I have always had a keen sense of awe and wonder about the world around me. The mystery of creation is not lost on me, and even now as an adult, I still marvel at God’s beautiful masterpieces all around me. My kids will frequently hear me exclaim, “Thank you Jesus!” Whether it be while digging around in my garden, finding a new edible treasure, or when I feel the first few drips of a much needed rain against my skin, or in the beauty of creation itself. God is hidden, but if you start to pay closer attention, you may find His shadow all around us.
These hints of the divine are the drops of glue that bind me to the Catholic Faith, which I so love, and ultimately to Jesus Christ Himself. Fortunately, I grew up in a scapular-wearing, rosary-praying, church-breakfast-coffee-pouring family. My parents were intentional about exposing us to the supernatural.
From my earliest years, I remember picking wildflowers to throw during the Corpus Christi procession. I remember the long robes of the altar servers and the smell of incense during the rosary processions at a neighbor’s house. I remember my mom stressing about what we wore to Sunday mass, and her making sure all 8 of us girls had our hair done and a pretty dress on. I remember gathering in the living room for the family rosary every evening to pray together. I remember standing in long lines during our monthly confession date, and the sound of the bells sweetly ringing during the consecration of the mass.
I had absolutely no clue why I was throwing flowers, or what the smelly stuff (incense) was, or why the bells rang during mass. I was just a little girl doing what I was told to do. But in my tiny brain, I knew that what we were doing was special and important. I also knew that I loved Jesus, and Jesus loved me and was happy when we did special things for Him.
The funny thing is, I have spent the last how many years researching my faith through the Catechism and writings of the Saints. I have also grown so much closer to Our Lord during my structured prayer time as well as my extemporaneous quick prayers throughout the day, and I still can’t tell you all the theological reasons for many of those things I did as a girl, and now invite my children to. But I do know that because Our God is hidden, yet revealed in all of creation, these “smells and bells” are our humanly way of glimpsing the Divine.
This is why it is so important to worship at Mass. We use our sight to marvel at the beautiful statues and pictures that help tell the story of Salvation. We use our taste to consume Our Lord in an intimate way in the Holy Eucharist. We smell the sweet, sorrowful aroma of incense. We hear the bells ringing, calling us to something above our earthly knowledge. We touch the cool water from the Holy Water Font as we use this blessing of the church to bless ourselves and pray for those special to us.
Until we reach heaven, we will never understand many of the mysteries of Our Faith, but by using our 5 senses we are using outward signs to help direct our minds to better appreciate the hidden.
I am a true cradle Catholic, and don’t have an earth-shattering conversion or reversion story. I just took the gift of Faith that my parents instilled in me, accepted the truths taught to me, and have fallen deeper in love with Our Lord ever since.
Until next time my dear friends- your sister in Christ,