An unexplained yearning for conversion

This is one of my first posts, so greetings to everyone. Before I explain my question, I want to give a little background about my beliefs. I have been an Anglican for a decade now (since I was 15, when I converted from the Baptist faith by myself, much to the ire of my hardshell Baptist family :wink: ) I do attend an Episcopal church, however, it is of an extremely Anglo-Catholic and theologically orthodox persuasion. In fact, I would imagine that many of you would have flashbacks to the days before Vat 2 if you visited the Church of our Saviour (note the ‘u’ as an Anglicism :wink: ). Our Lady is venerated, Mass is said facing east, we still have communion rails, do not allow communion in the hand, and frequently combine the Anglican evensong with a period of Eucharistic adoration concluding with the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Yes, I know the Roman Catholic teaching on our Eucharist, but I am illustrating practice more so than theological tropes here. The only thing that you guys would notice that is different (it is a biggie) is that we do have a female Deacon. However, the Parish would never accept a female priest and we have ignored our Bishop’s threats if we do not allow a female celebrant at Mass. Our social teachings are the same as Rome’s entirely.

Among a Parish full of faithful devoted to Our Lady, I tend to stick out (proudly) as the most Marian of them all. (Father calls me the Margaret Thatcher of Marianism; when our new Bishop attempted to stop myself and others from teaching the Rosary in Sunday Church school, I replied with a once sentence email: “God sent us Christ through the Blessed Mother, so with all due respect your Grace, I will trust God’s judgement over your’s.”) The Rosary remains the spiritual mooring of all formation at our Saviour.

I say all this because, one would think, that I would be happy in a Parish that is Anglican in liturgical usage but orthodox in belief. And the fight against the “Oh, Anglicans would get on better if we just drop the Jesus thing…” crowd is indeed a just, if tiring and discouraging given that the present Presiding Bishop is an Atheist with a Miter on, cause. For 10 years I have been. But this last Sunday, I ended up attending a nearby Roman Catholic church because the 25-space parking lot was chock-full at Our Saviour. Mass did not begin for another hour, so I took a seat and began to pray the Rosary. As I moved from bead to bead, decade to decade, mystery to mystery, an overwhelming sense of peace and belonging came over me. I have never felt anything like it before. I immediately got up, and kneeling before an Icon of Our Lady, asked for her intercession for my discernment of this experience. When I went receive a blessing from the Father at Communion, he whispered “and, welcome my friend.” This priest, in a city of over a million people like Atlanta, and in the second-largest Parish in the city. recognized a newcomer and welcomed him. I knew then, that the doors were truly open. But going through them for an Anglo-Catholic is easier said than done.

As I continue to pray, I realize that I may be in a Parish whose beliefs reflect my own, but that I am in a Diocese and a National Church whose beliefs are contrary to the historic Catholic faith. I feel a longing to convert. At the same time, and many ex-Anglicans will tell you this, there are certain cultural and liturgical aspects of Anglicanism that make the thought of leaving a somber one as well. Our Rite I (traditional) Eucharistic prayer is sheer poetry, our tradition of Evensong is lovely and deeply moving, and receiving the Lord in both kinds at the Mass is almost an essential for us. I feel an unexplained longing to return to Christ’s Holy Catholic church. I want to hear others thoughts on how I might follow the Spirit’s guidance while attenuating (to the extent that is possible) the homesickness that will follow when I leave Anglican customaries behind.

As a final thought, for me, Anglican use within the RC is not an option. It would be like an Ex-smoker working at a Cigar bar. If and when I do return ‘home,’ it must be to a true Roman-rite church. It has to be a clean conversion, in other words.

I ask first, for your prayers in this uncertain time. The daunting decision makes this young man of 25 feel like that 15 year old who nervously walked into an Anglican church one day with no idea what to expect. For my part, I will continue to look to Our Lady, the very means by which the comfort and peace that are in Christ Jesus are brought to us.

And finally, I want to hear thoughts and feedback. Former Anglicans, what is your experience converting? Life-long Catholics, your advice is valuable as well.

I am off to (Catholic) church for the Rosary and Benediction. Thank you for your prayers, and I look forward to the replies that will await when I return.

I will definitely be praying for you! :gopray:

I understand completely. The Catholic Mass in Anglican parishes is lovely and deeply spiritual.

Prayers for discernment said.
Mary

Wow. :clapping:

Your parish sounds solid, but it is a tiny boat being tossed about in a vast, dark sea. But behold, God has prepared a large, ocean-going ship with a captain who knows how to bring us safely to that distant shore.

You may not find the accommodations or travelling companions completely to your liking, but you will be safe and secure aboard the Barque of Peter.

Fr. Longenecker, whose book is mentioned in my signature at present, was a Baptist, then an Anglican, and now he is a Catholic priest. You might want to read his books or visit his blog or both.

Godspeed.

There’s a point in your post when the hairs stand up, goose bumps appear and the loving hand of God is clearly at work.

I believe your question contains your answer.

Thank you for sharing. I feel God and Our Lady is doing qute well, You have my prayers. :slight_smile:

This is word for word how I feel. I am also 25.

First of all, hats off for converting at 15 against your parent’s wishes - I know how hard that can be and how much courage it must take.

Secondly, my only advice to you is to not resist the guidance of the Holy Spirit :wink:

Thanks for all of the replies and encouragement. I know I was writing in the spirit because of all the typos that I made. Why does this index a spirit-filled composition? I am about to go get my PhD in English. If I was able to overlook grammar mistakes, which to us Anglicans constitutes mortal sin (well, those of us Anglicans who still believe in sin!), well, something is up. Benediction, and the celebration of the Solemnity of Our Lady, was truly a blessing.

Another thing I might bring up is, and this is just in honestly, post-V2 Roman Catholic music is really, really… how do I say this? Well I should not lie. I think it is bad. The service music for the modern Roman Rite, at least what I have heard, is pretty horrendous. And keep in mind that I attended a large, well-established Parish. In no way does this factor into my discernment of where God is calling me to worship him, but it does factor into which Mass I will decide to go to when I do make the leap! You guys have to admit, Anglicans have it on the Romans in terms of (post-medieval) musical tradition. It may be Low Mass for me when I convert.

Or maybe us Anglican ex-pats will get together, have a musical “coup,” and get y’all back to singing Vaughn Williams and Purcell :wink:

The music depends largely on the parish, the pastor and whoever runs the music ministry. When I was in a parish in Garden Grove, CA the music director was a guitar player and the music was very contemporary. I am nearly 60 years old and didn’t care for it. When I moved to Huntington Beach, I landed in a parish whose music director is a senior-citizen organist (very good btw) and so the music is much more traditional and far more to my liking. This Sunday we sang one of my favorite hymns - “Holy God We Praise Thy Name”.

Musically, you just take your chances and make due what with. Oh, well.

Paul

I’ve said a prayer for you and I will devote my daily rosary to your intention. Listen to the whisper of the Holy Spirit. If you decide to come home it will not be easy as concerns those in your present church but God will not leave you alone, he will send strength and he will provide you with all you need. I have a friend who converted from assembly of God and it was rough but the Lord took him through it.

We’re looking forward to you bringing your hymnal with you! :thumbsup:

Great post, AnglicanMarian. :thumbsup: I’ve had much the same feeling – well not exactly the same. I’m cradle Catholic, so in my case the impulse was to join one of the other catholic Churches, such as Eastern Orthodoxy.

I find it so incredible that our God draws us to Him in simplicity, by filling us with that pure, absolutely joyful peace which you describe well; God’s presence within us.

People have been on this forum for years and have never become convinced to convert to the Church of the Apostles, regardless of all the best arguments from the most knowledgeable experts. But one touch of God’s hand can change us in an instant.

The spiritual consolation you received can also fade with time. In fact I can assure you that it will. God allows us to walk in the desert at times but he also gives us the strength to hold fast and persevere. But you will always find peace in the Church because Jesus is truly present there. I don’t know where you live but many, if not most, large parishes have 24 hour adoration rooms where you can be in the Lord’s presence any time of the day or night, each and every day. I highly recommend it. Just to be in his presence is enough.

God bless you on your journey, and welcome.

Steve

AnglicanMarian, have you heard of William Byrd, he was part of Elizabeth’s court and wrote many sacred (musical) pieces, i.e., he was a Catholic?

Anglican church music

Byrd’s staunch adherence to Catholicism did not prevent him from contributing memorably to the repertory of Anglican church music. Byrd’s small output of church anthems ranges in style from relatively sober early examples (O Lord, make thy servant Elizabeth our queen (a6) and How long shall mine enemies (a5) ) to other, evidently late works such as Sing joyfully (a6) which is close in style to the English motets of Byrd’s 1611 set, discussed below. Byrd also played a role in the emergence of the new verse anthem, which seems to have evolved in part from the practice of adding vocal refrains to consort songs. Byrd’s four Anglican service settings range in style from the unpretentious Short Service, already discussed, to the magnificent so-called Great Service, a grandiose work which continues a tradition of opulent settings by Richard Farrant, William Mundy and Robert Parsons. Byrd’s setting is on a massive scale, requiring five-part Decani and Cantoris groupings in antiphony, block homophony and five, six and eight-part counterpoint with verse (solo) sections for added variety. This service setting, which includes an organ part, must have been sung by the Chapel Royal Choir on major liturgical occasions in the early seventeenth century, though its limited circulation suggests that many other cathedral choirs must have found it beyond them. Nevertheless, the source material shows that it was sung in York Minster from c. 1618. The Great Service was in existence by 1606 (the last copying date entered in the earliest surviving manuscript source) and may date back as far as the 1590s.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Byrd

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