Tag Archives: Catholic
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.

An Open Letter to a Single Momma

25 Apr

You were sixteen when you found out you were pregnant. You were alone and ashamed. You had no idea how you were going to finish high school with a baby.

But you knew that the baby inside you was alive. You knew that that baby was special and unique. Most importantly you knew that that baby was not just your child, but God’s child as well.

How did you face your strict Christian parents? How did you look them in the eyes and tell them your secret?

How did you face the teasing – the cruel jeers about your body and your sexuality that your peers felt free to make? How did you find the courage to walk down the hallways of your school each day?

I wish so badly that I could go back in time and hold your hand during those hard times. I wish that I could un-do the cruel and careless words said about you and your beautiful baby. I hope and pray that some day I will have just half of the strength that you had during those nine months – and the years after.

You’ll never know how much I admire you for the beautiful words about your baby that you shared with me last week:

From the moment I knew he existed he was my reason for breathing.

I love you so much sweet lady. I love your soul and your strength and your love for God. I love you because you loved your baby more than you loved yourself.

I am proud that someday I’ll be able to call you mother-in-law. That beautiful baby that you gave birth to grew into the best man I’ve ever met. He is my hero and I love him with my whole heart. Thank you for giving him life. Thank you for giving him to me.

God did a great work in you. He took what Satan intended for evil and made it into a love more beautiful than words can describe – a love between mother and son, a love between man and wife, and a love between mother and daughter-in-law.

5 Things I Want My Protestant Friends To Know

18 Apr

[These are all based on personal thoughts and feelings about my dealings with Protestant friends these past few months. No arguments, or anything like that!]

1. Some of you have been absolutely amazing throughout this special part of my life. I cherish you and the beautiful, kind souls within you. Your support, prayers, and words of advice, encouragement, and honesty are worth more to me than I can describe. My relationships with you give me hope – hope for myself, hope for you, and hope for a day when Protestants and Catholics can be at peace with one another.

We have agreed to disagree – and that’s okay! We have spent so many wonderful nights sitting at our coffee tables and talking about Jesus. We didn’t always share the same beliefs, but we shared the same risen Lord – and He is the true heart of the matter. Thank you for showing me Jesus within yourselves, thank you for seeing Jesus in me, and thank you for letting Him be what is important.

The rest is for everyone else:

2. I cannot explain my faith in a ten minute conversation – especially not with you standing there grilling me. If you want to discuss the Catholic Church, you’re going to have to pick one topic at a time. It’s really confusing when you ask me about confession and then when I’m in the middle of answering your question you ask me about Mary. And then in the middle of that you ask me about two or three other things.

If you really want to know what’s going on with my faith then feel free to sit me down and ask any and all questions you want. I love talking about Jesus and I love talking about what I’ve learned in the Catholic Church.

If you’re just looking for ways to twist my words and argue with me then I’m going to stop you as soon as I realize that. I do not like to argue and I’m not going to debate you.

3. So help me if you hand me another another anti-Catholic pamphlet I just might throw it at you.

Have you even read those yourself? As an English Major most of those things are an insult to my intelligence. They’re full of grammatical/spelling errors and poorly constructed sentences. Most importantly,  the arguments in those things are not really true because they take things out of context or they twist things around

4. Trust Jesus. I know that watching me do this has scared you. It’s made you angry. It’s maybe even filled you with doubt. Know that I am simply obeying my Lord. I became Catholic because I knew that’s what God wanted of me. I trust God and His direction. Won’t you please do the same?

5. The Catholic Church is beautiful. I can’t sum her up sufficiently. Just know that as Protestants we were all taught a lot of lies. We were taught to hate, and that was wrong. We were taught to slander, and that was wrong.

Before you criticize me, worry about me, or argue with me, go to a Mass. Most Churches have Mass on Saturday nights so then you can still go to your own church on Sunday morning. Don’t worry about anyone trying to convert you, Catholics don’t really worry about that the way Protestants do.

Five Things I Want My Cradle Catholics Friends To Know

17 Apr

[I’ve joined a Bible study for Catholic young adults. I’m one of two converts in the group. I’ve really enjoyed being a part of this study, and I’m so glad to have some more Catholic friends, but over the past few weeks I’ve definitely seen and heard some things that have made me cringe a little. I’m hoping and praying for the Holy Spirit to provide opportunities for me to share some of the following things with my new friends.]

1. I don’t get always get along or agree with my parents. Sometimes I need to talk about this. When I do, I want to be listened to and maybe even agreed with. I might even appreciate a healthy outside perspective on my parents. However, I don’t want to hear them bashed, I don’t want them to be put down or unfairly judged. They’re still my parents, after all.

I feel this same way when I find myself in the middle of a group of Cradle Catholics bashing on Protestant views and people. I know better than most that there are certain Protestant beliefs that from a Catholic perspective make no sense, justify sins, are just downright confusing, and that sometimes lead to people dealing with a lot of hurt.

But no matter what, the Protestant Church is my parent church. She raised me. She fed me as a child. She was who first taught me to love God and to love others. The bad situations and bad people I encountered in the Protestant Church will never cancel that out.

It’s easier for me to discuss Protestantism with former Protestants because they’ve been there. They’ve truly known her and been one with her. It’s hard for me discuss Protestant issues with people who just don’t know her that well, especially when the conversation has a very negative tone. Dialogue and discussion don’t need to put any person or group down in order to be useful.

2. I love the Blessed Mother and I love the Saints. I have absolutely been thrilled to recognize them for the beautiful and powerful people they are. What a blessing to be showered with their love, prayers, and examples!

Please know that I’m not hiding my devotion to them by praying the rosary or reading my book of Saints in my car instead of when I’m surrounded by Protestant friends, family, or roommates. I am not hiding them. I am keeping them safe from silly arguments and accusations. I would far rather not discuss them at all than hear comments about worshiping dead people.

3. It’s nearly impossible to make a blanket statement about Protestant beliefs or people. Between individual interpretation of Scripture and the vast number of denominations, it’s really hard to create a firm description of specific Protestant beliefs. Each Protestant is going to have different views on Salvation, Baptism, Communion, and the color the church carpet should be.

4. Some things about the Catholic Church are still hard for me to wrap my mind around. I’m still new here, so please be gentle and patient with me. I’ve had a year-long love affair with the Catholic Church in which the Holy Spirit has been hard at work healing old and broken ways of thinking. He’s not finished with me yet.

If I don’t understand something, speak your peace, let the subject go, and then pray for me. Jesus led me here so far, so let’s both of us trust Him to complete the good work He started in me.

5. As a child I learned three new verses every week. As a teen I read the entire Bible three times over.  I went to Christian schools where I had Bible classes. I’ve taken three Bible classes here at college. The Bible is very close to my heart. I seek shelter and comfort in it’s words. I even love the dry and uninteresting parts because they are as familiar to me as my parents’ house. Reading the Bible feels like going home.

I don’t expect everyone to think or feel this way at all. I know that as an English Major the written word is closer to my heart than for others. And I know that as a former believer in Sola Scriptura I will always have a soft spot for Scripture. But it absolutely appalls me to hear statements like the following:

“You should read about Saint Nicholas – you know Santa Claus. I’m pretty sure his story is in the Bible.”

“What book is the story of Noah in? That’s in Matthew, right? Matthew’s a book, right?”

“I don’t believe in reading the Bible on my own.”

I have loved being Catholic because it has freed from needing to read the Bible in order to be saved. At one point in my life I believed that my salvation rested on whether or not I was “in the Word.” I am so glad to be free from that type of guilt. But in saying that, if you’re a Catholic and you aren’t at least familiar with the basics of Scripture, you’re missing out! Scripture is beautiful and powerful. It is such a source of strength and comfort.

Not only that, but it’s a lot harder for Protestants to accuse you of not knowing Scripture if you actually know Scripture. The best part about it too is that you already know more than you realize. The prayers said in Mass come straight out of the Bible. Many of the songs are rooted in Scripture passages. And of course, the readings too!

As I came into the Church I recognized the Scripture immediately – it was honestly one of the most stunning experiences of my life. How beautiful would it be to encounter the Scriptures and recognize the Church immediately? The two are intricately intertwined in a beautiful, Holy relationship and I have a deep desire for those who don’t see that relationship to discover it.

Current Reading

13 Apr

Somehow I’ve managed to compile a mile-long reading list!

Websites

A Guide to Being Catholic – this has been a fantastic resource for me! I haven’t read all of the pages the author has up, but everything I’ve seen so far has been really good. Everything is written at a basic level so I don’t find myself having to google words or phrases. This website pretty much covers everything – from devotions and prayers to the foundations of the Catholic worldview.

Don’t Let Problems in the Church Steal Your Peace – my mom has been throwing fits about things she’s read about the Vatican, so I went on a mission to find a way to be okay with problems in the Church. This article was an answer to prayer! Even though it’s written by a Catholic for Catholics, it’s perfect for Protestants wanting to defend their faiths as well. Sadly enough we live in a culture where “bad” people in our Churches steal our peace about our faiths – but Jimmy Akin’s explanation of why that shouldn’t be soothed my heart and mind, and hopefully it will yours as well!

Books I’ve Recently Purchased

If Protestantism is True – I will be honest…I’m slaving through this book. The concepts are really, really good…but I’m really not a fan of Devin Rose’s writing style. I find myself having to read with a notebook because he crams really huge concepts into tiny sections. He also jumps from topic to topic fairly quickly, which causes some confusion. However. I am determined to get through it because he really does have some amazing stuff to say. I also find myself thinking a lot as I read – which is exactly what I want out of a religious book. (Also the kindle version is only $2.99!)

A Year of Biblical Womanhood – How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband “Master” – I love, love, love Rachel Held Evans. I loved her as a Protestant and I love her even more as a Catholic. She’s one of those people that just has a beautiful soul. Her words are full of truth and beauty. In this book she spends a year following the Bible as literally as possible. It’s a very light-hearted yet serious book – she’s really good at making you think and laugh all in one sentence.

Books I’ve Recently Been Loaned

(I don’t have any comments on these because I haven’t even looked at their back covers yet!)

A Biblical Walk Through the Mass: Understanding What We Say and Do In The Liturgy – Edward Sri

Sinners Welcome: Poems – Mary Karr

Rome Sweet Home – Scott and Kimberly Hahn

Signs of Life: 40 Catholic Customs and Their Biblical Roots – Scott Hahn

 

 

 

Some Teensy Changes Around Here

12 Apr

Six years ago I had a mentor sit me down and give me some advice. I was fourteen at the time, and not nearly as mature as I thought I was, so I’m afraid most of that information went in one ear and out the other. But one phrase has always stuck with me: “Become what you are.”

I’ve thought a lot about those words over the years:

You are God’s child – become a child of God.

You are full of God’s graces – become a person who is full of grace.

You are forgiven – become one who forgives.

You are whole in Christ – become whole in Christ.

This past week I saw something in myself that I didn’t like – I am a woman who has not become a woman.

Now then, I’m not being hard on myself in saying this. I don’t feel guilty or that I’m any less of a person – just that it’s time to do some growing up.

I’m twenty years old. I have a fiance with whom I am hopelessly in love. I have held down a difficult job for over a year now (the average retention rate is a semester). Not only have I held it down – I’ve excelled. I have submitted a proposal to my school’s research committee for a book I want to write. Not only have they approved it – but I’ve had multiple professors tell me how excited they are to see more of my work.

So why do I feel like a ten year old when I see an e-mail from one of my parents? Why do I squirm when I see “Mom” or “Dad” on my phone’s caller ID? Why do I have so much trouble believing that when they’re upset it’s not my fault? I am so afraid to tell them that I’m different from them – that I want different things, like different things, believe different things, know different things, hope for different things. Why does that seem so impossible to me?

Because I have to learn how to become the daughter that I already am.

I have to learn how to become the Catholic that I already am.

I have to learn how to become the woman that I already am.

So I’ve changed my description ^ up there to remind me of this. Pray for me, dear friends and readers.