Thursday, April 7, 2016

9 years

Today marks 9 years since I came into the Catholic Church! It hasn't been easy. I have no regrets at all. But I will say that being Catholic is REALLY difficult. Sometimes I'd love to go back to the ignorant bliss I felt as a Protestant under "once saved, always saved" and "faith alone". It was so much easier!

I have learned that being Catholic isn't about conforming God or my church or friends to my way of thinking or living. It's trying to conform to that which God has established. It's conforming my mind and heart to what God has already deemed best for us: his laws, his commands, his authority. And, I've also learned that I'm downright lousy at it!

I've heard it said that converts frequently lose the fervor they once had and sometimes backslide... not that they completely disregard the truth of the Catholic faith that they've come to know but perhaps they acquire a sense of apathy or laziness toward their faith.

I've cycled in and out of this a few times. It's tough to keep my heart in it sometimes. My mind says one thing - I listen to Catholic radio and Christian music, still desire to read Catholic books (but never finish any) and still enjoy listening to a healthy debate. But my heart just rarely goes beyond that lately. Instead it's just this scary lukewarm spot we're never supposed to be in but I'm too apathetic to get out for any decent length of time.

I miss going to church with my mom and dad. I really long for my mom, especially, to know what I know and to be excited about it with me. But I'm too scared to boldly put it out there. It's been nine years and in all that time, outside of my first announcement that I was becoming Catholic, there has not been one genuine conversation with anyone in my family about why I made this choice. They taken a few digs here and there, usually not to my face and usually insinuating I didn't make this choice on my own, but there has been no attempt to understand how I came to this understanding.

Instead, I'm sure they are all still praying for the day that I "wake up" from this "false religion" and stop bringing my kids up in it as well. But, that's never gonna happen!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Starting Fresh

On August 2, 2006, I started a blog: This Catholic Journey. I used the blog to detail my conversion into the Catholic Church from the non-denominational Christianity I grew up in and loved so dearly. I needed an outlet to reveal all that I was learning so quickly and all the changes taking place in my heart. My eyes had been opened to the serious lack of unity and authority within Christianity. I was looking for truth. I was looking for the authority Christ had clearly given the apostles and the unity He called us to as Christians.

It actually started with a very dark time... a "dark night of the soul", if you will. Study, prayer and some honest-to-God light bulb moments where I felt the Holy Spirit was opening up my eyes and heart are what drew me to read early Christian writings, dig deeper into the roots of Christianity and ultimately which drew me into the Catholic faith.

"To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant." 
- John Henry Cardinal Newman -

How true those words can be! Not all who study church history, obviously, find themselves compelled to become Catholic but most will end up, at minimum, in high liturgical churches that bring them ever-closer to Catholicism... some just simply cannot make the leap. There is so much confusion, misconception and flat-out lying about what Catholics actually believe and what the Church actually teaches. And people are content to never question what they're told. They are content to buy whatever has been sold to them by pastors and others they trust. I know this because I lived it!

“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.” 
- Archbishop Fulton Sheen -

These misconceptions are so damaging and there are people everywhere, especially pastors, who perpetuate these misconceptions. And the biggest victims of all are Catholics, who by no fault of their own, were not properly taught the faith. They become prey to the luring of well-intentioned but badly informed people who genuinely think they are saving Catholics from the fires of hell. Some churches are actually established for this very purpose! 
Folks should stop and think for themselves. Stop looking at what others TELL you about the Catholic Church. Stop TELLING Catholics what you THINK they believe. If you really want to reach Catholics and get them to leave what you feel is a "man-made, rule-oriented, earn-your-way-to-heaven, un-Christian, false religion" then take the time to actually learn what the Catholic Church teaches and speak to THOSE things. It doesn't do any good to argue against your perception of what the Catholic Church teaches.... that's just a straw man.