Reply To: Ni hao and hello.

Home Forums Introductions Ni hao and hello. Reply To: Ni hao and hello.

#2346
Anonymous
Inactive

You guys got my whole faith story. The second half is meeting my best friend and coming to the Catholic Church. Jack Chick would take that as proof text of D&D’s evil.

I do have a “conversion story” somewhere on my websites. It was written rather quickly for a webboard I used to visit.

[quote:1deht9gi]I am not sure if I should be called a convert or merely a delayed member.

I was baptised catholic. My mother raised me without any religious overtones. I was supposed to be good but not because I was Christian; I was supposed to be good because otherwise it would reflect negatively on my parents.

Skip ahead.

I began attending a Protestant church with my neighbors. My brother and I were invited to a group known as AWANAS (I forget what it stands for). On the surface it was a place to play games and have fun. After the first few weeks, the mentors began to preach to the friends of church members (ie my brother and me).

After being saved we began attending church there.

Skip ahead.

The ministers of the church came to my house and spoke to my mother about baptising my brother and me. My mother, surprisingly unmoving in a renewed sense of Catholicism, refused to allow them to baptise us outside of Christ’s Church. With that, my brother and I stopped attending the church (as did the neighbors who first invited us to go).

Skip ahead.

Left to my own devices, I began to read a number of religious texts. I studied hinduism and buddhism and zen and a host of other religions and philosophies through books and found them lacking in some way or another. I turned once again to Christianity. I began reading a number of Protestant books about the Bible and what it says. I would read the passages cited in the text with a mind to see what they told me but oftentimes I did not find it. When I began reading the verses before and after the cited verse I saw a meaning contrary to or slightly different from the what they told me I should see.

Skip ahead.

I accepted a few things as true. Jesus is God. Jesus died so that I might live. God is good and I am not. Anything beyond that was of no concern. This was the attitude I took into high school, though I continued to read Protestant literature and accept or reject what I found convincing (based on what I was told in AWANAS, that I, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, had the ability to understand Scripture for myself).

Skip ahead.

I joined my school’s National Academic League team (we placed 2nd in state our very first year and took the National Title the next). I met my best friend on the team. Through our friendship I learned he was Catholic. I determined to read about the Catholicism that was so universally condemned in what I had previously read. To put it in the words of Tim Staples, “I decided to read what the Catholic Church had to say about itself, rather than what those who disagreed with it said.”

Skip ahead.

My delving into the world of Catholic literature was very slow. I had no real idea what Catholicism was and why it was supposedly wrong. I thought, “If the important thing is to be saved by faith, what stops a Catholic from being saved by faith?” Preliminary readings indicated nothing to bar Catholics from salvation.

Skip ahead.

My aunt and uncle came to visit. They are very staunch Catholics and, as I was later told, had a bit of a problem that my mother was not raising her children in any faith let alone the Catholic faith (they are my brother’s godparents). I do not know what transpired, but I do know that any visit from my aunt and uncle means a trip to mass (which, until this time, I had never realized was church nor did I know it was Catholic). This was the first time I participated in a mass (though, of course, I did not receive communion). I loved it. Something about the whole ordeal just felt right. I began attending mass every Sunday, though I was not Catholic by any means.

Skip ahead.

After a year attending mass I noticed a change in my mother. She used to speak out against the Church at times (her favorite being, “I don’t have to follow any man-made rules” in reference to Lent) and I never knew her to attend mass. Now she was going to mass every Sunday with me and it turned out she was Catholic (I never knew that about her either).

Skip ahead.

I finally resolved to get up to my arms in Catholic literature to see what was what. I had only gone a small bit before and observing mass only teaches you so much about the Church. I got out my Protestant books and bought a number of Catholic texts and sat down to compare what was said. The Protestants made a case for such and such an issue using the ubiquitous Bible passages. The Catholics showed what the Bible passages were saying in context (which, unlike my earlier disagreement with the Protestant claims, made perfect sense), provided quotes from the early church fathers (I had never seen quotes by these men in any Protestant book I read), and then showed the same point through logic (something I had believed had no place in religion). Point by point the Catholic texts refuted what I had learned at the Protestant church and what I had read in the Protestant books.

Skip ahead.

I began to study Catholicism. Before I was seeing if what Protestants claimed about Catholicism was true. Now I was seeing what the Church said about itself and about the faith. I learned many things and continue to learn. In my readings I encountered many things that were hard to grasp and I fell into many traps (such as believing Catholics worshipped Mary).

Skip ahead.

In my readings I learned of other religions. Far be it from me to neglect the LDS Church and JWs because I found Catholicism first (also my cousins are Mormon so I thought I would see what kind of things they did). Putting aside Catholicism for a while, I read about Mormons and JWs. JWs intrigued me because they claim the all-powerful Jehovah is capable of so little (especially in the case of the 144000). I wanted to know why I should join a religion that could not guarantee me a place in heaven like the Protestants, Catholics, and Mormons. Of course, Mormons were even more appealing than the rest. Why join God in heaven when you can be a god? But, as with my early days of Protestantism, something felt very wrong about the LDS Church.

Skip ahead.

Feeling that I had given Protestantism the short end of the rod, I began reading books that specifically dealt with refuting the claims of the Catholic Church. Book after book left me unsatisfied of the veracity of their claims. Most often I found cases of very poor logic (on a variety of levels) and the feeling of wrongness continued inside. I literally felt like each passing article damaged my soul. I turned to deeper prayer and continued attending mass (I found that after I first began attending a Catholic church and praying to Him, God would grant me wisdom at the most beneficial times).

Skip all around.

My last comment reminded me of something more. When I attended the Protestant church and watched Protestant television and listened to Protestant radio, I often felt no relation to what was being preached at the particular time. Rather than having any direct bearing with my situation in life, it seemed distant. I took the message to heart but had to wait before it became relavant. However, when I began attending mass I found that each week the readings and homily addressed exactly what I needed. It happens so often it actually happened this morning. The past few days I questioned how I should go about defending the faith. This morning the homily was about using your individual strengths and talents to spread the faith and bear witness to the Lord. Even more striking was that this morning was when I decided to attend mass every day. A question, a prayer, and an answer delivered, as always, in the midst of a Catholic mass.

Back on track.

I am a baptised, unconfirmed adult. Due to a recent move, I was unable to enter deeper into the faith. Now that I am settled I plan on joining the Catholic Church in full. I look forward to the day I can receive the Eucharist.

Update:

On May 25th, 2003 I was confirmed in St. Paul the Apostle Church in New York City by Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona and I received the Holy Eucharist for the first time.[/quote:1deht9gi]