Monday, September 29, 2014

// C O N V E R S I O N p t 3 //

This post will not make much sense unless you have read this post and this post first. 

Are you all caught up? Ok, great. 

Inside Notra Dame Cathedral- Paris, France.

Spring brings new life, flowers, bird songs, and proposals. Alex proposed to me in April of 2009. We decided we wanted to get married that coming fall, and I knew that I wanted to be Catholic before we were married. About a month before our wedding, in our home parish, I was received into the fullness of the Catholic Church with the sacrament of confirmation, and I received the Eucharist for the very first time. My parents as well as Alex's were there. And Alex was my confirmation sponsor.

As I stood at the front of that church I thought about all the times growing up at camp that I "came forward" to accept Jesus. There were butterflies, tears, and lots of hugs from friends afterwards. This was nothing like that. I waited for butterflies  but my stomach was calm. I blinked hard, thinking that if I could shed a couple of tears that would be proof that the Holy Spirit was indeed working in me. But my eyes remained dry. There were no emotions to ride. But there was peace. A deep, quiet peace.

Our priest asked me if I believed in God the Father, Jesus Christ His Son, and the Holy Spirit. And if I renounced Satan and all of his ways. And to each of these I answered yes.  Then he asked me if I believed in the teachings of the Catholic Church and held them to be true. Although I had made the decision to become Catholic months before, this was a question I would not have been able to answer "yes" to until just a few weeks before. In the grand scheme of things, my beliefs really weren't changing at all. The faith that had been handed to me by my parents shared all the main pillars of the Catholic faith: the Trinity, the divinity of Jesus Christ, and the salvation we have through Him. But there were many teachings of the Catholic Church that, for the majority of my life, I had held to be false. It was only in the last year that I had begun to consider that maybe, just maybe, I had been wrong about that.  Then one doctrine at a time, through prayer and study, my heart was being turned, my eyes were being opened, and I was seeing truth where I had once seen lies.

It all stared with NFP and openness to life in marriage.  Because I trusted the church so much on that issue, it made it easier to trust the Church about transubstantiation. And when I wrestled with Papal infallibility, I found confidence in the trust I had already established. And so I stepped out in faith.  It was just a small step, followed by another and another.

It was easy to agree with some teachings, like the use of scripture AND Tradition. Having grown up Lutheran I will say that I could feel my heart jumping out of my throat the first time I heard Sola Scriptura referred to as a heresy.  But when I looked at the vast number of protestant denominations, all claiming sola scriptura as truth, and all arriving at totally different teachings on the same subjects, I knew there had to be something guiding the interpretation of scripture.  Tradition is the rudder that steers the study of scripture. Tradition is what the first generations of Christians relied on before the New Testament was even written down. Tradition (cue Fiddler on the Roof music) doesn't mean that God can't speak to me directly when I read my Bible  He can, and does! But it does mean that after 2000 years the Catholic Church has remained faithful to all of her precepts.

There were some teachings that took a little more time to come around to, like purgatory, and teachings on Mary. With both of these I found there was just as much scripture arguing for as there was against. Purgatory made sense, or at least as much sense something as mysterious as life after death can make. But for some reason I could not come to terms with Mary. I believed she was theotokos, or God-bearer, I believed she was incredibly unique and blessed because of this, I believed what the Catholic Church teaches about her. But I couldn't ever see myself going to her for prayer, as an intercessor before her Son in heaven, and I certainly couldn't think of her as my own spiritual mother. I was put at ease a little by our priest who told me that a devotion to Mary was not dogma of the Catholic faith. And at the time I thought "ok, I'll just be one of those Catholics that's just not that into her." It wasn't until a couple of years later that I began to understand Mary a little bit.

And so I said "yes", that I believed the teachings of the Catholic Church and held them to be true. Does that mean everything makes sense to me all of the time? No. But the eyes of faith see more than my human understanding. So I look to Jesus and continue to study and learn about this rich heritage I now share in.

One month later I said yes to Alex, before God, and all our family and friends. It's true that in some sense I became Catholic because of Alex; if it wasn't for him I never would have have even considered it. But it was the Holy Spirit that lead me to become Catholic.

I became Catholic 5 years ago, but my conversion is still happening. 


  1. Beautiful! Love the wedding photo and I have enjoyed following your conversion story. Thank you for sharing! -Rita


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