This decision changed my forever.
The end of January always brings about a time of reflection for me as I contemplate the many changes that have occurred in Januarys past. Throughout my life, the first month of the year has contained a variety of momentous occasions, both positive and negative, that cause me to take some moments to slow down and be grateful for where I am today.
One such occasion falls on this particular day, January 29th, which holds extra special meaning in my heart. Seven years ago, I stood in the front of my Catholic Church, and confirmed my faith in God. As tears of overwhelming joy formed in my eyes, the Bishop anointed my forehead with oil as I received the fullness of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Making the choice to commit my life to the Lord, completely of my own free will and desire, set my life on a radical path that I never would have expected for myself.
Thanks to the faith of my amazing parents (hi mama and papa!), I grew up in the Catholic Church learning about the love of Jesus Christ and enveloped in the joy of the Gospel. I was baptized at two months old and received First Communion in second grade. I sang in the Church choir, attended youth group, and volunteered in a variety of ministries. I loved all of these experiences and continued to grow in my own personal faith through the beauty of the Mass.
In all of this time, I was still learning about the beliefs of the Church and growing in my understanding of God. Then, seven years ago, I got to pronounce my decision to embrace the fullness of this religion, wholly recognizing that I could only comprehend the smallest percentage of the greatness of the Lord. I accepted the full responsibility for my own faith, placed my trust in God, and committed my life to a journey following whatever path He would lay out for me.
It’s taken a lot for me to be able to give up control of my own path, but the Lord’s plan is so much better than my own. At my Confirmation, my life became filled with so much more radiant joy than I could ever even begin to describe! This joy transcends circumstance, and emanates into every single aspect of my life. The Lord’s goodness seeps into my life in mundane and profound ways, and He provides for me in accordance with my own individual needs. In choosing Christ, I received His ultimate companionship, which has never ever failed.
Consequences also followed this choice that have included ridicule, heartache, and loneliness. This is what comes when living in a countercultural way in a society that doesn’t always understand virtue and sacrifice. I have been mocked, belittled, and isolated because of my beliefs. I have been called a hypocrite because I am a sinner and make mistakes. I have struggled to remember the reasoning for my commitment and fallen into doubt and sin. But to be completely honest, through my relationship with the Lord and His infinite mercy, my suffering evolves into blessing because I know that it is worth it.
While we are all free to make our own decisions and live our lives in unique ways, we are bound to the consequences of those choices. The consequences of confirming faith in God can include struggle, pain, and ridicule, but it also includes immeasurable joy, peace, hope, and love. This is a choice that we must make not just one time, but daily. With every thought and action, we must re-make the decision to live as Jesus requests of us, because this is something bigger than just ourselves.
Confirming my faith in Jesus Christ was the best decision I have ever made, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
In Joy, Monica
And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.