Monday, March 03, 2008

Why John makes me cry

Or, "The Story of Atticus and the Man Born Blind."

Yesterday's Gospel reading:

John, chapter 9.

Verse 25: "One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see."

From a spring morning, eight years ago:

The Saturday before Lent, when we awoke Atticus told me he wanted to know the name of the man born blind in the Gospel of John ... He said that man’s name would be his confirmation name. If he joined the Church, he added.
Fr. Joe came to dinner that night, and asked the question Atticus must have been tired of: "So, where are you? What, if anything, is holding you back?"

Atticus replied, "Nothing. I’m ready. Can we schedule something?"

The day before Lent began, we had a private "Rite of Welcoming" at daily Mass, with Fr. Joe presiding. I was Atticus’s sponsor, and as we went through the rite, and the beautiful portion of it in which the sponsor "signs the senses" of the candidate, Atticus and I felt that we were experiencing a rebirth in our marriage. We really felt that we were getting married again, recommitting to one another and to God. Our marriage by a judge, sixteen years before, seemed as if it had happened in another lifetime.

Atticus proceeded through Lent participating in all that the other RCIA candidates did, and at the Easter Vigil in 2000 he was received into our one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church. My friend Jack, who had been so instrumental in my conversion, drove one hundred and twenty miles with his wife and children to be there, and we rejoiced that night with them and the many Catholic friends who had also finally become Atticus's friends. He hadn’t known about the host of prayers that had been sent forth on his behalf, but that night many of those who had prayed for him were present, sharing with us the unspeakable joy of the night.

Atticus and I have been given a second chance, like the man born blind. We neither deserved it nor saw it coming, but one thing we do know is that we were blind and now we see. For that, we are eternally—and that’s a phrase we no longer use lightly—grateful.

And so I cry.

And laugh.

And rejoice.

Thanks, John.


Jennifer said...

What a beautiful story Karen. My husband too converted just before we were married. I am eternally grateful, but could never write anything as lovely as this post.

patience said...

That is indeed a beautiful story and I can easily imagine the joy it must bring you. What a blessing for you both, and for your whole family.

Margaret Mary Myers said...


Just a question. So what was the name of the man born blind? Or do we know? Or is it Atticus?


Alice Gunther said...

It doesn't get any better than this!

Karen E. said...

Thank you, Jennifer, Patience and Alice.

And, Margaret Mary, thanks for asking! I forgot to include a note about that at the end.

Scripture never gives us the name of the man born blind. Atticus decided to take, as his confirmation name, St. John Fisher.

Margaret in Minnesota said...

John should make us cry... tears of laughter and joy, as you say, and also gratitude.

Thank God for the gift of you and Atticus. The Church is blessed in you!

Momto5Minnies said...

What a wonderful, moving story.
I have read it before, but am so glad to see it again ... especially as my husband prepares to come into the Church. SOON!