I have been putting off writing this post for two years. Because the story of our journey to the Catholic Church is really the story of our lives so…what to include? How to explain? Overwhelming.
In my favorite novel, Brideshead Revisited, the main characters read a passage from a Father Brown story by Chesterton which becomes a theme in the book:
“I caught him (the thief) with an unseen hook and an invisible line which is long enough to let him wander to the ends of the world and still to bring him back with a twitch upon the thread.”
I can’t really explain how God’s grace has drawn me to his Holy Church. But this is my attempt at telling how I have been drawn to Him with “a twitch upon the thread.” So here it goes…
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t believe in God and in the grand narrative of his Incarnation as a man, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and his death on the Cross—the salvation of the world. Daniel and I count ourselves blessed to have been raised by parents who love God and live out their Protestant faith very devoutly.
I was always very involved in my Protestant church and youth group and, until sometime in college, planned to be a missionary. Because that’s what you do when you’re serious about your faith, or at least that’s how I understood it. And it wasn’t until early high school that I started to feel any sort of draw to the Catholic Church as well as an unsettling and unease with my Protestant faith.
Major issues of faith began to cause me anxiety. My questions such as “What exactly does it mean to be ‘saved’? How do you know you have Jesus in your heart?” were given very individualistic and experiential answers: “You just know. After ‘asking Jesus into your heart’ you’re saved.” “But, what about people who commit terrible sins, murder for instance, after ‘asking Jesus into their hearts’? Are they saved?” “They were probably never saved to begin with because they didn’t have a genuine conversion experience.” “Well, how do I know mine is genuine?!” “You just know.” I didn’t just know. And, in addition to matters of salvation, questions about how to interpret the Bible remained unanswered or unsatisfactorily answered. And I found myself tired, exhausted, and ill-equipped with the colossal task of having to decide every point of Christian doctrine on my own.
When my parents were confirmed in the Anglican church just before I left for college, I began wondering where I would end up. I was introduced to liturgy in the Anglican church and loved that, but still felt like a nomad. My first year of college I “tried out” Episcopal and Baptist churches, but didn’t really find a home…
Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow….