Monday, November 2, 2015

Not a Cradle Catholic Vol. 3


Thanks for coming back for another installment of Not a Cradle Catholic, where it's all about those of us who did NOT grow up in the Catholic Church. Why did we join up? What have we learned? Why is our perspective unique? I hope you'll follow along. Whatever your background, maybe there's something you can learn from us.

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Becky blogs at Vita Dulcis where she writes about food, faith, and family. She is married to her college sweetheart and has a toddler plus a baby on the way. Besides being a total foodie and a native Texan, this Catholic convert loves iced mochas, youth ministry, road trips, and decorating cookies. Find her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.


How long have you been a Catholic? 

I have been an official Catholic for 7 years - praise God!

What were you before? 

I was raised in the Lutheran faith. (WELS)

What was your main motivation for entering the Catholic Church? 

There were SO many factors along the way, but I'd say my main motivation was the Eucharist. Once I believed that it was the true body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ, I couldn't turn back.

Which Church teachings were easy to accept and which were stumbling blocks? 

Luckily the Lutheran liturgy was very similar to Catholic liturgy, so it was easy for me to catch on to the mass. It was also easy for me to come to a full understanding of the Eucharist because my Lutheran faith taught the real presence, just in a different sense. Some of the hardest parts to accept (at first) were the papacy and the teachings about Mary, mainly because they were totally foreign to me. But after studying and understanding WHY the Church believes these things, it made complete sense and now they are some of my favorite beliefs!

Is there anything you miss from your pre-Catholic days? 

I definitely miss the huge emphasis on Scripture and am so glad that I was raised with a firm foundation in God's word. Even though I'm no longer a Sola-Scriptura believer, I loved how important the Bible was viewed not only at church and Bible study, but also in your personal life and study.

Is there anything you really do NOT miss? 

In my former church, we only had the Holy Communion part of the liturgy twice a month. So as a Catholic, I feel so blessed to be able to receive the Eucharist at every single mass! Also, I definitely don't miss celebrating Reformation Day. Though it didn't seem strange at the time, now it really makes me sad that every year on October 31st, Lutherans celebrate Luther's nailing of the 95 Theses and his work to "reform" the Church. I just don't understand why splitting the Church is a cause for celebration, so now I pray in a special way on that day for unity in the Church rather than separation. 

In what ways (if any) has your relationship with Jesus changed since becoming Catholic? 

I'd say that while my faith in Christ as a Lutheran was pretty strong, it has only grown deeper and stronger as a Catholic. Not only my knowledge of Christ through my continued study and learning of the faith, but also my relationship with Him personally. I know that I keep mentioning the Eucharist (because lets be real - it's awesome) but it is so beautiful being able to truly receive Jesus Christ in that close and physical way. I'd say you can't get much closer to Christ than that!

What do you think Catholics can learn from our protestant brothers and sisters? 

I know that Catholics get a bad rap about their Scripture skills, but I do think that Protestants set a great example in their knowledge and familiarization with the Bible. It always makes me sad when I meet a Catholic who doesn't even halfway know the books of the Bible, the main stories, or even that the Bible is originally our book! 

Biggest misconception non-Catholics have about Catholics? 

There are several that I can think of, but I think the main aspect boils down to thinking that Catholics place too much emphasis on Mary and the Saints and are accused of worshiping them. There is a huge misunderstanding about the Communion of Saints and the view that Catholics unnecessarily circumvent God when asking the Saints to intercede for us. It's definitely a misconception that I used to have, but now it all makes sense after actually learning the Church's teachings about the subject.

Favorite saint and saint quote? 

There are too many awesome saints to choose from! What a great problem to have. But I'll pick St. Clare of Assisi, who is my patron. I really relate to her story and conversion to radically follow Christ. I strive to have a brave faith like hers. 

Same with the quotes, I could go on and on, but two that I seem to repeat more than others are "Pray, hope, and don't worry." by the wonderful Padre Pio (such simple and powerful advice!) and

 "There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be." 
-Ven. Fulton Sheen. 

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Ruth Anne is wife to Jared and mama to four (6, 5, 3, almost 1) with a baby due early next year. She currently lives in Southern New England, where she is essentially a native and Jared is a transplant. She's just begun her homeschool journey and she loves herself some coffee, reading and quiet. She blogs about daily happenings and what not at Holloway Family North. Find her on Facebook and Instagram


How long have you been a Catholic?

I officially joined the church at Easter of 2013, so about two and half years.

What were you before?

Immediately before becoming Catholic we were part of a church called the Charismatic Episcopal Church, which is a liturgical anglican-esque type denomination. Before that (growing up) I was in a non-denominational Protestant church.

What was your main motivation for entering the Catholic Church?

A little hard to say because in a nutshell it felt a lot like desperation. We had pretty much stopped attending the other church, for many reasons. But in the fall of 2012 I started feeling the huge need to join a church. I knew I didn't want another non-Catholic liturgical church and any other Protestant church was WAY out of the question. So for me, the only option left was the Catholic church. I also knew I didn't want to just attend a church... or just "be Catholic" and not actually practice. 

I unintentionally stumbled across a few Catholic mom-bloggers who were really showing that it was possible to be Catholic, not just in name but in daily life. And that's when I called up the local parish and asked what I needed to do. Fortunately they were open to taking us very, VERY late into the RCIA class - it was December and the class had started in September. So we went from there.

Which Church teachings were easy to accept and which were stumbling blocks?

Easy - Honestly, by the time I was going through RCIA, I was ready to accept most things as they were presented. I've been (lovingly) accused of blindly following everything that was taught without thinking it through. To which I counter, yes, I do accept that the church teaches "XYZ", but I'd like to think that I process and think through things pretty quickly. The easiest one was probably the teachings on the Theology of the Body, it just made so. much. sense. :)

Harder - A few of the Marian teachings (Perpetual Virginity and Immaculate Conception). I've made my peace with them, but many in my family (Catholic and non) like to debate them (I don't do debates), so I have a hard time when they start getting worked up about them. 

Is there anything you miss from your pre-Catholic days?

*Sometimes* I miss the spontaneous prayer that happens during any given service. What I mean by that is NOT having an open time of prayer where anyone can pray and pray and pray (and keep on praying) for long amounts of time. But I saw a beautiful example of this when I attended a different parish recently. I think it was right after Prayers of the People where you state your intentions they let people say their intentions out loud which turned into quick little prayers for so-and-so's healing, etc. It only lasted a few minutes and it was a small parish, but it felt like such a unifying thing. 

Is there anything you really do NOT miss?

Most of it? My understanding of the fullness of Christianity since coming into the Catholic church has increased so much that when I look back and see whats missing from the previous churches I really don't feel drawn to them and therefore don't miss pretty much most of it. (Does that make sense?)

In what ways (if any) has your relationship with Jesus changed since becoming Catholic?

I don't know that my relationship has changed dramatically. I was a Christian before becoming Catholic and that didn't change. I'd say I probably have a more full relationship now than I did before. I also feel that there are more ways to work on that relationship since being Catholic, for example earlier this summer I participated in an icon class, there is so much meditation and prayer which goes into that process that you can't help but develop a relationship. 

What do you think Catholics can learn from our protestant brothers and sisters?

Being missionaries. I come from a family of missionaries (my grandparents and a few aunts, uncles and cousins). And I think that's one thing you don't see so much of in the Catholic church: the lay missionaries.

Biggest misconception non-Catholics have about Catholics?

That Catholics aren't Christians. Could there be some Catholics who just "go through the motions" and aren't really Christians? Yes of course. But.... I think the same could be said about any Christian group/church.

Favorite saint and saint quote?

Don't know if she's my all time favorite, but I have a really hard time picking just one...Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, and this quote:

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.

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Amy is a former atheist and forensic psychologist, turned Catholic, homeschooling, stay-at-home mom. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and three daughters. She is a book nerd, a wanna-be chef, and a sometimes runner. She blogs at Motherhood and Miscellany.


How long have you been a Catholic?

I've been Catholic for one and a half years. I entered the Church at the Easter Vigil in 2014.

What were you before?

Before I became Catholic I was an atheist.

What was your main motivation for entering the Catholic Church?

I had spent almost a decade not believing in God, and then I had my first miscarriage. When I began to realize what was happening, I started to pray. It was only one word, repeated over and over, "Please, please," but after that, I realized I could no longer call myself an atheist. Then my husband started having some health problems, and he told me he wanted to go back to church. He was raised Catholic, so it made sense for him to want to go to a Catholic church, and I decided to join him. I began reading a lot about Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular, and after a few months, I began to feel a strong pull to the Eucharist. That's when I decided to contact our RCIA director and become Catholic.

Which Church teachings were easy to accept and which were stumbling blocks?

I didn't have a strong religious background, so when I read Rome Sweet Home, by Scott Hahn, pretty much all of the Catholic teachings were quite easy for me to accept. It all just made so much sense once I learned what the Church actually teaches (as opposed to what I vaguely though the Church taught).

The one thing that was a bit difficult to overcome was the Church's stance on gay marriage. I have gay friends. My oldest daughter was a flower girl in their marriage ceremony. I was always very strongly in the "live and let live" camp. Once I learned about why the Church takes the position it does, I understood, but it was still a bit hard to reconcile this teaching with my love of my friends for a while.

Is there anything you miss from your pre-Catholic days?

I don't miss anything from my pre-Catholic days. Except maybe sleeping in on Sundays.

Is there anything you really do NOT miss?

I don't miss the feeling of contempt for religion that I used to have. And I don't miss the lack of belief in anything other than this body on earth for a few short years and then turning to dust and nothing more.

In what ways (if any) has your relationship with Jesus changed since becoming Catholic?
My relationship with Jesus has changed drastically! For one thing, I actually have a relationship with Him now! But even more than that, I have some understanding now of the depth of His love and mercy for me and I know that I can turn to Him in every moment. And I get to receive Him in Holy Communion at least one a week, which is just incredible.

What do you think Catholics can learn from our protestant brothers and sisters?

I'm not really sure about this. I was only very vaguely a protestant Christian as a child, so I don't feel like I know enough about protestant faiths to be able to answer this one very well.

Biggest misconception non-Catholics have about Catholics?

I think the idea that we worship things other than God, like Mary, the Pope, the saints, and various sacramentals. This seems to be such a common misunderstanding!

Favorite saint and saint quote?
My favorite saints are St. Rita and St. Philomena. My favorite saint quote is from St. Augustine, because it captures my experience of coming to Christianity.

"Our hearts were made for You, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in You." 

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stay tuned for more stories, and as always, keep in touch!

   

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1 comment:

  1. I love, love, love, LOVEEEEE these installments!!!! I am a cradle Catholic, but reading these testimonies has made me so grateful for my faith, and very happy for these women! :)

    ReplyDelete

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