Sunday, July 8, 2007

Obligatory "Journey" Post

Yes, yes, the obligatory conversion story. Lots of Catholic blogs have these. They inspire some of the readers. Who knows, perhaps mine will as well.

I'm a revert, pretty much. I started as a cradle Catholic, but in spite of 4 years of Catholic school and six more of CCD classes, I never really did absorb much of doctrine, and shortly after Confirmation, I was a faithless agnostic, for all practical purposes. I saw no reason to concern myself with spiritual matters, as they could not be demonstrated by scientific means. I never descended to affirming the non-existance of God or anything spiritual.

I suppose it was that, along with associations in science fiction and fantasy fandom, is what led me to dabble in the occult, particularly some neoPagan rituals and Tarot, as well as an eschatological Baha'i cult. I dropped away from those as well, stumbling instead into Amway. My sponsor in Amway opened the trunk of his car shortly after I bought my IBO kit, and told me to borrow whatever books I wanted from his collection there. I wanted a greater understanding of people, so I grabbed Personality Plus by Florence Littauer. It was loaded with Christianity, but I figured that wouldn't prevent me from learning from it. And Mrs. Littauer's explanation of Hippocrates' personality archetypes using axes of outgoing to reserved and task to people oriented made sense and ordered a lot of my thinking on how people tend to think and what they want. (Much the same information can be found at

Then, at the end, she drew a simile. She spoke of her two anencephalic children, lovely babies born without brains. She said that knowledge and life without Christ was very much like her children without brains.

I rolled over and moaned, "Oh, my God. Oh, my God." I had just been made aware of the giant God-shaped hole in my life, that I had ignored for over ten years. I wanted Him back, but I didn't want to abandon my self-identity as a thinking person to do so. Of course, the next thing that came along was More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell, which convinced me that I was not taking leave of all reason by accepting the historicity of the Gospels. I attended some large functions which included various Protestant evangelists as speakers, and I went to the front a couple of times. But I did not really take up the practice of Christianity.

I got on the internet and found a good friend. She convinced me that Dexter Yager had lied continuously for thirty years about the unprofitable nature of "tools" (also called Business Support Materials), particularly the tapes, and I left Amway behind. But I missed the positive reinforcement of the tapes, so I started listening to radio evangelists. Then Dr. David Jeremiah, of Turning Point broadcast his taped program on Revelations. Though it clearly made him uncomfortable, he presented Alexander Hislop's libellous interpretation of the Whore of Babylon (or possibly Ralph Woodrow's update of it). And I flat out knew he was wrong about the worship of Mary. And hadn't God told Peter not to call profane anything He had made clean? God had cleaned pagan Yule rituals, and made them Christian. And IF the Sign of the Cross had at one point honored Ishtar and Tammuz, couldn't God make it now honor Christ?

(By the way, it turns out that Woodrow repudiated "Babylon Mystery Religion" later on in his life, an act of great courage and honesty, for which he deserve our admiration. He remains an evangelical Charismatic.)

I also participated in an online community pretty much devoted to disputation and arguments about religion and politics. I usually advanced or defended the libertarian position. Somebody there posted some declarations about the Catholic Church that again, I knew were flat out wrong. This time, I did some research, and was able to refute the declarations and provide links to the opposition. From that reasearch, I learned the basis for the Church's claims of authority and infallibility, which I found convincing. I joined the Catholic Exchange community and read nearly everything posted on their portal (still do, it's good stuff). I decided that it was time to return to the Church.

I was visiting my family for Christmas that year, and it was our plan to attend the Christmas Vigil Mass at the parish of my childhood, because they were losing their priest, and they wouldn't be getting another. I knew I desperately needed a good confession to receive the Eucharist, so I spent half the afternoon of Christmas Eve frantically looking for a priest to give me Reconciliation. I was out of luck. In desperation, I called the childhood parish, got hold of the pastor, and begged him to take my confession any time up to a full hour before Mass. He told me he'd be in the confessional fifteen minutes before Mass started. I was greatly relieved.

And it was all wonderful. I hadn't been so filled with joy in years.

The process of conversion is still ongoing, and with the help and guidance of the Church and the Holy Spirit, it will remain so for the rest of my life. I still have trouble with sin, particularly sins of omission. I do not regularly open either my St. Joseph's Edition New American Bible or my Catechism of the Catholic Church, but they're within arm's reach. Still, the introduction of the CCC, which described man's purpose in life, absolutely RIVETED me. It was just THAT good, to know what life is really all about. But at least I know now where I belong, which is within the Church founded by Jesus on Peter, and the root motivation for everything I should do: to know God, and to love and serve Him, with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength.

And I thank God for our separated bretheren, and ask that He bless them. But for them, I very much doubt I would be here. But the most credit MUST go to God, whose grace alone allowed me to find Him.


Anonymous said...

Wow, that is a WONDERFUL story.

green mom for Jesus said...

Praise God for your story and reconciling to the Catholic Church.
Thanks for sharing!