Updated, Feb 2: Updated (recentlyish) material at the end of this post. — Lee (@disciple96)
I’m a convert who was received into Holy Mother Church one year after Rosalind Moss was–1995 her, 1996 me. (My handle, Disciple96, refers to that marvelous year and not to my birth date, though it could be said to mark my re-birth date. That’s how it felt then and still feels now.) I began as a Methodist but my immediate family was not as strong in the faith as was my Grandmother, who was probably a Saint, capital S! She was a true disciple of Christ. I know I can’t canonize her, but her holiness was known to all who knew her.) I loved the church, went to Sunday School and Youth Fellowship, sang in the choir from when I was a little girl through high school, singing in ensembles, until I left for college.
Oy, college! And that’s where I started to drift. I had always had questions about Christianity (as in, how does it work, huh?) and I could never find answers that made sense to me. I could see my Grandmother reading the Bible and praying and living a very Christ-like life, always giving to others in her neighborhood and her church and her family, even though she lived as if she were very poor. She spent all her money and energy and love on others.
But I still couldn’t make sense of it all. (I wish I could talk to my Grandmother now about the interior life and following Christ.) So I started studying philosophy and psychology in college. And didn’t find any real answers there. Went on to search for truth along many different paths. Didn’t find much convincing help there. Ended up finding a (temporary) home in Eastern religion, became a practicing Buddhist for several years, but I was always uncomfortable with its agnosticism (and downright atheism, in some branches of study). (And I had an interesting habit of addressing my Buddhist “prayers” to “Father” or “Our Father.” The Lord was probably just shakin’ His head.) I was always on the lookout for anything that would help me understand Christianity, and, surprisingly perhaps, this long search did help me begin to understand a few things.
Then a friend asked me to look into Catholicism. I was indignant. “Are you suggesting that I convert? That’s fine for you, but I’m a Buddhist!” Well, after several heated arguments and knockdown dragout fights, I said, “Okay, I’ll look into it,” thinking to myself, I can add it to my ridiculously long list of religious misadventures. I was already working in a Catholic bookstore and reading and listening to some tapes. My friend was going to take a Catechism class and I asked if I could take the class too. After she regained consciousness, she said yeah. Those Catechism sessions changed my life.
Well, to make a long story longer, I asked the priest who had taught the class (after the original facilitator couldn’t continue due to illness) if I could take convert classes. I fell in love with Christ and His Church and during the Easter Vigil 1996, I received Confirmation and First Holy Communion. I was grinning and giddy like a young bride. Well, young-ish.
Here I am, all these years later. I’ve been through some struggles; I’ve left* and come back; and I feel that even after all this time, I’m only just beginning to understand. Just beginning to see. Just beginning to let the Lord’s ways and His love sink in and melt my hard heart.
Read more in Another version of my conversion story posted Dec 28 2012 or in an older post at the forums at Catholic Answers. (Forum link no longer works since they reorganized their site, my old username doesn’t even work now. Maybe I kept the post somewhere. Sigh.)
Updated text, April 2019
*That deserves some explanation. I left, not because of any rejection of Church teaching or because of any squabble with a priest or anything like that at all. I left because I was attached to something I didn’t want to give up, didn’t think I could give up. And I was wrong to leave. I was stupid to leave. And once I woke up to that fact, after getting into arguments with many people about the Church and always defending the Church, I came crawling back on my hands and knees to beg forgiveness and to do penance for allowing our ancient enemy to lure me away like that.
He whispers in our ears. He tells us that we are justified in our refusal to change. He tells us that we cannot change, that we cannot live up to our baptismal promises. And he’s right! We can’t! Not on our own, we can’t. But we can do all things through the grace of the One Who loves us, the One Who is Love and Truth and Goodness and Beauty. The One Who wants nothing but the best for us and that is to live eternally with Him in Heaven.
I came back because I realized that I have never belonged anywhere the way I belong in the Church, to the Church. To the Blessed Mother who has always watched over me and protected me. To Christ waiting in the tabernacle, waiting to give Himself to me in the Eucharist. To the Holy Spirit Who led me to the Church and patiently led me back again when I strayed. To the Living God Who makes all things new, even silly old ladies like me. Thanks be to God.
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy your visit here. May His peace be always with you. God bless you!
Image credit: free from Pixabay.