Reverts: was your return to the church a shock to your family and friends?


#1

We get many threads where converts ask for advice on how to deal with friends and family who are against their decision to become Catholic.

But what about reverts? Were there obstacles for you? How did people react and how did you deal with negative attitudes?

Did you then find out who was praying for you while you were lapsed? ;)


#2

If you think reverting would be hard, try being my wife when she told her very judgmental Pentecostal Holiness step mom that she was converting to Catholicism.:eek: That was a blast...:rolleyes:


#3

My reconversion was not a shock for my older family members, but my younger siblings and cousins, almost all of whom are atheist or agnostic, were very surprised and even a bit angry. I exchanged quite a few heated emails with one cousin in particular debating Scripture and theology. In addition, my best friend from high school literally stopped talking to me because I am a Christian. I haven't heard from him in about a year now.

These were not obstacles, though. My faith is strong whether they approve or not, and most of my family has patiently listened to my witnessing and actually lightened up a bit.


#4

[quote="bearer, post:3, topic:287256"]
In addition, my best friend from high school literally stopped talking to me because I am a Christian. I haven't heard from him in about a year now.

QUOTE]

I'm sorry you lost a friend. People can be very unforgiving when it comes to these things.

[/quote]


#5

[quote="Contra_Mundum, post:1, topic:287256"]
We get many threads where converts ask for advice on how to deal with friends and family who are against their decision to become Catholic.

But what about reverts? Were there obstacles for you? How did people react and how did you deal with negative attitudes?

Did you then find out who was praying for you while you were lapsed? ;)

[/quote]

After being very lapsed back in college and then a bit less so for several years after that, I've grown much stronger in my faith over the last few years. For some people, they insisted I was joking or making light of it until I practically hit them over the head to show them I was serious about it. Several others have gotten upset or angry about it, and some for different reasons. The bulk of the angry ones are very secular, selfish, immature and/or anti-religious. I've been mocked for going to Confession, despised for having too many kids, ridiculed for not running up tons of debt to bestow lavish Christmases on my family and cursed at for simply mentioning that I'd gone to Mass. One old friend very angrily told me that he couldn't believe I was forcing that **** on my kids when I told him I couldn't go out drinking with him the night before my one daughter's First Communion.

At the same time, I know a few self-proclaimed devout Catholics who are upset with me for taking things "too far." Being a faithful Catholic is okay as long as you don't mention reading religious books, watching religious movies and, whatever you do, don't even put the letters E, W, T and N together in the same sentence. An openness to life is fine as long as I don't mention it, or I at least agree that abortion's acceptable in certain circumstances. Being opposed to contraception is all well and good as long as I keep using it or get my wife or myself "fixed." Understanding the Church's teachings on homosexuality is great as long as I admit that there's nothing wrong with same-sex relationships and even "marriage." Giving our kids a good, moral upbringing is wonderful as long as we teach them to tell dirty jokes, let them watch vulgar shows and don't take them to Mass when they're too tired or just don't want to go. And whatever we do, we shouldn't talk about praying or admit we actually do it (especially something as radical as the Rosary), at least not in public where anyone can hear it.

With most people I just grin & bear it. With the ones who are a bit more religious than the rest, I'll challenge them when they tell me I'm wrong about certain things (like the friend who told me I was mistaken when I told her she was required to go to Confession at least once a year & that receiving Communion with a mortal sin on your conscience is also a mortal sin, or the one who told me that the Church has approved of artificial contraception since Vatican Council II). With a few of the others, I'll argue to a point, but then just let my actions speak for me. With the really nasty ones, we've decided to cut them out of our lives, although we had problems with them long before our "misguided" decision to grow stronger in our faith.


#6

Gordon,

you have it tough. My prayers are with you and your family. Who knows, maybe the nasty relatives will make a saint out of you.


#7

Oh yes, everyone was shocked when I came back. I was living pretty wild at the time (and continued to do so for a few years after my return - FAIL :blush: ). But no one was really negative about it...nor positive, now that I think of it. It was more like, "Oh, well, whatever works for you."

To my knowledge, no one was praying for my return to the Church. At least no one ever said they were.

Since truly embracing the faith, however, I've lost a few friends, mostly atheists and non-Christians. They walked away from me, but I've made it clear to each of them that I'll welcome them back in friendship should they change their minds. Just don't expect me to compromise what I believe. So far, no takers.


#8

I've found the hardest part for me in reverting has been everything I did in between. Married a Protestant with a strong Baptist family that isn't really aware of my being Catholic (as far as they know I was raised Catholic and it ends there), haven't had my children baptized, being away from the Church and in the South all my friends are Protestant. I don't even know another Catholic. I changed within but the situation I made for myself hasn't and it's made it hard for me and my husband. My heart was drawn back to the Church...the rest of me feels pretty isolated.


#9

No one in my family seemed shocked - at least no one said anything...:shrug:

I already knew that my mother had been praying for me - like St Monica - all the years I had been away, and it was my Godfather who provided the real impetus for me to seek clarification of my status before the Church.

Peace
James


#10

As everyone on CAF knows by now :o, I reverted after my 1st son was born. I'd started praying during the pregnancy and my full conversion happened during childbirth and afterward. God changed me from the inside out and I've never been the same.

I'm sure it was a terrible shock to my husband. He still can't understand it, really. And of course it's a cause of conflict between us. I've never really asked anyone else if they were shocked. Probably his devout gran was praying for us at the time. She was REALLY happy when we brought our son over to England and he was baptized in HER church. And I like to think my mom has been praying for me from Heaven! :heaven: I hope she's there, and I pray for HER too. And if anyone is in Heaven, it's my husband's gran. What a wonderful woman...I miss her a lot, as does he. I'm sure she is still praying for us.

I never really had any choice to pay attention to opposition. My husband would have preferred that I hadn't changed, but it was a done deal. I could never be that person I used to be, she is gone. :shrug:


#11

I revert back to the faith when my son was 7. He was getting ready to make his 1st Communion. In fact, the journey started when he made his first Confession.

The priest, through a conversation with me realized that my husband and I hadn't been married in the Church. The priest wanted to fix that problem.

I had been thinking along those lines, but had been wavering. When the priest talked to me about, I was leaning toward not doing it. I talked to my husband. We ended up in a really really long into the night conversation about religion. Neither of us really grew up with it. We had both been Baptized, and I had received the other Sacraments, but neither of us knew our faith. I realized then that neither would our son, because I was bringing him up the same way I had been brought up. We hadn't been attending mass every Sunday. And that was just the tip of the iceberg.

I didn't want that for him. So I told my husband that we needed to either break ties with the Church or go "all in." He wasn't ready for "all in." He didn't believe in God. :confused: So, I went "all in." My total reversion took some time.

My mom cried and cried at our Convalidation. She had been praying and praying for me. Everyone else, they really didn't notice.

I do feel sorry for my husband, I am not the woman he married. He seems okay with that. He says I make him a better person.


#12

I was aware from the church for 16 years but when I came back the only issues I had were with friends who never left the church. I think being away and returning made me much stronger in my faith and that was difficult for my friends who although they never strayed from the church they have been "cafeteria" Catholics. They have been resentful of my return and strong conviction a christian life. I continually get comments about how I can't live like this forever. It can be discouraging to know the people in your own church are the obstacles


#13

[quote="janet1025, post:12, topic:287256"]
I was aware from the church for 16 years but when I came back the only issues I had were with friends who never left the church. I think being away and returning made me much stronger in my faith and that was difficult for my friends who although they never strayed from the church they have been "cafeteria" Catholics. They have been resentful of my return and strong conviction a christian life. I continually get comments about how I can't live like this forever. It can be discouraging to know the people in your own church are the obstacles

[/quote]

Keep praying for them. God is testing you, refining you.


#14

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:10, topic:287256"]
As everyone on CAF knows by now :o, I reverted after my 1st son was born. I'd started praying during the pregnancy and my full conversion happened during childbirth and afterward. God changed me from the inside out and I've never been the same.

[/quote]

I had the same experience at the birth of my first child. Although I have always been a faithful Catholic, loving this tiny miracle, who could do nothing but take, who I had only just met, with my whole heart and soul, made Christ's unconditional merciful love for me very real. I also had a major "conversion" experience after doing a CRHP retreat. It's a journey full of wonderful joyful surprises.

I never really had any choice to pay attention to opposition. My husband would have preferred that I hadn't changed, but it was a done deal. ** I could never be that person I used to be, she is gone.** :shrug:

:amen::blessyou:
Exactly!


#15

Just a few nasty statements over email. But that was it.


#16

[quote="qui_est_ce, post:14, topic:287256"]
I had the same experience at the birth of my first child. Although I have always been a faithful Catholic, *loving this tiny miracle, who could do nothing but take, who I had only just met, with my whole heart and soul, made Christ's unconditional merciful love for me very real. * I also had a major "conversion" experience after doing a CRHP retreat. It's a journey full of wonderful joyful surprises. :amen::blessyou:

[/quote]

I knew from the minute I knew I was pregnant, that neither I nor my husband, nor both of us working together, for the rest of our natural lives, could EVER have created this little being by ourselves. It HAD to be God. There just was no other explanation. And since God not only existed, but loved me enough to entrust me with His precious creation, I was going to do my darndest to live up to His trust. Over time, I realized that God had never once left my side, not the entire time I was away. God NEVER turns His back on us! Like the father in the prodigal son parable, He waits anxiously, waiting to celebrate our return.


#17

[quote="janet1025, post:12, topic:287256"]
I was aware from the church for 16 years but when I came back the only issues I had were with friends who never left the church. I think being away and returning made me much stronger in my faith and that was difficult for my friends who although they never strayed from the church they have been "cafeteria" Catholics. They have been resentful of my return and strong conviction a christian life. ** I continually get comments about how I can't live like this forever**. It can be discouraging to know the people in your own church are the obstacles

[/quote]

Just tell them that "Living forever" is WHY you are living this way. :thumbsup:

Peace
James


#18

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:16, topic:287256"]
I knew from the minute I knew I was pregnant, that neither I nor my husband, nor both of us working together, for the rest of our natural lives, could EVER have created this little being by ourselves. It HAD to be God. There just was no other explanation. And since God not only existed, but loved me enough to entrust me with His precious creation, I was going to do my darndest to live up to His trust. Over time, I realized that God had never once left my side, not the entire time I was away. God NEVER turns His back on us! Like the father in the prodigal son parable, He waits anxiously, waiting to celebrate our return.

[/quote]

Do you think God put you in your husband's life for a reason? :)


#19

[quote="janet1025, post:12, topic:287256"]
I was aware from the church for 16 years but when I came back the only issues I had were with friends who never left the church. I think being away and returning made me much stronger in my faith and that was difficult for my friends who although they never strayed from the church they have been "cafeteria" Catholics. ** They have been resentful of my return and strong conviction a christian life.** I continually get comments about how I can't live like this forever. It can be discouraging to know the people in your own church are the obstacles

[/quote]

This is what I see a lot of and I really can't understand why it upsets these people so much. I think there's some guilt that contributes to it, although the level of animosity from some is hard to fathom. The ones who seem the most vehement about it are the ones who are furthest from being in communion with the Church (as in, the ardent abortion/contraception cheerleaders). Oddly enough, they're also the ones who are quickest to tell me that they're a much better/more devout Catholic than I'll ever have a hope to be. At least, they were until I blocked them from Facebook.


#20

[quote="qui_est_ce, post:18, topic:287256"]
Do you think God put you in your husband's life for a reason? :)

[/quote]

Other than to make him miserable? ;)

I hope God doesn't trust me with THAT job...I'm not doing very well at helping him come back to the Church so far....:(

But I won't give up! I pray for him every day. Holy Spirit, please open my husband's heart to Jesus!


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