You seduced me, Lord, and I let myself be seduced;
you were too strong for me, and you prevailed. (Jeremiah 20:7a)
The place was Santa Fe, the city of Holy Faith. I was downtown and wanted to see the interior of the Spanish style Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis. My interest was solely as a tourist.
After a Catholic education spanning from Kindergarten through college, after youthful aspirations to religious life; after a failed marriage and a remarriage to another “lapsed” Catholic, the time had come. In the 21st year of our marriage, I took off to visit my daughter in Santa Fe. Touring the downtown, I wanted to see the interior of the Cathedral of St. Francis, but it was closed.
I returned a few days later. It was Sunday morning, October 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. Aha! I thought. Since it’s Sunday it will surely be open. I entered just in time for the noon Mass. And what a Mass! It was 1998 and the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Franciscan diocese in New Mexico. The Mass was celebrated as only Latinos know how: with exuberant singing. I was bowled over. The Lord knows us inside out, and knew this moment of joyful music would be irresistible to me: You seduced me, Lord!
I was lifted out of 21 years of my secular existence and firmly replanted as a follower of Christ, along with the gift of determination to remain there forever.
With a convert’s zeal, I threw myself wholeheartedly into my restored faith. I volunteered as a Eucharistic minister, lector, and for other parish activities such as reviving a ministry to newcomers, coordinating ministry fairs, and serving as secretary to the parish council. Most importantly, I also started attending Mass during the week. But there was something missing. I needed to communicate the riches of Christianity, but lacked the appropriate opportunity. Obviously I couldn’t go out on street corners to expound on the beauty of the Gospel! This was deeply frustrating, so I said to myself:
. . . I will not mention him, I will no longer speak in his name.
But then it is as if fire is burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I grow weary holding back, I cannot! (Jeremiah 20:9)
Who could have known that technology would come to the rescue?
For as you can see if you’re reading this post, the opportunity has finally been given to me. Step by step, each attempt at outreach has finally led to today’s effort to express what God has done for me. Whether there’s a crowd or only a handful who read these reflections, is only for God to decide. As for me, I cannot hold back!
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There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous who have no need of repentance. (Luke 15:7)