Oh man! As a Knight of the Immaculata and a “re-vert” who attributes his conversion to the influence of the Blessed Virgin, I love this!
Favorite Marian prayer? The Memorare:
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored they help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To thee I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
About 5 years ago I hit a real crisis and decided to turn back to the Lord. I found that Jesus meant every word of the parable of the prodigal son. I began to read the Bible again and got a New American Bible which is about like the NIV except this one has all the books (which I liked even though at the time I was still a Protestant). This particular edition was fairly big, with a bright green paperback cover that said “The Catholic Bible” in big orange letters. I went diddy-bopping into a meeting one day with that in hand and wasn’t in there a hot minute when some guy jumped my case.
“Are you Catholic?’ he asked me. “Well…yeah”, says I, (since technically I was). “You Catholics worship Mary.” “Say what?” I responded. “You Catholics worship Mary. You pray to her.” “Look, I know I been outta the church for a long time, and we do pray to her but we DON”T worship her and no Catholic that knows his ear from his elbow would ever even SAY such a crazy thing. We worship God alone. End of story, Dude.”
He persisted so severely that I finally told him that I’d get some books, check it out and get back to him with what I found out, and that if he was right then I would never enter a Catholic Church ever again.
I found a great book by a priest named Father Oscar Lukefahr of Catholic Home Study Service (The Catholic Home Study Service) and read it carefully and prayerfully. I was happy to find that not only were the Catholics right and that they do not worship anyone but Almighty God, but that their doctrines about Mary are soundly based upon the Bible and that the early Christians believed the very same things. Even the three pillars of the Reformation (Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli) believed the same things about Mary that Catholics do today. In the end I went back to church and met another Catholic guy, who like myself was returning to the faith as well. We studied and talked and found ourselves having to dig up real answers for people we knew who didn’t like the Catholic Church.
I continued to study Catholic teaching and discovered that a great deal of what I had been taught about the Bible and Christianity was wrong. I found that non-Catholics ignore and “read around” Bible passages that support Catholic teaching and that they completely ignore the history of Christianity prior to the 1500s. Now I know what I believe and why and I will never change, though I promise every non-Catholic that I dialog with that if they can prove that the Catholics are wrong that I’ll be in their church with them every Sunday from now on. No one even comes close…
Now I participate at Mass as often as I can, pray the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet almost every day, abstain from meat on most Fridays (just out of devotion to God), and of course read and study my Bible, as well as other Catholic writings. I am Catholic because I know and believe with all my heart and soul that the Catholic Church IS the New Testament church and I believe that the Eucharist is everything that the church teaches it is, the same as the early church did…all the way back to the last supper and the 6th chapter of the Gospel of St. John. I believe it’s really the body and blood of our risen Lord because St. Paul said that if you take communion while living in sin that you become guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, and that wouldn’t be possible if His body and blood weren’t really present in the form of bread and wine…just like the last supper. It is the most powerful miracle in all of Christianity, and I love it.
My Christian life is stronger than ever before, my prayer life is powerful, and I have great answers to my prayers like never before. I have always been a soul winner and that has not changed at all. God has used me to win some people that I sure couldn’t have won on my own. Some were very anti-Catholic and now are very MUCH Catholic and very happy and forthright about their faith. It’s really very humbling…I feel like a raggedy (unworthy) Styrofoam cup at a feast, filled with the very finest wine.
M.I. National Center
The peace of Christ be with you all!