This article was written by Stefanie Eulitz Ceto.
Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” Mark 5:19
My story is not a new one. It has been for me, however, transformative. Through God’s grace and my awareness of it, my conversion towards growing ever closer to God, is happening both quickly and slowly, a little more every day, and I pray it never ends.
My children attend Pinecrest Academy in Cumming, Georgia. Through their Catholic formation, I found myself learning more about our faith than I had, or at least remembered I had, during my previous, parochial school, formative years and Catholic university undergraduate studies all together.
How is it that at forty plus years of age, my elementary school children could have more knowledge and exposure to the Sacraments than I? I did not even know what Adoration was. Less did I know what a Sacramental Marriage is. I do now.
While my children have been educated at a Legion of Christ school, primarily chosen because of its proximity to our home, I have been carefully turned around towards the crucified Christ. I began to appreciate our Catholic faith and the Sacraments for the first time
At the same time I was being exposed to these blessings, I was also privileged to encounter and commune with other parents and families who placed their Catholic faith at the center of their lives and lived it with joy. What was that like? I had no idea. Daily prayer? Never. God’s will first? What? Unite our sufferings with His? These were concepts that were a distant idea in my mind and had little to do with my faith until now.
It is as a Pinecrest parent that I heard the teaching of our faith by the Legionary Priests. I have come to really value their preaching. It is through my exposure to the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi that I began to learn what it means to be loved by and to love Christ. First by the way they form our children in school, then by the example they themselves set in prayer… and song… and dress… and speech… and finally by their spiritual direction and guidance on this path to God.
Another formidable experience for me in my journey towards Christ has been my experience with small group studies. The combination of a welcoming home and hostess, like minded women praying and reflecting together, warmth and laughter, the sharing of similar trials and sufferings all made for an experience I had never had before. I felt a belonging to something bigger. I felt a unity in Spirit. With two of the women being Regnum Christi members, I felt a deepening of my understanding of our faith. It made me want more. I have told that friend since that it was really her book study that transformed my spiritual life.
The second transformative small group to which I belonged was not one I ever wanted to, or imagined I would join. Divorced Catholics held a Journey of Hope program through St. Brendan’s Parish. I was told of the program through a friend who had suffered through divorce and recommended it to me. You see, several years ago, divorce became an unexpected part of my reality. In subsequent years, I lived in a state of shock, disillusionment and fear. I did not want a divorce. I do not believe in divorce. I do not believe that it solves anything broken in either person. I now know, however, how important having the graces of the Sacraments is in the vocation of Marriage. And I learned that if I wish forgiveness from God myself, I must also forgive.
At that time I did not really understand that there are people here on earth that are instruments of the Holy Spirit who though God’s providence come into your life just when you need them. I came to understand that this is the real reason God brought us to Pinecrest and close to the Legion and Regnum Christi Movement. I had my first help along the path of healing and growing from a legionary priest. Next was a life coach (a Regum Christi Member) who led me to other faithful Catholics who also suffered from divorce.
Through the ministry called “Journey of Hope”, led by husband and wife Regnum Christi members, I learned more about our faith and the sacraments than I had in the preceding 46 years on this Earth. These two people led our group out of despair into the understanding the blessings of the Sacraments that we, as Catholics, have available to us. It was here that I learned why it is that Marriage is a sacrament. I learned that through my example, I can teach my children what our faith means and give them the formation they need. I learned that my suffering is not lost. It is redemptive. I now see it as an opportunity for growth in my relationship with God.
Everything I see now, I see in terms of our Faith. It’s like my eyes have been opened where before they were closed. I have healing through my therapist, but she is a Catholic therapist. I consider the education of my children primarily through how it supports their Catholic formation. My law firm’s mission is primarily to expand Christ’s Kingdom here on Earth. Those friends I surround myself and my children with are Catholics who place God first in their lives and reach out to other people who are hurting and help them. My children and I now have God at our helm where He should have been to begin with. I pray daily and meditate on the scriptures daily. My children and I take part in the Sacraments of the Holy Mass and Reconciliation as never before. I am now conscience of the media and information my children see, hear and are exposed to. I practice listening to hear God’s will for me and for my children. I understand what true Joy is regardless of one’s circumstance.
I also do what I can to support our Priests, Consecrated and other families in their vocations of bringing us all to Heaven. I cannot get enough of our Faith. I wish that every one of my days could be spent expanding Christ’s Kingdom here all day long. I am so grateful for the amazing women that are now my dearest friends and have introduced me to my calling as Regnum Christi members who live what they are called to be. They provide friendship, love and models for me and my children of what it means to truly live our Catholic Faith.
I know my journey back home to God is life long and that I may have taken quite a long route, but I am so blessed and grateful to have found direction along that route through the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement. I am planning to incorporate as a member of Regnum Christi on the Feast of Christ the King later this month.