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Conversion Update

Posted on 05/19/2008 at 09:55:25  |  Report Abuse |  1
I do not know if anyone remembers me, but I used to visit the site quite frequently. It has been a while - I needed some time away from the opinions of others so that I could develop my own. It seemed that any time I would post something, it would turn into a heated debate which had nothing to do with my question(HA). Of course, there were a few who made it easy on me and really helped me out...I left w/ some good points to meditate on. Anyways, here is my update- (Please...Mature, good-intentioned replys only)

Two weeks ago, I finally prayed the entire Rosary. The results were great...the main thing that I meditated on was my urge to pull my thoughts together and keep from rushing in conversion.
When I first began crossing the bridge to Catholicism, trolls made it difficult by feeding my ignorance and paranoia (which later turned into a border-line obsession with the new tradition).
RCIA fascinated me; yet, inheriting my grandfather's Babtist faith made it hard for me to get through it. In a way, I felt like a sellout...I thought he was up there looking down on me, condemning my choice to convert. After talking to my mother and seeing what the man was really like, I now picture him rooting me on - Concerned more w/ my happiness than w/ the politics - wanting me to bring the importance of family back into his family.
At first, I read the Catechism and attended the classes religiously(no pun intended). After missing one class, several things happened @ once, causing me and my GF to quit attending. It was hard, but I let go, feeling God tell me to take a breather - that I wasn't yet ready to conform.
About this time, my girlfriend's best friend, who I see as the ideal reflection of Mary gave me advice that really touched base; She told me that the best thing to do right now is go to mass and pray & worship. I did as she recommended, and the experience was completely diff. than my 1st mass...
Before RCIA, I almost resented my GF and her family for going up to receive Communion and leaving me behind; a stranger...Afterwards, watching her walk down the aisle filled my heart with so much joy. I related to Joseph (felt like both her father and partner) - it was like watching my little girl grow up. It was at this time that I realized what it was all about - When I met her, she was a girl w/ much fear and confusion, but she was often conmforted by child-like faith and an incredible love for God...Now I see a wonderful woman who is beginning to truly embrace her faith. I look forward to walking w/ her soon.
After Lent (although I had not performed the Sacrament of Reconciliation), I felt a lot of weight lifted off of my shoulders. I was refreshed and back to normal.

Here's something I wrote a few weeks ago, somewhat explaining my overall experience:

I recently opened my eyes to see that (after all this time) I am still stuck afloat in the River. Honestly, this is not a bad thing. The pandemonium has now ceased, and Catholicism is not nearly as frightening as it had seemed in the beginning. I love the fact that I am finally able to slow down on my journey and enjoy the more simple things in life (which in reality, are the most important).

My girlfriend is very pleased, as well. HA! I still catch myself “babbling on in Babylon” at times. I can not help but laugh at some of the crazy things I have let escape my mouth this past year. As delicate as the hearts of Mother Mary‘s daughters appear, they sure are tough! I can’t believe she put up with my madness while I was caught up in that rapturous state.

I can easily relate to the prophet Paul, when he witnessed Jesus walking on water;

“Hey, Paul! Isn’t that our Lord?“ Peter shouted in amusement, pointing at a mysterious figure hovering near the bank of the river. Due to restless excitement, Paul did not notice the crafty smiles on neither Peter nor Jesus’ face. Sharing what some would call an “insid
"Be good, keep your feet dry, your eyes open, your heart at peace and your soul in the joy of Christ." - Thomas Merton

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Posted on 05/19/2008 at 09:58:18  |  Report Abuse |  0
Very nice review. Looks like you've matured deeply in your experience.
"Look on the bright side, if this is the best they've got around here, in six months we'll be running this planet." (Planet of the Apes)
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Posted on 05/19/2008 at 11:07:31  |  Report Abuse |  0
Beautiful, ac... and how well I can relate! You may feel like your feet are stuck in the mud, but with your eyes on our Lord -- no worries!
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Posted on 05/21/2008 at 00:23:51  |  Report Abuse |  0
Thanks, guys
"Be good, keep your feet dry, your eyes open, your heart at peace and your soul in the joy of Christ." - Thomas Merton

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Posted on 11/02/2008 at 12:51:44  |  Report Abuse |  0
My RCIA class recently ordered copies of the New American Catechisms. They were sold for the discounted purchase price - more or less, for donations (some paid a little less, some paid a little more); however, I did not buy one.
I'm not sure if we are really going to be using them in class. They were just suggested to those of us who weren't familiar w/ the (Standard?)Catechism. Although I had to "drop out" in the middle of last year, I still read regularly while following the Liturgical Calendar. I am pretty familiar w/ (and intrigued by) the book but was wondering if it would be a good idea to go ahead and purchase a copy of the NAC... or even a different version, such as the Baltimore Catechism.

Any suggestions?
"Be good, keep your feet dry, your eyes open, your heart at peace and your soul in the joy of Christ." - Thomas Merton

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Posted on 11/02/2008 at 13:41:49  |  Report Abuse |  0
I think that every Catholic home should have an official Catechism of the Catholic Church. I am not American so I have no idea what that New American Catechism is and if it is the same as what I have or not. If it is a proper Catechism, it would be a good investment, but if you are not sure about owning one yet, there are online versions as well for easy reference (and they are searchable).

The Baltimore Catechism is good, but it has been revised and so it might be better to go with the newer Catechism if it is going to be your own version (I have a collection of rare, out of print Catholic books that are really cool, but that's just my thing).

I am glad that you are taking your time and working through it at your own pace. It is good to make your faith your own, with God's help, and not just "chase after every wind of doctrine".
Pax et Bonum,

Faith_at_Large


"If anyone says that man can be justified before God by his own works, whether done by his own natural powers or through the teaching of the law, without divine grace through Jesus Christ, let him be anathema."
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Posted on 11/02/2008 at 20:01:58  |  Report Abuse |  0
I teach RCIA at my local parish and we also recommend the U.S. Catechism for Adults for our students - although I'm still partial to the official catechism. The US Catechism is definitely approved by the Church and the American bishops. The official catechism can also be found in pocket book size on Amazon for $5 - cant' beat that, the Baltimore is great, but I would suggest it as a supplement to the others. Hang it there with the RCIA process, I'm a great believer in it.
In true dialogue, both sides are willing to change. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
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Posted on 11/03/2008 at 06:09:10  |  Report Abuse |  0


Don't worry about the pace, ac. You're getting to where you ought to be. No worries!
Ad Maioram Dei Gloriam
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Posted on 11/03/2008 at 08:12:01  |  Report Abuse |  0
Thanks, everyone...

After first overwhelming myself, then becoming discouraged when others did not share the zeal I had w/ the faith, I became distracted. The other young couples in the class do not seem to have the same intentions as I do. I believe that converting just to get married is foolish and often done for selfish reasons. After all, Christ is truly leading me to receive him through Communion, which is both a necessity and a responsibility... the latter (marriage) is a gift.

Now that I have come to realize that it is important for me to Festina Lente (a special thanks to Diana's example), I am much becoming much more fruitful in my approach.
"Be good, keep your feet dry, your eyes open, your heart at peace and your soul in the joy of Christ." - Thomas Merton

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Posted on 11/03/2008 at 11:56:38  |  Report Abuse |  0
aC,

It's such an individual journey. I don't remember your story or what faith background you come from, but there is a lot of diversity in the Catholic Church...some converts are very evangelical in their zeal, and others are far more moderate. I've come to really appreciate that diversity.
In true dialogue, both sides are willing to change. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
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Posted on 11/03/2008 at 16:31:14  |  Report Abuse |  0
In my opinion, the diversity among both the "helpers" and students in the class truly portrays the meaning of the word "catholic."

"Be good, keep your feet dry, your eyes open, your heart at peace and your soul in the joy of Christ." - Thomas Merton

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Posted on 11/09/2008 at 16:20:42  |  Report Abuse |  0
Hi ac...
quote:
Originally posted by acumenCry

Thanks, everyone...

After first overwhelming myself, then becoming discouraged when others did not share the zeal I had w/ the faith, I became distracted. The other young couples in the class do not seem to have the same intentions as I do.
I know what you mean, as I went through something similar. Yet, those couples move steadily forward, whilst folks like you and me stumble in discouragement. I don't know about you, but that indicated to me that I needed to take a more objective, less judgmental look at them.
quote:
I believe that converting just to get married is foolish and often done for selfish reasons.
I understand what you are saying here, but I must stress that we have to trust the Church in these circumstances. She has been guiding couples for thousands of years, and in Her wisdom has decided to admit even those whose intentions may be foolish or selfish. There are many reasons for this, but key among them is that God can and will touch the most foolish and selfish heart (I speak from personal experience). Look at St. Augustine, for example -- a partyer at best, possibly worse; yet become one of the wisest and strongest leading theologians the Church has known! Dare we deny those who approach under any circumstances, knowing what God can do?
quote:
After all, Christ is truly leading me to receive him through Communion, which is both a necessity and a responsibility... the latter (marriage) is a gift.
It is wonderful that you realize these things -- I thank God for it -- but don't make the mistake I did of thinking that others' paths may be like your own. Each journey is so very different.
quote:
Now that I have come to realize that it is important for me to Festina Lente (a special thanks to Diana's example), I am much becoming much more fruitful in my approach.
Again, thanks be to God. I'm humbled with gratitude if what was, for me, a painful and difficult road into the sanctuary of Christ's Church might serve to help others in any way. I encourage anyone struggling as I did to persevere -- there is much peace and solace waiting for you, no matter your circumstances. Blessings!
I trust God to lead others to Himself through life's circumstances.
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Posted on 11/09/2008 at 17:13:55  |  Report Abuse |  0
Thanks for your replies, everyone.

I am fortunate enough to have my own collection of old Catholic books, especially "Christ Among Us (1967?)" and a collection of Pope John XXXIII's writings...

On the "converting just to get married" topic, I don't mean to seem like I am judging. I just mean that it can be distracting for me, considering that my faith is so important to me, and my peers do not seem to concur... I witness some who are completely narrow-minded and continue to mock the faith, while simultaneously converting w/o a second thought. I have read what the Church has to say about the matter, and I can see how good results are able to come from it.

Relating to what you said about St. Augustine, the Catholicity of my girlfriend was not at all a factor in my decision to date her (in fact, her being a "cradle catholic" would have pushed me away if I were fundamental about my Baptist upbringing); however, through the example of her family's balanced structure (which acted sort of like a form of "subconscious evangelism") combined with my maturing faith, I became attracted to the traditions of the Church.
"Be good, keep your feet dry, your eyes open, your heart at peace and your soul in the joy of Christ." - Thomas Merton

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Posted on 01/23/2009 at 00:36:51  |  Report Abuse |  1
As a Baptist, I was taught that life on earth is unimportant and that we can only be happy after we die and go to heaven. Like countless others, I refused to enjoy life the way it is intended and basically, I just waited to die so that I could be with my Lord. I desperately sought his face in the Scriptures, not knowing that He was right before my eyes (as C.S. Lewis says) "in letters too large for me to read."

With my eyes glued to the Bible, I would have been unable to see Christ if he were to physically return to walk the earth (but I'm sure he would have forgiven me). I was trying to cover up my tracks by memorizing verses to fit my needs. My previous studies are now "dead works", because I am rarely able to use them out of fear of distorting Truth, thus offending God. How can I read if no one teaches me? Before, I knew no better. Now I do, so I have no excuse. In manipulating Scripture, I would be in sin.


ISAIAH 29
11 For you this whole vision is nothing but words sealed in a scroll. And if you give the scroll to someone who can read, and say to him, "Read this, please," he will answer, "I can't; it is sealed." 12 Or if you give the scroll to someone who cannot read, and say, "Read this, please," he will answer, "I don't know how to read."


It was only when I faithfully took on the Bible as a whole - both the good and the bad - that I realized what the Word was all about.
Life's a novel - an intricate piece of Literature written by a Master Storyteller. After the book's climax comes the anticlimax and conclusion. The suspense of a story keeps us interested, and the problem is meant to eventually be overcome. Without the "ups" and "downs", life is a straight line from birth to death.
Literature is a formula, as is the Bible. Without hydrogen, oxygen can not be water. In the same way, the Bible is not the Word ,unless digested as a whole. It is the "Living Word" not because Christ is trapped inside it like a "horcrux"... but because it is eternally written, not confined to space and time. When we cipher through its pages in search of a verse that is beneficial to us in the "then and there" or the "here and now", we are making it mere mortal fiction.

In the midst of conversion, I have found that penance and reconciliation are merely part of the "anticlimax", and my "conclusion" can only come after my heart is put to ease inside the sanctity of the Church. It seems that there is nowhere else to go. To retain my Baptist tradition would, in my eyes, be to "look back and end up in a worse case than before". I can not accept anything other than what I fully recognize as Truth, and I can not believe that "hellfire scare tactics" are the best way to teach my future children, if God will. Even harder to accept is that now that I see certain truths in Catholicism, I actually would be a "Protestant" though I previously did not know what it meant.

Nevertheless, my Baptist faith was necessary. God has assured me of this, and I would not erase it if I could. Without seeing the flaws in my family and upbringing, I would have never opened my eyes to a higher level of worship - the worship that I found in Catholicism and its traditional family values. Also, without falling after attempting to walk on my own, I would still be crawling to this day.


PSALM 116:1-9
1(A)I love the LORD, because He (B)hears
My voice and my supplications.
2Because He has (C)inclined His ear to me,
Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.
3The (D)cords of death encompassed me
And the terrors of Sheol came upon me;
I found distress and sorrow.
4Then (E)I called upon the name of the LORD:
"O LORD, I beseech You, (F)save my life!"
5(G)Gracious is the LORD, and (H)righteous;
Yes, our God is (I)compassionate.
6The LORD preserves (J)the simple;
I was (K)brought low, and He saved me.
7Return to your (L)rest, O my soul,
For the LORD has (M)dealt bountifully with you.
8For You have (N)rescued my soul from death,
My eyes from tears,
My feet from stumbling.
9I shall walk before the LORD
In the (O)land of the living.


My view of "death" and "heaven" is much different than before. I know that by dying (to myself), I am able to glimpse heaven here on earth, where it is meant to begin. From there, we start the process of preparation for the other, unknown side, where a more complete relationship w/ God takes place. To refuse to live life (on earth as it is in heaven) is to spit in the face of God who put us here.

I have tread the mouths of serpents. I have looked the devil in the eye. I have fallen down only to be nurtured by my angels and picked up again. God has invited me back to eat from the very tree that cast me out of Eden, yet I am still not ready to start "my ministry". Looking back, it seems that I barely touched the water with one foot, much less, walked on it to the hands of my Lord. I am so close to being able to let loose the ties that bind and begin to truly live for Christ. My soul aches to dive in.

I know that there is and will be much adversity. I accepted these terms the moment I decided to pick up my cross. I can not turn on the t.v. or browse the net without hearing "Come out of her!" from all corners. I know most of it is crafted by my imagination, but not all. I was never anti-Catholic, because the Faith was foreign to me, almost inexistent. I can not help but think that maybe this is why Grace has revealed to me that I do not have to be an orphan and that my so-called "enemies" are truly my "brethren". But ever since discovering Catholicism, it seems like the whole world is against it (and my adherence to it), especially those "in the house of friends" ("Protestants"). Just when I feel as if the waters are calm, it becomes even harder for me to swim. I earnestly ask for your prayers. Peace be with you.
"Be good, keep your feet dry, your eyes open, your heart at peace and your soul in the joy of Christ." - Thomas Merton

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Edited by acumenCry on 01/23/2009 17:35:59
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Posted on 01/23/2009 at 07:30:39  |  Report Abuse |  0
Wonderful summary, ac. Count on my prayers for your continued encouragement.
I trust God to lead others to Himself through life's circumstances.
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Posted on 01/23/2009 at 10:13:58  |  Report Abuse |  0
Agreed. Discernment and patience is a strength of the Catholic Church. When I was converting, I was surprised that I couldn't do it in one day, coming from a Protestant background. The process made me stronger.
"Look on the bright side, if this is the best they've got around here, in six months we'll be running this planet." (Planet of the Apes)
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