It was June 20, 2010, and I was sitting in Saint Cecilia Catholic Church for evening Mass. Michael and Deahna were out of town at a softball and soccer tournament. It was the usual evening Mass blessed with the contemplative quietness of eventide. Just before my beloved time of taking the Lord into my body in the Eucharist, I realized it was my 34th birthday in Jesus.
You see, 34 years ago, alone in my bedroom in West Virginia, I asked Christ into my heart on June 20, 1976. My 27 years had been mainly spent in the First Presbyterian Church in Huntington WV, but Jesus was only in my actions and not in my being. Hard times from a divorce had driven me astray from religion, and on that day I contemplated ending my life. Fortunately, my cousin, Alan Wild, who had been quite WILD, had asked Jesus into his heart a few years before and had become a changed man; so I had gone to visit Alan and learned that I would drink wine, laugh, and be myself but still know Christ intimately. There was nothing to fear in knowing Jesus.
That evening after visiting Alan, I sat on my bed and asked Christ to take over my life and come into my heart.
Nothing dramatic happened. Billowing curtains did not follow and the room did not illuminate. The next day,however, I had a desire to read the Bible; and that daily hunger for God’s word has persisted for 34 years. Yet from that craving, I understood that I was missing something. For years, I clandestinely asked The Blessed Mother for help; secretly because Protestants do not revere Mary. I longed for a closer walk with Jesus, and I wanted to respond the way she responded by wholly taking Him in.
The FULLNESS of my Christian faith has now been achieved in the Roman Catholic Church. I can read 46 books of the Old Testament Sacred Scriptures as Jesus had rather than just 39, as the Protestants use. The fullness is also found in the Seven Sacraments, 2000 years of Sacred Tradition and Magisterium of The Church, and, above all else, the Eucharist. All of these are what I celebrated on my 34th birthday as I walked forward and ate His true flesh and drank His true blood.
It was my first birthday communion as an active Catholic. Knowing His sacrifice, His love for me–a sinner, His unwavering desire to please His Father and His Sacred Heart, to partake of The Eucharist was the greatest gift a girl could receive.
Psalm 23: 1 A Psalm of David “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want; he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. (RSV)