I never really have. But if I had thought to do it, one experience I had would have spun me on my heels.
Some years ago, a Catholic man of some renown around here; who had held office as a judge, died. His funeral was at the local Catholic Church and his family asked me to be one of his pallbearers because he and I had always been friends, and I had been his political ally when he ran for office. I didn't know who the others were until I got to the church. Well, they were all lawyers, including two judges.
The funeral really was beautiful. Lots of attendees, and the school children sang. There was no eulogy except the priest's mentioning that the judge had always had a devotion to St. Paul, so the homily was about St. Paul, and particularly St. Paul's statement to the effect that "I have fought the fight, I have run the race, I have kept the faith." No "inside jokes" like they have at every protestant funeral I have ever attended. No schmaltzy "favorite tune of the deceased" like I hear so often. No confusion. Just purposefulness.
We were assigned the cars, and I found myself in a car full of lawyers; all protestants, but some very smart men. I knew them all, but I guess they didn't know I am Catholic too. On the way to the cemetery, they talked about how beautiful it was and how well the children sang and how they were amazed that anyone could induce a bunch of grade schoolers to sing like that. I'll have to say, the children not only sang well, but in a heartfelt manner that was easily recognized.
There was a pause, then, after it, one of the lawyers in the car remarked "I guess those people really believe." He said it in a way that made me sort of think he didn't. Another acknowledged that he thought "they" did too. Then the Judge in the car said "Help, O Lord my unbelief". Nobody said another thing and the car remained silent until we got to the cemetery.
Afterward, one of the lawyers who had been in the other car, and who knew I am Catholic, came up to me and talked about how orderly and purposeful the Mass seemed to be; centered around the Eucharist as it is. He then said "If I could believe in that,(the Eucharist) I would become a Catholic immediately. There would be no choice." He and I talked some about it. I don't know if he will ever become Catholic. It's hard around here, because peoples' protestant churches also reflect their social positions and circle of acquaintences.
I live in an extremely protestant part of the country; mostly Evangelicals and Fundamentalists nowadays. I see them go from church to church to church, and I see a lot of them convert. (about 5% increase in our parish every year). If you talk to them about converting or why they did, it's always the same thing. It's always the Eucharist.
So, even though I'm not the smartest guy in the world, I think I have learned a few things. One of them is that it's a desert outside the Church. (now some Protestant poster will jump on me, I guess)
In fact, one of my favorite poems is T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land". It's a bit of a tough read because of all of the references he has in it. But it's worth the study if one gets a good text with all the references footnoted, and that's fundamentally what he's saying; it's a desert outside the Church. I think he's right. Life's short. I want to be at the finish line like St. Paul and that judge.