Good evening all,
I attended Mass.
I came by myself and I was extremely nervous. I didn't think I'd know anyone there, I thought I'd just be sitting in the back pews, totally lost. *Well. . *
I ended up sitting in the very *front *pew with the coordinator of the congregation. She was very kind and friendly.
I told her about my interest in Catholicism, and how it went from, "I'm studying this because I'm curious and I want to understand them better," to "I think this may be where I need to be spiritually," and she offered me lots of encouragement. She told me not to be afraid, not to worry about my family's thoughts, just to keep pressing forward.
I have to say, it felt really foreign--even though I had a good idea of what to expect--and I felt very nervous. But, everyone was so friendly! Oh, it was nice. I was so afraid that I'd be looked at as the ignorant outsider, but I wasn't. I was so glad that the coordinator and her family were so kind, and that she helped me stay on track with everyone else during the service.
After it was over, she told me to follow her down to her office, that she had lots of books I could read. She gave me some children's books on Mass--hee hee. . I have no shame in reading children's material, although it's pretty funny to see me doing it--a Catechism book, and even a Bible. I expected to bring all of these back to her. I assumed she was just lending them to me, but then she told me to keep them! All I could think was, "Wow." I am excited to read them. And I am grateful for the coordinator's warmth and kindness.
I have to tell you though, guys. . In my heart of hearts, I feel reluctant. I still feel that fear. At first, I questioned if it was God's way of saying, "Just stay where you are, okay? -Don't leave your Protestant church." But, then I thought about it. .
(I was taught) Fear and anxiety don't come from God. Fear and anxiety are not things of God. God gave us a spirit of power, not of fear. I know the latter is true, but if I am right about the former, and it is not God who is trying to keep me where I am at, then the feelings of conflict must be coming from me. .
I realize that it was a different experience for me, and I also realize that these feelings could be a natural reaction to that. I know that when people's environments/lives/etc. change significantly, people sometimes react with feelings of hesitation to the change, fear of the change, or rebellion.
As far as Christianity goes, Protestantism is all I've personally ever known. I think that when people lose--or perceive that they are losing--something that has been with them for a long period time, they may become sad and feel reluctant to let go. Maybe that is my problem?
But, back to Mass, it was a different experience, and I'm glad that I went. I met some wonderful people. But, it was very different, and I was distracted by thoughts of, "Am I doing this right?" "Am I supposed to be here?" "I hope no one thinks I am being disrespectful because I do not know how to do. . whatever it is that they're doing." Besides that, I am not sure how I feel about it yet. I would like to go again next week. I have a lot of questions about the things that go on during Mass, though.
I realize that something really paining me right now is my husband. He is not objecting to my interest in the Catholic Church, nor did he object when I told him that I may convert. . I know he'll always accept me, but I feel like I will break his heart if I convert. I think he will worry about my salvation. .again. (Long story. . I went a few years in my life without having any religion at all. I wasn't an Atheist or anything like that because I was open to the idea of a "higher power," but I guess I was just tired of all the Baptist ******** I'd been fed since I was young. . My husband was influential in my returning to the church. That changed me life so much, and all for the better).
But, why Christians worry about the salvation of *other *Christians is beyond me. . I do not like how as Christians, we are divided. I don't like it. One of the reasons why I am looking into conversion is because the Catholic church is "The Church." The universal Church. The first Church. Even when I had no religion, I knew these things. .
When I see a Catholic Christian, I do not say, "Oh, look. . there goes a Catholic," as if that person worships a God different from mine, simply because I am Protestant, and he/she's not. We worship the same God. Now. . how we do that is a little different, and cause for controversy. . but. . I just don't understand why Protestants don't seem to accept Catholics as "Christians," when they were the *first *Christians!
I try to tell this to my husband, to assure him that he is not losing me, in whatever way he perceives so. I gently remind him that we are all Christians, that we all love and wish to worship God. I've told him these things before, but the last time I spoke with him about this, he did not say anything, but looked as though he was in thought. Contemplating, you know.
I don't want to cause my husband more pain and worry. Especially over such serious matters. It's made me feel as though it may be a bad idea for me to become Catholic. . But. . everything happens for a reason, and if God leads me to that point, I don't think it would be wise for me to just drop everything and turn the other way for another human being. No matter how much I love that human being.
It just hurts, you know?
Any responses are always greatly appreciated, but I would especially like to hear from any converts. .
Thank you, all. God bless you.