Tag Archives: Catholic Convert
7 Jun

It feels like ages ago since I last posted, but I think it’s actually only been two weeks. I volunteered to pick up any extra shifts at my new job, so I’ve been keeping myself plenty busy.

Even though it’s kind of a painful process, I’m learning a lot.

I’m learning how to quietly, patiently, and humbly bear the crosses I’m given, while also making sure that I have coffee with a friend or meet with my priest every couple days so that I can talk and express what’s going on in my heart.

I’m learning the difference between catharsis and just plain complaining.

I’m learning to see people and circumstances the way that Christ would see them. Or I’m at least trying to learn how to do that…

I’m learning that there is a time to speak and a time to keep my mouth shut. And I’m learning that I’ve got a lot of room to improve in deciphering the difference between the two.

I’m learning to keep myself busy throughout the day and then give myself fifteen minute increments of “think time.” Otherwise I go too far one way or the other – and I either bottle everything up to the point that I explode on someone or I constantly feel the need to mope and complain.

I’m learning that I am blessed beyond comparison. I have a good job that I like. I have good friends. I have a sponsor whose family has taken me in and cooked for me, spent time with me, done my laundry for me, and doted on me. I have a priest who loves me. I have a fiance who adores me and who is working to provide for our wedding and the family we’ve decided will follow soon after. I have a God who loves me -and I have plenty of people to intercede with Him on my behalf.

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28 Apr

This weekend I saw my parents for the first time since telling them about my conversion. It was awful.

My dad said “Hello,” to me. That was the one word I heard from him the entire 37 hours I was there.

My mom, however, had quite a bit to say. And ask. And micro-manage.

Throughout the course of the weekend she publicly accused me of:

  • cheating on my fiance (whom she told me she doesn’t like anyways)
  • being pregnant (I kept trying to get away from her by telling her I was tired)
  • wrecking my car and not telling her (I drove up with a friend rather than driving myself)
  • intentionally not being able to find an internship/job for the summer
  • being lazy and selfish
  • doing drugs (I have no clue where this one came from)

Not once did she bring up the fact that I’m Catholic now.

There is literally nothing I can do to fix this…except maybe a long shower and a good cry.

Pray for me, friends.

7 Apr

My parents’ words are poisonous…

“Don’t you dare tell your grandmother. Don’t tell anyone even.”

“You might as well have become a Mormon. In fact, I wish you had.”

“This is just a phase. I’ve signed you up for a conference that’s going to fix you and get you through this faster.”

“You’d better not be thinking about becoming a nun.”

“You’re wrong, and you don’t know what you’ve done.”

~~~

I’m just not responding to them…so far if I’ve said something they’ve twisted it. It’s hard to twist silence. It’s hard to turn unsaid words into something ugly and poisonous.

I’m trying really hard to keep in mind that they haven’t even known for a week yet. There’s plenty of time for them to calm down.

S, on the other hand, is still furious. I’m trying really hard to keep him informed without telling him too much. I don’t want to make it hard for him to be a good son-in-law to them…but even based on the overview I’ve given him of my parents’ behavior this past week, he’s started to say that he doesn’t want them involved in our children’s spiritual lives at all. He also wants us to start saving so that we can pay for our own wedding.

I agree with him…is that wrong? Will that just cause further un-doable damage and hurt?

Father, Spirit, Jesus, help me. Save me. Love me. Guide me. Give me grace for my own sins so that I can extend grace to others for their sins against me. Give me words of comfort and wisdom for myself so that I can give those words to others. Help me to know when to be silent and when to speak. When I am to be silent, help me keep my mouth shut. When I am to speak, give me words. 

4 Apr

I got up bright and early for daily Mass…right before I left I saw that I had an email from my mom.

She’s shocked, but not disappointed. She wants me to know she still loves me.

But.

I’m not allowed to talk to my little brother about anything religious. And my parents will no longer be helping me pay for school. Honestly, I’m more upset about the brother thing…not that I had any plans to proselytize him, but the fact that she would say something like that really hurts. Thankfully I only have one more semester of school left, so I think I can manage to scrape by.

My fiance however, is not taking my parents’ response quite as passively as I am. My reaction is to cry and not say anything, while his is to get mad and yell. Well…I think he’s yelling. His chats are written in all caps.

And in the midst of it all I think Body and blood of Christ, save me…

 

 

Yeah these beads? They’re a rosary. Yes. A Rosary.

26 Mar

Lately I’ve been leaving for work early so that I have time to sit in my car and pray the rosary. I feel kind of uncomfortable praying the rosary in my apartment when my roommates are home because they’re both pretty Baptist and my praying to Mary isn’t really something I want to argue with them about at this point.

So tonight I was sitting in my car before work, rosary in one hand, prayer book in the other, and I was really going at it.

I was so into it that I missed it when one of my co-workers pulled in next to me. When I finished, I got out and saw her parked next to me so I walked over to talk to her.

“Since when do you read to yourself?” she asked.

“Uhhh I was praying.”

“With a book and a necklace?”

“Yeah, I was praying the rosary and there are images and stuff that go along with it.”

“Why?”

“Because I’m Catholic.”

“No you’re not. You’re joking and you’re not even being convincing about it.”

“Uhhh it’s not a joke [nervous chuckle], I’ll officially be a member this Saturday.”

“I’m telling H.”

[H is our boss. I work for our university as a person who calls people to talk to them about our school. We’re a Baptist school. So they don’t really want non-Baptists in the office. I don’t think I’d get fired, but I haven’t really told my boss because I feel kind of awkward.]

“Okay.”

“Holy cow, you’re really serious right now.”

“Yes, that’s what I’ve been saying.”

“Do you even know what you’re doing? I mean, you really shouldn’t get involved with that Church. I bet you have no idea some of the stuff that goes on with those people.”

I wasn’t really sure how to have this conversation. I mean I see this girl at work, but I don’t really know her on a personal level. So I did what I do when I’m not sure what to say – I asked a question:

“What about the Catholic Church bothers you?”

So we talked about Confession and whether or not Communion is really important. And I found myself giving intelligent answers succinctly and humbly (Thank You Holy Spirit!).

I am a Catholic now.

26 Mar

I go to Mass on Sunday – it’s in a church, but I call it “Going to Mass,” not “Going to Church.”

I have become friends with the Church Fathers – when I have a question about Scripture I turn to Sacred Tradition and the Catechism. What a joy to be free from the chain of Sola Scriptura!

I rest in the knowledge that Jesus never disinherited my Church or my faith. In spite of all the flaws of the Catholic Church, she has never once been abandoned by God.

I have the Eucharist instead of Communion. I have Jesus’ actual body and blood instead of a symbol. No more “snack-pack” or “self-serve” Communion services – instead every Sunday I honor Christ’s commandment to eat His flesh and drink His blood in remembrance of Him.

I have the liturgy. If I faithfully attend Mass on Sunday, within three years I will have heard the entire Bible read. Never again will I have to endure a three year sermon series focused on one book of the Bible. Now I can look forward to partaking in every part of the Word of God.

I have rest and peace. I used to leave Protestant churches feeling emotionally drained and physically exhausted. It was a challenge for me to endure the ups and downs that often accompany Protestant services and sermons. I also often found myself being asked to clean the church kitchen, work in the nursery, teach Sunday School/Children’s Church, and usually afterwards there was something else to clean, someone who needed a meal cooked, or a Youth group project to plan. While ALL of those things are good things, they were what I focused on when I went to church – and I often missed out on having time to spend with Jesus. I don’t miss that.

I have a rosary. I still cringe a little before I begin to pray, but afterwards (and throughout) I am filled with an indescribable peace. What a joy to meditate on the lives of Christ and His holy mother, and to think on the glorious things the Father and Spirit did through them!

I have more books in my Bible. Honestly this was the most exciting part of becoming a Catholic for me! I’ve flipped through them but haven’t had time for a sit-down read. I absolutely cannot wait to dive into these new books.

I see the Holy Spirit helping me to work out my Salvation with fear and trembling. I find myself falling into the habit of examining my conscience and making peace with God, others, and myself. It’s a beautiful (but still rather painful) process.

I love the Cross more than ever. I love Jesus so much, and I am more in love with Him than ever. I cannot describe for you the joy I have always found when I fall at the feet of Father, Spirit, Jesus. Becoming Catholic has increased that joy ten-fold.

My First Confession

14 Mar

Well…I’ve made my first confession.

I hadn’t been nervous about it until it was time for me to drive to the church. I got in my car and I was shaking so badly I could barely drive. I rarely drive with the radio off, but today it was grating on my nerves. I snapped it off impatiently.

When I walked into the church, the secretary said hi to me, but I couldn’t force a response out of my mouth. Father saw me and knew immediately that I was more than a little unnerved. So rather than go to the confessional he suggested we sit in his office and talk.

I pulled out my two page list of sins and glanced down at it. “There’s no way this can cover the nine years worth of sins I’ve amassed since my baptism,” I thought.

I looked at Father.

Then back at my list.

Then back at Father.

He folded his hands in front of him and said, “I don’t have anything else scheduled for this afternoon. We will take as long as you need. Even if all you need is to collect your thoughts.”

I sat for a second and took a deep breath.

“I…I…I have taken…” and that’s when the tears started. And they didn’t stop until I was two sins away from the bottom of my list.

It had been so long since I’d sat down and actually examined my conscience. I had forgotten what it feels like to ponder my own frail human nature. I had forgotten the feelings that accompany guilt – the terror of Hell, the desolation that comes from knowing you’ve hurt the One who loves you the most, the feeling of being despicable and unworthy of forgiveness – things I hadn’t felt since I gave up Protestantism.

This past week exhausted me for that reason. Ever since I had scheduled my confession with Father, I had been reflecting on the things I ought to share. And I began to feel much like I did prior to leaving the Protestant Church. I cried a lot this week, because I was afraid that I was entering into the same thing I am running away from.

Each time I remembered a sin, it felt like I was picking up an item from my room and putting it in a box. The box grew heavier and heavier as the week went on, and I carried it with me everywhere. Sometimes I would see someone or walk by a place and it would spark my memory – and then more things would go into my box. I felt myself beginning to despair because there was so much weighing me down.

“This isn’t what I want,” I thought. “I am entering the Catholic Church to get away from this. Yet here it is, following me everywhere I go.”

And then I went to Confession.

When I looked down at my list, each line seemed to taunt with evil glee, “You’ll never be able to say me,” one would say. “I’m too embarrassing to confess, you’d better hold back on me,” another would suggest.

So I started at the top, with the hardest things first. And I overcame that list, line by line. And at the end I tried to look Father in the eye, but the guilt was still there. It was almost tangible, I thought.

But then something happened that I had forgotten was going to happen.

Father absolved me.

And through Father, Jesus reminded me that He didn’t condemn. He forgave. And He will continue to forgive and to ease my guilt.