When I was in college I would take weekend trips home about every other month. These trips included the usual dirty laundry to be washed and a chance for some good food and time with my parents and sisters. As great as these things were, their was always something more that I experienced when I would walk through those doors. It was this overwhelming feeling of coming home.
Despite the strain of school or the drama of my peers or the nagging uncertainty of what the future held, when I walked through those doors I knew I had nothing more important to do than just be.
Maybe it was a feeling of unconditional love. Maybe it was the feeling that someone else was in charge and I didn’t have to worry. Maybe it was the feeling of being loved for who I am and not what I could achieve on my report card or on the sports field. I can’t really pinpoint what exactly that feeling was, but you know it when you feel it.
Twelve years ago I attended my first Holy Thursday Mass. I had recently come back to my faith, or I should say discovered it for the first time. It might be surprising that a cradle Catholic had never attended a Holy Thursday Mass, but I am sure I am not the only one who has missed this beautiful liturgy. After being hit by the Holy Spirit and hungry to learn more about this new found love, the church, my pastor encouraged me to attend the entire Triduum.
I was overcome by the Mass. I can’t recall any one specific detail except that it felt like coming home. It felt like being away at college and making that trip back home. Everything just seemed to fit.
As I left the Mass I spoke with the pastor about this feeling of coming back home. I can only wonder if he thought I was a crazy woman – comparing this liturgy to a weekend trip home from college but he seemed excited at my interest. He eagerly shared with me an Encyclical I should read and said “I’ll see you tomorrow!”
The church is our home- the church belongs to all of us. It is a place where we are loved unconditionally. It is a place where we can rely on God to be in charge. It is a place where we can grow and be loved for who you are. It is our home. It leads us to our eternal home and it is the closest we can get on this side of the veil.
If you haven’t been home for a while – Come home!
Holy Thursday is also a time where we celebrate the institution of the priesthood. I always reflect on the priests who have helped me on my journey on this day. After all, without them I may never had found my way home.
Today, say a prayer for the priests in your life that have been instrumental in your faith journey home.
Sharon, this is a wonderful and heartwarming post. Thank you for sharing. How true that the Church “is a place where we can rely on God to be in charge.” Praise God for that!