Tag Archives: Catholicism
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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Healing

14 May

Father, Spirit, Jesus – heal me.

Take my broken heart, my tears, my long lonely nights of insomnia, my hours of holding my tongue as my mother speaks daggers into my life.

Take them – they’re Yours.

And in return give me a heart of strength, eyes full of joy, nights of rest, and days of uplifting words.

But if you can’t do that right now, help me to accept more of this cup of bitterness. Hold my head and my hand as I taste more of the things I do not want.

Help my parents. You and I both know that this isn’t just about me becoming Catholic – I’m growing up and that scares my parents. They need to feel needed. And I don’t need them the way that they want anymore. Give them opportunities to feel – and be – needed.

I trust You.

I asked for a place to live and You gave it to me two hours after I asked.

I asked for another job and You gave it to me two weeks after I asked.

You have provided and I trust You to give me the things that You know I need. I also trust You to withhold the things You know I don’t need – or to give me the things I need in Your own timing.

So whether it takes two months, two years, two decades, or two centuries – please heal my family. Heal my mother’s anger and my father’s disappointment.

Heal me. Love me. Take me. Mold me.

 

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.

Struggles

20 Apr

The dailiness has set in…the shine of being Catholic has worn off a little bit for me. It’s still as beautiful of a part of my life as ever, but it’s not new anymore. I knew deep down that this day was coming, but I really wanted to pretend that I would be permanently excited about my faith.

Thank goodness for my sponsor and her family – I would be really discouraged right now if I didn’t have them. I also found out that a guy in one of my classes is Catholic. The joy in his eyes as he asked me about my Confirmation and First Communion revived my spirits a bit. I also got the chance to talk to S’s mom about joining the Church – she’s really happy for me and had tons of questions. Actually she acted exactly the way I wish my own mother had…

I found a beautiful version of The Litany of the Saints and a couple of songs by Libera and those have been pretty encouraging. I’m trying to get through my reading list, but I haven’t picked up anything but a textbook this past week. My sponsor and I have also started doing this Bible Study by Scott Hahn.

But I’m struggling.

I am finding more and more things about being Catholic that I didn’t even know that I didn’t know. And the people who’ve pointed these things about to me haven’t been particularly gentle. I’m balking. I’m resentful. I’m confused. I have no problem obeying God and the Church, and but I’m struggling with some of Her followers who’ve taken it upon themselves to tell me that I need to buy a veil, set up an elaborate altar in my (very small four-person) apartment, and buy certain medals and other religious objects.

Those things are all really nice, and maybe at some point they’re things the Lord would ask me to do, but for right now I think He’s okay that I don’t wear a veil to Mass, especially since I always make sure that I’m dressed modestly enough not to distract anyone. And I think He understands that the little cubby in my desk that contains my Confirmation candle, crucifix, and a couple prayer books are the best I can do for an altar right now. And I definitely think He knows that I don’t have the money or the space for religious objects that I’d just end up having to get rid of when I move after graduation anyways.

I love being Catholic – but I feel like all of a sudden people are bombarding me with extra rules and traditions. And while I can see the value of those things, I just need some breathing room. This is a lot to take in. And quite honestly all the extra stuff is a bit of a stumbling block for me at this point. I’m struggling because I feel like I’m not Catholic enough, like I’m just not good enough or smart enough or patient enough to handle what everyone else seems to be able to manage like second nature.

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.