Saturday was a big day for Radley's walk in the Catholic community and something about the day made me realize just how big and grown up he really is. Catholics recognize seven sacraments in our faith - and Radley was set to make his First Reconciliation.
That morning we laid out some of the keepsakes from his baptism like his gown and baptismal candle and talked about his journey in the Christian community and Catholic faith.
He is so eager to learn and discover new things and I love his excitement in really understanding the commitment and meaning behind his journey of faith.
Radley and Ryan have been attending sacramental preparation classes since September to prepare for this day as well as when he receives his First Communion. They read scripture and discuss the works of Jesus and relate directly to the works he does in each of us.
Reconciliation is a time for us to reflect on when we've run astray in our walk and seek redemption in God. Our christian journey began in baptism where we are blessed by Jesus' own baptism and our baptism day is even more important than the day we were born as we were welcomed into the family of God. As we approach reconciliation, we are reminded that God has been with us since that day - he is present in our scriptures, in our prayers, and in each of the sacraments in which we honor Him. We are reminded that we don't fight sin alone, we fight sin with Him and through Him and He offers us His grace even when it's not deserved.
I love that this very real experience serves as a constant reminder that no sin is too great or even too small for our Lord to wash away. Each of the kids had written down what they were seeking forgiveness for that day - I imagine a lot of lie telling, hair pulling, disobeying and maybe even food hiding - and that's just beautiful to me. That they learn in a very real way that God forgives. Instantly. Without judgment. Without question. Without fail.
His blood was shed for them.
Radley ended up being the last kid in the entire group to go - and I could tell he was getting a little nervous. I couldn't help but relate - aren't we all nervous that we aren't enough? That we've sinned too big? That we didn't try hard? That we are just too filled with wrong to ever be made right? Doesn't it feel like we are just sitting there in an empty pew wrapped up in our wrong and praying to be forgiven?
And we are. Before we even ask - we are forgiven.
He is our sacrificial lamb that died for our forgiveness.
We all moved to one of our reception halls and formed a "holy spirit" line to congratulate the kiddos on their victory over sin. I mean - if that's not the cutest way to celebrate then I don't know what is.
And in true form, our clan was by far the biggest.
Radley had both of his godparents there...
his adorable sisters (who were champs and sat in church for almost 2 hours)...
and of course, Gigi and Pops.
Father Edwin gave a lovely homily around the story of the prodigal son and I never cease to be amazed that I can learn/hear/think something new from scriptures I've heard my entire life. God speaks to us constantly, we just have to be willing to listen.
We also have to be willing to take the best of 12 pictures and well...
If we can be forgiven of our sins, then I guess I can forgive creepy eyes and silly face every once in a while.