As the son of a Baptist pastor in a conservative family, my church life as a child consisted of attending numerous small, friendly, family-oriented Evangelical churches throughout eastern Texas. My spiritual journey was marked with baptism at age 9, Sunday school, church summer camps, youth group events and annual church “revivals.” Above all else, church was a place to go for fellowship with other Christians. Worship consisted primarily of singing hymns and occasional testimonies or re-dedications to Christ, and the best days at church were those in which we had a pot-luck supper after services!
My young adult development included many events that helped to lull me into spiritual apathy. My parents divorced, I went off to college, I began working on weekends, and for a variety of other reasons I became relatively un-churched for a period that amounts to almost 10 years. I never fell into anything particularly sinister or terrible really. I even still said a regular silent prayer before bed and, if somewhat indifferently, sought God’s guidance for my life. However, there was a distinct void in my life that I just could not put my finger on.
More recently, a series of what I am sure are divinely inspired events lead me back to church attendance at a psuedo-Baptist “non-denominational” church. I became closer in my walk with God than I had been since the relative innocence of my childhood, but there was still something lacking. Little did I know I would find that lacking element when I began dating a nice Catholic girl. I didn’t know much about Catholicism except what I had seen on TV and heard in occasional anecdotes. I loved the movie “Dogma” and I praised the misguided message of the movie “Stigmata.” Despite not having much knowledge of Catholicism, I already had a deeply planted dislike for everything Catholic.
Following a series of “heated discussions” with this nice Catholic girl, I went on a search for information refuting the validity of Catholicism. I was sure I could find information that would convince her that she should be a Baptist, or for that matter any kind of Protestant. My search, however, lead me to information that often seemed spurious, contrived and manipulative. While many of the authors of such material had great intentions, the end result was often an unconvincing collection of partial truths. I then decided to focus on apologetics and historical studies of my own religion. To my surprise, I couldn’t find anything of significance before the 16th century that wasn’t clearly Catholic, and nothing that would indicate any “universal” nature to being a Baptist. I had decided to give up on this pursuit, and I broke things off with my nice Catholic girl.
However, for reasons that am still unsure of, I agreed to go on a retreat her a few months later – a Catholic retreat. I would only later realize the great significance of this trip. My intense despise for Catholicism turned to confused awe after attending this retreat. In the silence and peace of the small chapel, I believe I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit as the consecration of the Eucharist took place during the mass. For the first time I felt that something I had thought to be silly superstition might actually be real. This feeling lead me to again immerse myself into studying Scriptures, history and Apologetics. It became apparent to me that I was drawn to the Catholic Church by virtue of absolute, undeniable truth. It became further apparent to me that I had only two realistic choices before me: to deny the validity of Christianity and put into question everything that I believe or to affirm my belief in Christ and come into full communion with the Catholic Church. Thankfully I have chosen the latter. Along with dozens of books (Karl Keating, Scott Hahn, Stephen K. Ray, etc.) and lots of prayer, the RCIA program is helping me to fully understand and accept the teachings of the Church. I anxiously await my entry into the Catholic Church on Palm Sunday this year, so that I may finally enter fully into communion with the Church established by Christ.
-SouthCoast (Age 29)
As a revert, stories like this strengthen me. Stories like this also remind me why I’m in these forums to begin with. Thanks Southcoast.