Monday, November 9, 2015

Not a Cradle Catholic Vol. 4


Thanks for coming back for the final installment of Not a Cradle Catholic, where it's all about those of us who are NOT cradle Catholics. Why did we join up? What have we learned? Why is our perspective unique? Thanks for following along. Whatever your background, maybe there's something you can learn from us.

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Rakhi is a Catholic wife and mother who works outside the home part-time while trying to keep up with her husband, two (soon to be three) young children, and cat full-time. She is a convert from Hinduism and spent many years working in young adult and campus ministry. Rakhi’s blog and artwork can be found at rakhimccormick.com, where her mission is to share the love of Christ with the world. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


How long have you been a Catholic?

This Easter will be my 20th anniversary of coming into the Church.

What were you before?

I was raised Hindu, but with all the activities of high school and college, was not exactly practicing the faith at the time I began seeking conversion.

What was your main motivation for entering the Catholic Church?

The very basic answer is that I was invited. The longer answer is that I was seeking answers to some deeper questions after a rather embarrassing stint with alcohol poisoning: what was God's purpose for my life, who was Jesus and why would someone pray for me. I also had (and still have) a woundedness that seeks belonging - I never felt like I fit anywhere, and was desperately looking for somewhere to belong. At the end of the day, what led me to enter the Church was the invitation and the Eucharist.

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

Most of the moral teachings of the Church were simple to understand and accept for me. Being raised Hindu, I had most of the same basic principles of morality instilled in me already. Marriage is forever, sex is for marriage, etc. I will say that as I went through my college years, the teachings around homosexuality began to become difficult to reconcile. In the end, I think it wasn't so much the teachings themselves, but the way in which they were expressed. So often there was so little love in the tone of those who spoke out against homosexuality or homosexual persons. I still have some of those problems today, though I have no problem accepting the Church's teaching.

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

Perhaps because I did not convert from a Protestant background, I cannot truly think of one thing that I miss.

Is there anything you really do NOT miss?

Instead of thinking of it as something I don't miss, I can say that one thing I am so thankful for in being Catholic is always having a home to go to, no matter where I am. I know that if I find a Catholic church anywhere in the world, Jesus is waiting for me in the tabernacle. I know that the Mass will relatively be the same. That ability to feel at home anywhere is such a wonderful feeling.

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

Well, I have a relationship with Jesus, where I didn't before.

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

While I didn't come from a Protestant background, I do think that the one frustration I have had in being Catholic is the resistance so many have to go out of their comfort zone . . . myself included many days. I wish we lived our lives more completely in mission mode. This is the beauty that Pope Francis is bringing to us, I think. He is reminding us that it isn't all about the rules and the internal workings of the Church, that the Church isn't a club we belong to, but a vehicle to bring people into relationship with Jesus no matter what "level" they are at in the present. I wish as a whole (while there are so many in the Church who do this well), people saw us as a place to go in the midst of their pain and their failures.

Biggest misconception non-Catholics have about Catholics?

I think there are several that I run across. One is of course that we worship Mary and the Saints (when in fact we venerate and ask their intercession, but worship remains for God alone). Another big misconception, and I think our focus on the rules is a reason behind it, is that we believe we earn our way to heaven through our good works - that we are works based not grace based.

Favorite saint and saint quote?

Oh...I hate choosing favorites, especially the Saints! If I HAD to pick one, those who read my blog will know that Blessed Teresa of Calcutta is my home girl. My birthday is her feast day, she worked with my people, and we just have a special bond that I cannot quite explain.

My favorite quote of hers is as hard as picking a favorite saint! As I am typing this, I am drawn to

  "Do ordinary things with extraordinary love." 

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JoAnna has been a Catholic working mother for over 10 years. She and her husband have five children here on earth – ages 10, 7, 5, 3, and 1 – plus three saints in heaven. She's worked full-time during all of her pregnancies, and returned to work within 6-8 weeks of each birth, so she is intimately familiar with the joys and challenges of this hectic lifestyle. Find her blogging at The Catholic Working Mother.


How long have you been a Catholic?

Since May 29, 2003 (12 years)

What were you before?

ELCA Lutheran (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America)

What was your main motivation for entering the Catholic Church?

My husband become convinced of the truth of Catholicism and told me he wanted to convert. I was adamantly against it but decided to go through RCIA with him just to learn more.

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

The biggest issues were sola scriptura and papal authority. Once I resolved those, everything else fell into place.

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

I miss the fellowship with my family (my conversion has caused some awkwardness and distance), and being able to go to weddings without worrying if they are presumptively valid or invalid.

Is there anything you really do NOT miss?

Belonging to a church that changes teachings according to cultural popularity as opposed to Truth

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

I definitely have a much closer relationship with Christ since I joined His Church. The Eucharist is amazing, and so is Reconciliation.

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

I think some other denominations do an excellent job of fostering a true community in their individual churches, and the Catholic Church would do well to emulate that.

Biggest misconception non-Catholics have about Catholics?

That we worship the Pope and/or Mary.



Favorite saint and saint quote?

"The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for what He is sending us every day in His goodness." - St. Gianna Beretta Molla

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Allison a Catholic convert, wife to Chris, and momma to three adorable little ginger girls. She is a semi-SAHM with her own business making custom rosaries (Rosaries by Allison). She is a coffee addict, ITP patient, lover of naps, bookworm when she has time, occasional Netflix binger, chocolate nibbler, and skilled crock-potter. She is a veteran champion Highland dancer and a former fastpitch softball catcher. Hibernophile. And sometimes sarcastic. Find her blogging at The Coffee Catholic.


How long have you been a Catholic?

Since Easter 2013

What were you before?

Protestant…sort of an evangelical/non-denom with Southern Baptist roots. And I was baptized Presbyterian as a baby.

What was your main motivation for entering the Catholic Church?

TRUTH! And reverence. History. Completeness. Beauty.

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

I honestly can’t think of anything that was a stumbling block. I was ready to jump fully in, because I was so tired of wondering why there are so many different Protestant denominations.

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

The passionate people who love Jesus and are excited to serve Him.

Is there anything you really do NOT miss?

Irreverence. Catholic-bashing. The worship “band”. Forced participation.

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

Coupled with my diagnosis of ITP in August 2013, I have relied a lot more on Him to help me through situations, especially regarding my health. There is nothing I can do, so I have to trust in His plan for my life every day. I can also dive deeper into His Passion and understand it more now that I’m Catholic (and an ITP patient). Having a structured Liturgical year helps me to appreciate the entire life of Jesus.

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

Love for the Bible. Emphasis on a relationship with Christ, not just “membership.”

Biggest misconception non-Catholics have about Catholics?

“They worship Mary and idols” “They’re not actually Christians”

Favorite saint and saint quote?

“Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.” 
-St. Augustine

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Shannon Evans is a Protestant missionary turned Catholic convert who lived to tell the tale.  An adoptive and biological mom of two boys, she enjoys hosing mud off children, scrubbing sticky furniture, and rushing to the ER to have nails extracted from small intestines.  You can find her blogging at We, A Great Parade or on Instagram


How long have you been a Catholic?

I joined the church Easter 2014, along with my husband.

What were you before?

 I was raised Baptist, but for the decade before converting I was a nondenominational charismatic Protestant.  My husband and I were actually overseas missionaries for almost 2 years.

What was your main motivation for entering the Catholic Church?

For me it was the compilation of so many different attractions: the tie to the historical church, the unity of theology (different than the many different views within Protestantism), the social teachings of the church, theology of the body/sexuality, theology of suffering, salvation not being a "one time" thing, and on and on.  So many different things!  It was also significant that my husband and I were making this huge spiritual decision together that was so different than everything we knew.  It was a really sweet, unifying thing for us.  We didn't even have any Catholic friends at the time!

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

I immediately loved the teaching on sexuality, contraception, homosexuality, etc.  I couldn't believe how rich and deep the theology behind it was, and it was the first time I felt anyone had ever offered a holisitc lens through which to see our bodies.  The requirements of mass and the Sacraments were easy to accept, as well as the other things I mentioned above.

The representation of Catholics who are prone to overemphasize Mary and under-emphasize Jesus was a put-off to me initially, but was really quickly put out of my mind when I read the Catechism of the Catholic Church and talked to/read other Catholics who agreed this was a problem.  Some of the doctrine regarding Mary (perpetual virginity, assumption) was a challenge because it is "extra" from what is written in the Bible and I was always taught that the Bible has the final say.  In the end I felt comfortable because of early historical writings that seemed to confirm that they were long-held beliefs.  And maybe this sounds terrible, but I kind of figured that if I get to heaven and discover that some of it was a little "off", Jesus wouldn't mind anyway.

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

I miss feeling like I fully belong in a religious circle.  As it is now, I still connect deeply to Protestant vernacular and much of the Catholic culture still feels foreign to me.  And I wonder if it always will.  But at the same time I can no longer feel truly connected to the Protestant circle either because my theology is Catholic now, so slightly different in some ways- especially from the nondenominational circle I came from.

Is there anything you really do NOT miss?

I don't miss the pressure to lead people in "the sinner's prayer", but again that's indicative of my personal experience and not every Protestant denomination.  I don't miss the emphasis on praying for healing that prevails in the charismatic circles.  Not that I don't still pray for healing! I do.  But I appreciate that Catholicism understands that God works powerfully through suffering too.  I never used to hear much at all about that.

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

It has become more about Him and less about me.  In the past, I felt a lot of pressure to do certain things (evangelize, pray for the sick or injured, spend a certain amount of time in prayer every day, fast, "feel" an encounter with God in worship settings, etc) so it felt like our relationship was all my responsibility.  I still believe in those things but for me they are much more Christ-led rather than self-led now.

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

There is a lot to learn about having a personal relationship with Jesus, rather than it being only something that we do as a group.  Many Catholics aren't comfortable forming their own words in prayer out loud, especially before a group.  We can learn from Protestants there.  We can also take their example of evangelism, doing it in a way that feels natural and personal to us.

Biggest misconception non-Catholics have about Catholics?

In my experience the biggest misconception is that we worship Mary.  I'm happy to say that once I scratched the surface of Catholicism, I immediately found that was false.

Favorite saint and saint quote?

St. Therese of Lisieux is my patron saint, but I have a lot of favorites.  One quote of hers that I like is:

 "Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, not even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them."

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1 comment:

  1. Loved hearing everyone's story! Great write-ups!

    ReplyDelete

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