The Call to Relationship
A few years ago, my mom picked up a copy of the video Jesus Christ Superstar for us to watch on Easter. To tell the truth, I wasn’t too excited at the prospect of watching a religious movie. I mean, didn’t I get enough of that stuff in theology class at school? Still, I watched the film with my brothers, partly to please my mom, who spent the day singing “I Don’t Know How To Love Him”-her favorite song from the musical-and partly out of a feeling of obligation to do something religious on Easter.
Having missed the beginning of the movie, I sat on the couch trying to figure out why the Apostles sported bell-bottoms and Afros until the scene of the procession into Jerusalem. In that moment, I saw something that I had never imagined-a happy, smiling Jesus. The Jesus portrayed in that scene was not pedantic and morbid. This Jesus was a joyful human being-accessible and understandable. Suddenly, I realized that there must be more to this man and this religion than catechism.
Jesus, it seems, is a pretty enigmatic person. Throughout my life, I have encountered many different ways of viewing him-historically or religiously, objectively or subjectively, as the Son of God or even as a Buddhist monk. No one alive today actually knew him personally, and even if someone had known him, that person probably could not explain him, either. Soon, you will be asked to officially, as an adult, accept this enigma as your Savior. For me, it was an incredibly serious and difficult choice to make.
Understanding Jesus and understanding the reasoning behind Catholic beliefs became my biggest obstacles in choosing to be confirmed. I had spent years going to church because my parents taught me that it was the right thing to do, and I reached a point where I went to church not to enrich my faith but because I feared the wrath of God if I didn’t show up at His big dinner party. I had to wonder whether I was on the right path.
I spent a lot of time my sophomore year struggling with the word “why.” Three letters, two consonants, one vowel. Why. Why do I go to church every week? Why is a carpenter from Nazareth revered as the Messiah? Why do I need the support of a larger, organized church? The journey to understanding my own faith wasn’t fun, because, most of the time, I felt lost in a sea of questions without any land in sight. I felt scared not only because I was plunging into the unknown but also because I worried I might not find the answers I needed.
So why did I decide to continue exploring my faith in the face of difficulty? Because at that time in my life, the time you are at right now, I had a great chance to find out what I believed. I felt hopeful that I would reach some conclusions. After a while, I realized that all my questions would never magically be answered, but that I would have to accept some things on faith. In the end, I could finally say triumphantly and with confidence, “This is what I believe,” and I felt at peace with my choice to become a practicing Catholic.
After I became confirmed, I decided to enter a new ministry. I had been an altar server, but I felt I had outgrown that position. However, I did not want give up participating in the Mass. I have always felt a special connection to words. I love to read the classics and write my own stories, and English is my favorite subject in school. Therefore, I felt that lectoring would be a good ministry for me.
Later, when I received my first lectoring workbook, it was like I was seeing the readings for the first time. I can’t really explain it, but the poetry of the Bible finally became apparent to me. I had my eyes opened, and it felt like these words were pouring light into my soul. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.” That’s from Isaiah, which I read at Christmas Eve Mass. The words come to life for me, and I love reading them. Before I became a lector, I never understood why we heard these particular passages every three years, over and over, but now I have tremendous respect for whomever it was that selected them. They are, objectively, some of the most beautiful works of literature I have ever had the privilege to read.
When I read in church, I do my best to speak the authors’ words in their true spirit. What many people don’t realize is how passionately and eloquently the prophets and historians wrote. Many readings have an urgency that often gets lost today since Judaism and Christianity are such global religions, not small, persecuted sects like in Bible times. I try to make the words come to life when I lector so that I can inspire people with their profound meaning and beauty.
I encourage everyone to find some sort of special ministry. It’s been an incredibly fulfilling experience for me, and it has brought me closer to God. There are so many ministries available, from being a lector to being a Eucharistic minister to simply serving the community. Take the time now to explore how you best relate to the church and remember that all paths of ministry lead to a special, individual connection with God.
Copyright © 2002 Colleen Fischer | Last updated October 7, 2002