am foolish to make such a promise, being the sinner I am, but I can die to my sin and be cleansed of it through the wonderful Sacrament of Reconciliation. I do not want to sin. I will not sin. Let death take me before I turn away from my God.
First Holy Communion.
I can only repeat what I have said twice before now… I expected that great emotional high, but I didn’t get it. Instead, I received something so much more powerful and infintely better. I will not put into words my encounter with Christ, this is something that I hold close to my heart and I can not let it go. All I can say is that I am complete now. My joy, it is not of this world. God, in all of His Goodness and Glory, has come down to me, a wretched fool and sinner, and lifted me out of darkness. He has showered His graces upon me, though I am unworthy, and has given me every gift of love, to the point of giving to me His only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. He did it for me. For the sins I have committed, I should have scourged and put to death… but He did it for me. He has given me new life, a new life in Christ.
My new beginning starts now. Thanks be to God.
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