I want to share a wonderful email I got from a reader, David the other day.
He contacted me to ask some questions about mortal sin and confession, explaining that:
“I am a protestant-ish, guy, who is seriously contemplating the Catholic Church. I have been heavily influenced by Catholic writers over the course of these last few years. I have nagging questions that really burn me, and I need some help getting answers!”
I emailed back about a week later — and the next morning, he replied with some amazing news! (SUCH amazing news!!!)
The short period after I sent my question was followed by some thinking, some reading, a visit with a priest and attending Mass for the 2nd time. Along with lots of prayer, of course. Somewhere in the midst of all of this it was like a light-bulb went off. As I thought about the Sacraments, I kept going back to the thought of, “this is how much God loves us, that he would give us these visible, audible, tangible signs of HIS life, for us to experience.”
Two years ago, when the idea of *possibly* becoming Catholic popped into my mind (I had just finished reading about Peter Kreeft’s conversion), I distinctly remember laying on the sofa and sort of day dreaming about it… I thought about all of the strange Catholic practices and beliefs as I understood them and I tried to imagine myself in the middle of them: doing them. Terror overcame me. I fell on my knees and asked God to forgive me for even entertaining such thoughts.
The days and months since have been peppered with prayers asking God to “show me this is true, if it is true” or prayers of “Oh, Lord, I am so sorry for allowing these strange teachings to tickle my ears.”
I read two books this week. First it was The Protestant’s Dilemma: How the Reformation’s Shocking Consequences Point to the Truth of Catholicism by Devin Rose. Then it was Evangelical is Not Enough by Thomas Howard.
The first was fine, and I think it gave me a lot of good intellectual arguments in favor of the Church that helped me to cross the bridge.
The other one BLEW UP MY MIND. Not only did Howard write beautifully (that always seems to make things A LOT better, eh?) but it’s like the anti-catholic layers in my mind were peeled back and cut away and all of this peace just came over me. I thought to myself, “I must be Catholic.”
After meeting with a priest on Friday, I went over to my grandmother’s house (she is a life long Cajun Catholic) to tell her that I was going to be starting RCIA classes in September and that I am probably becoming a Catholic. She was so excited. My grandfather, just before he passed away, converted to the Catholic Church and she offered up his rosary beads to me. That was really something special.
My second Mass was on Saturday evening, just as all of these things were coming to a head. I left with a profound sense that I had just sat in on something profound, something sacred. I left thinking, “Lord, I cannot wait to come to your table – the Real Table, the One that actually means something, and to taste and see that You are good.”
RCIA goes for about 8 months starting this September. I can’t wait to take my first Holy Communion :) I am so excited!
How fantastic is that!?!?
Isn’t that just like God? We think we need answers to all these specific questions (and answers are good!) but often, just in the process of asking questions and seeking His truth, He reveals Himself to us. I mean, all this happened before I replied to David at all so you can know it wasn’t my doing!
Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. (Mt 7:7)
David’s story resonates with me because in some ways, it’s like mine.
I was also challenged by the Protestant’s Dilemma too (back when it was ‘If Protestantism is True’ — check out my post How ‘If Protestantism is True’ Turned Me Catholic) as well as absolutely amazed by another book by Thomas Howard. For me, that wasn’t Evangelical is Not Enough but the one he wrote a few years later, On Being Catholic. I would recommend both books unreservedly!
Can I ask you pray for David?
The process of becoming Catholic is an exhilarating, terrifying, amazing, challenging and completely worth it.
As you pray for David, please pray for all those who are making the decision whether to will begin RCIA in the next few months and those who have already decided that they will. These men and women who are received into the Church each Easter Vigil are such a blessing to us!1
Eternal Father, we thank You for all those who will are beginning their catechumenate this year. In Christ Jesus, You draw all people to Yourself and we praise You for your constant goodness and mercy.
Protect and guide them as they discern the truth of the Catholic Faith and open their hearts to love and believe in the Church. Give them a holy desire for the Eucharist, a pure devotion to our Blessed Mother, and a fitting obedience to the Pope and the Magisterium. By the Holy Spirit, grant us all the grace of joyful perseverance so that on the day of Christ we may be pure and blameless , to the glory and praise of Your Name.
Our Lady, Mother of the Church and Star of the Sea, pray for us.
St John the Baptist, pray for us.
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It’s cool, I wasn’t received at the Easter Vigil so I can say that… :p ↩