I met Ryan through a friend and there was an instant attraction. He was handsome, funny, and shared my sense of adventure. As we got to know each other I found in him a true gentleman who deeply respected and cared for me. We grew in like and in love and began to share our lives.
As a lifelong catholic, and parochial school teacher, I made it clear from the beginning of our relationship that my faith was of central importance in my life. Ryan was willing to attend church with me every weekend, something he had fallen out of the habit of doing. Despite my love and affection for him, I had fears about our ability to genuinely connect on a spiritual level. Will I be fulfilled being with someone who I can’t share my faith or someone who won’t challenge me spiritually?
Ryan, who was baptized Catholic, had never been confirmed and had been inactive in the church for many years. I felt it was very important that a person I was considering spending my life with, be a full and active member of the Catholic Church. I privately researched the RCIA (Rite of Catholic Initiation for Adults) program at my church, and subtly started mentioning it to Ryan. I was cautious, not wanting to push him into something he wasn’t ready for, or motivate him for the wrong reasons. I knew that more importantly than simply walking through the steps of the program, one must have a sincere desire to make faith a REAL part of their life. This was not a decision I could make. Ryan agreed to meet with our Deacon and consider the idea. He decided he was willing to try it. The process was not an easy commitment. We would undergo nearly a year of weekly meetings, discussions, field trips and homework. As his sponsor, we committed to fully participating together.
We would attend weekly meetings and the discussions there would spill over into our private conversations. We now had a format to discuss deep and moral issues (some that would not naturally pop up in conversation) and opportunities to make our spiritual lives into part of our daily routine. Our RCIA homework happened on Tuesday afternoons, a time we had set aside. What started out as a bit forced and slightly awkward conversations, turned into incredibly meaningful moments of connections, as we read loud to each other our textbook and assigned Bible passages. Our discussions explored our pasts, our hopes for the future, our opinions and concerns about church teachings and our beliefs about faith and life in general. We started reviewing the readings before mass and seeking the insight of Catholic authors and speakers.
We also began praying together, first before meals, and then before we would leave each other. Praying with Ryan has a power that is so different than praying with my family or other friends. We offered God thanks for giving us each other and offered many intentions including guidance on our spiritual journey. I discovered a new side of Ryan, a thoughtful, reflective and devote person of strong faith and dedication. I know this strength of character has always been within him.
In April at the Easter Vigil Mass, in the presence of family and friends I stood beside Ryan on the altar as he professed and confirmed his faith God and in our Church. I knew that God was with us in that moment and would continue to guide us as both individuals and as a couple.
This experience “confirmed” so many things for me. First, my own faith. I was able to see my faith in a new light while journeying with people of new and fresh faith. My belief in prayer was confirmed. Before I even met Ryan I was praying to find a good and faith-filled companion, and after meeting him, I pray that God might guide him to a renewed faith. My prayers have been answered beyond all expectations. This process confirmed my faith in Ryan. It has changed how I feel about him and how I see our future. This new shared faith gives us a foundation, a support system in our church and a framework for making moral decisions as a couple. I am confident that with God in the center of our shared life, anything is possible.