A Reflection on a Soul’s Intimate Encounter with Christ

ASK… AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE

By Gaye Rose, Parishioner and Convert to the Faith

It’s hard to believe almost three years have passed since that powerful Easter Vigil in 2011.  There was so much anticipation and excitement from the RCIA members who were anxiously bringing their lives into communion with God and his Church.   Our journeys of faith certainly coming from different places, and mine seemed to mirror that of the Samaritan Woman—the woman who surely knew there was a faithful God but yearned so much to fill the deep void that remained within her.  I told a good friend one time that my initial desire was just that of baptism.  Never could I imagine that I’d be living this life now with such peace, purpose and joy!

EIMG_0157aster day and the following weeks rapidly passed as I shuffled around with God’s gift of faith barely budding from within.  I recall that early morning mass, middle of the week, probably the 18th or 19th day of my first 50-day Easter Season when I found myself on bended knees begging my God for guidance:  “Oh God, what am I supposed to do now???”  No doubt the daily liturgy was a great consolation, as it seemed my confusion was similar to my new found friends, the Apostles, who had to patiently wait as well for the Holy Spirit to guide them along their way.  All I could do is remain close, pray, and somehow find a way to trust that the Lord would relieve my anxious heart.

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That day I shed what seemed to be redundant tears.  Yet, as our good Lord does, He answers our prayers because we dare to ask.  Perhaps not always in ways we can expect, and often times mightier than anything ever imagined.   For this zealous convert, it seemed that one grace led to another, as the seeds of little faith that God had planted in me were

beginning to take deep root.  Like a flower that bursts towards the sun in early spring, I too found myself bursting from the inside out.  Yet, it was quite noticeable to me that my prayers had dramatically changed.  Like the beating of new heart, I desperately wanted everyone else in my garden to experience on a deeper level the ‘Son’ I had come to truly love with all my soul.  Thoughts of heaven and things eternal seemed to permeate my every thought.  I just wanted heaven for

EVERYONE!  It’s funny because I actually thought at times my prayer was rather unique.  Yet the truth is:  ‘heaven for everyone’ is the very desire of God himself.

So as we’ve have come to know the Samaritan women, it is clear that she could not keep her unexpected m

eeting with Jesus to herself (for surely it’s impossible when one encounters the gift of unending mercy).  She had to immediately run and share it with others.  Yet it might be noted that she did not go running with a perfectly confident heart—rather, it seems there was a need to be reaffirmed by those she had to tell.

So within a year from that day on bended knee, Fr. Michael had approached and encouraged me and others to pursue a Catholics Returning Home ministry.  Feeling completely incapable and unworthy of such an invitation, I took it to prayer (as surely by now God was quite familiar with my nagging insecurities). Within a few months, CRH was well underway, yet certainly not without doubt of its success, as none of us knew for sure how it would be received.

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But God remains so very good and generous.  So many blessings have been bestowed on this beautiful outreach.  I believe I can attest on behalf of the entire CRH team that it’s been nothing short of miraculous to witness the spirit of God steer (or better said perhaps, place upon his shoulders and carry) his wondering and precious little sheep back into his trusted flock—our flock—the beautiful and joyful community here at St. Dominic’s.  How humbling it is to hear their journeys of faith and to witness their transformation from responding to an invitation (a friend’s urging, a newspaper ad, or sign alongside of the road) to pursuing a renewed and reinvigorated relationship with God.  It’s truly remarkable, and my faith is reassured constantly by their witness.

So the good news continues.  The people from that Samaritan town, who dared to hear the testimony of that once disordered woman at the well, went to Jesus themselves.  They needed to hear firsthand the Messiah’s proclamations and promises of heaven.  And it was not long before these people came back and announced to the woman:  “We no longer believe because of your word, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”   Although the Gospel does not reveal how the Samaritan woman received their testimony, I’m quite sure she accepted it with utter and complete joy.  No more was she alone in her finding, for the Savior and lover of her soul now rested in the very hearts of the people to whom she felt compelled to immediately run to and tell.

So this Lenten Season, my fervent prayer continues that the gifts of our Catholic faith saturate everything that we are and can be.  Let us run madly, praying boldly that which is the will of God… that all souls seek and personally encounter the crucified and risen Christ.  Let us never tire of asking; let us never tire of seeking; and may we strive in all that we do in the Holy Name of Jesus… never, ever forgetting that the Kingdom of Heaven is exactly where we should all strive to be!


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