Wednesday, December 21

Private message on my board

I frequent a board, and was Private Messaged asking me why I wanted to convert to Catholocism. I gave a response and liked the answer, so I'm going to copy and paste it here:

Not nosy at all, I wouldn't have a blog if I didn't want to talk about it. Well, my conversion story is kind of long, but I'll give you the medium version. I have been looking for God for years. I grew up Mormon, but lost faith at 21. I mean completely - no faith in God, no faith in Christ, nothing. I tried being Mormon again my my late 20's, but just couldn't find a testimony and gave up at 30.

I've searched all over for a place where I felt I needed to be. I'm still not 100% confident in the existance of God or nature of God, and I am looking forward to spending a lifetime getting to know Christ. Right now, though that part is still kind of fuzzy.

But I had been searching so hard, for so long. Protestant religions never did anything for me. Sing, pray, sermon, give money, sing, go home - not my thing. I investigated so many churches, some pretty intense (Buddhism, Hare Krishna), some just Googling to see what the web had to say about them (Kaballah).

I went to a Catholic wedding a few weeks ago, and while I was sitting there, I was so jealous of people who got to go partake of the Eucharist. I wanted to experience that. I felt this ... warmth, this serenity sitting there in the chapel. And then in this big cascade, switches started getting flipped. I could do this. *I* could go to a Catholic church EVERY WEEK if I wanted! I could get baptized if I wanted! I could learn about the Catholic church! I could feel this good all the time. I could do this every week. I can be a part of this.

For me, finding God was two fold. First, I had to find a place where I felt serene and safe to do my searching. Second, I had to find an organization where I would be absorbed into it. I would be a part of something bigger than myself. To me, that's the biggest difference between being Protestant and being Catholic. Being Protestant, you get to know God, you get to have a personal relation with Christ, your guidebook is the Bible and your communication is with God and with Christ. Once you accept Christ, that's it. Everything else is gravy in a Protestant church. The preacher is gravy, the sacrament is gravy, none of that is "needed" in a Protestant church. And some Protestant churches, like the Church of Christ, say you have to be that denomination to get into heaven, and yet they still have no authority like the Catholic church claims to have.

Becoming Catholic means becoming part of the larger Body of Christ. Being Catholic means submitting to the authority of the priesthood which has been around since the time of Christ. I cannot simply say, I believe in Christ and become baptized and I'm a member. I have to learn about Christ, and learn about the Church and its traditions. I have to have a sponsor during my RCIA program to help guide me on this journey. I get to learn about the history of the Catholic church - both good and bad. Everything in a Mass, from the mannerisms of the laity as they walk into the church (crossing in Holy Water, genuflecting at the pew) to every single piece of clothing on the priest, is dictated by hundreds and thousands of years of tradition.

But with all this beauty and tradition and history, I still have a personal relationship with Christ. I can also form a relationship with Mother Mary, which was kind of hard at first. Yes, she was simply a woman, but she was also the mother of God. I mean, can you even imagine??? Mother of GOD! When she died, the traditions of the Catholic church said that she was exalted and made Queen of Heaven. Can you fathom how much that Christ loved his mother? My favorite part of the Rosary is the mystery at the end of the Glorious mysteries where it is the Assumption of Mary. Christ loved his mother so much that when she was ready to die, he could not bear of her going through that, so he used his power and had her assumed into heaven. When I pray that part of the Rosary, I can see her seeing her son again, healed with a resurrected heavenly body, and his arms holding his beautiful, beloved mother. And if he loves her that much, I know it can't be a bad thing to get to know her and believe in her through prayers like the Rosary.

If you become Protestant, any church is interchangeable, and each church has its own ways of doing things. The sacrament is a remembrance. But the Catholic church makes a miraculous claim. Through the priests and authority of the Catholic church, the Eucharist and Wine of mass actually *become* Christ. I truly believe that being in the presence of the Eucharist brings me closer to Christ. At first I had a hard time figuring out how this happened, but then an analogy popped into my head. Have you ever seen that picture with two faces, and then all of a sudden you look at it slightly different and it's a white goblet? It's the same with the Eucharist. It's still the same - it's still bread. But at that moment when the Priest says the prayer, the two faces become a goblet, and the bread becomes Christ.

I hope this answers your questions without being too rambling. :) Feel free to ask away.


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