*just a note – my conversion journey is a slightly long, drawn-out process (as many are!). My hope in sharing it is that those in the process of converting are inspired and comforted, those that are “cradle Catholics” find their hunger renewed, and those that are neither be educated and enlightened!
While I can look back, even to my teens, and realize I had questions that weren’t answered in my protestant upbringing, I would say that the biggest launch point was in 2008, January in fact. A dear teacher of ours (remember, hubby and I were high school sweethearts) and now neighbor, passed away. Not being Catholic, we had no desire to sit through his funeral Mass, so we chose to go to the Wake. The nave was filled with many familiar faces, many of which were our former teachers. One in particular had written a eulogy – and in it talked of how the deceased had answered questions for him regarding Catholicism during an overnight security “sleep-over” at a school facility, and how that was a key part in his conversion (clear as mud? one convert – deceased teacher, 2nd convert – teacher giving eulogy, and eventual 3rd convert – me!). Seed, planted.
While my curiosity was sparked, my Catholic friends that I felt comfortable asking questions of didn’t have answers – for the most part they simply didn’t know (that’s just what we’ve always done). Y’all know the ones – why do you worship Mary? Why don’t you believe you can pray directly to Jesus instead of having Mary take your prayers to Him? Do you really think He cares that excess communion goes straight into the ground instead of in the trash? Why do you think babies need to be baptized – they are the most innocent things ever?!? I’m sure most of those sound familiar. So sat the seed………dormant while the wintertime of my soul nourished the soil.
That wintertime lasted many years.
Last fall, a lay missionary team preached a parish mission in our little town. Word on the street was that they were charismatic – a charistmatic Catholic? What? We attended the last 3 evenings, and all of my preconceived notions about Catholics were blasted away. That’s when the seed took off on a rapid growth spurt! As my trust grew with our friendships, I could finally ask questions, but I don’t think even I was prepared for the answers – much less the effect they would have on me, my relationship with God, or anyone else around me. God immediately gave me a hunger (starving is probably more accurate) for the Eucharist, and His conviction was like a jolt of electricity – the roots were planted, and firmly so. As I continued to ask questions, I tried to tell myself that it was simple research, learning, checking it out, but I knew in my heart that He was leading me to His Church.
That seed was going quite quickly now – after much prayer, journaling, and lectio divina it was time to “jump” as He told me – I told you to come, what are you waiting for? I met with the priest, and the plan was put into place. Someday I may share that plan, but for now, just know that it’s not the typical convert journey. That was just one of the many confirmations the Holy Spirit orchestrated, and I am so thankful that I’ve been able to feel His constant presence, that He reassures me regularly that this is His will. With a twist that only He could be responsible for, 6 years to the day of that teacher’s wake was my Rite of Welcome. I will be welcomed into the Church this Easter Vigil, 2014, and my heart aches for that evening to come! I hope that you will pray for me as His seed continues to grow and reach and blossom! Springtime has come!
I want to add that I am so thankful for the solid foundation that I received in my upbringing. For 35 years I was encouraged to have a relationship with each member of the Holy Trinity and that’s something I will always treasure! Those relationships have made this journey all the more sweet and passionate.