Not only was Monday a monumental anniversary day, but so was Sunday. It was my confirmation birthday! There are those who knew me before the conversion and those that have only known me since. I’ve talked about doing this top ten forever, but I guess I’m finally getting it down in cyberspace.
Here’s a little history…I was a member of four churches before landing in Catholicville. Care to guess which ones? Methodist, Nazarene, Disciples of Christ, and many Bible churches throughout my collegiate days. Oh, and I’ve been baptised three times…for some of us, it takes a few times 🙂
Thought you might gain a little perspective if I did a top ten as to “why.” This week seemed as good as any. Here goes…
TOP TEN: WHY CATHOLICISM?
1. After the wedding, Scott and I moved to Iowa and there are only two religions there, Catholic and Lutheran, and I hadn’t tried either. Kidding, only kidding.
2. Scott and I dated for 3.5 years and talked lots about religion. God was an integral part of our courtship. Scott joined me at Grace Bible Church; I tagged along to Catholic Mass. After each, we found ourselves talking about theology, church teachings, history, you name it. We jokingly called it “Catholic Jeopardy.” If you know me at all, you know I ask LOTS of questions. Always have. Those moments of discussion very much intrigued me.
3. I had some great friends, in high school and college, that were Catholic. Unlike some folks, I never had a bad experience with the church. To be really frank, I didn’t know enough about it to love it or hate it. I was Switzerland. Looking back, they were a great influence.
4. Scott and I decided early on in our engagement that we didn’t want our kids to go to Dad’s church one weekend and Mom’s the other. That didn’t mean one of us had to cave, though. It took some serious prayer to decide what was best for us. Quite honestly, I think a lot of couples struggle with that question. For us, it was a mutual decision.
5. I so loved the liturgy. It was meaningful, spirit-filled, purposeful and unifying. I didn’t realize until after I converted that every parish, in every nook and cranny of the world, read the same scriptures and celebrated the same liturgy every week. That just blew me away. It wasn’t about the entertainment factor, but about the Biblical factor. As Clare’s Godfather says, “Too many people go to church to be entertained, when they should be challenged.”
6. I had supportive family (my brother excluded – but that’s a whole other top ten isn’t it, D?) and friends who really made the difference in my leap of faith.
7. I’m a history buff and the more I learned about the beginnings of Christianity, the more Catholicism was the natural choice for me, Scott and our marriage.
8. The sacramentality. I was in awe of the meaning behind the seven sacraments – baptism, eucharist, reconciliation, confirmation, marriage, holy orders and annointing of the sick. The beauty of each, as I learn more about them, continues to humble me. In those moments that I’ve experienced God’s grace throught the sacraments, I truly felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. That’s good stuff.
9. The teachings. I’m not a wishy-washy person and neither is the Church. She’s very clear on what the teachings are. There is no “we’re pro-life when it comes to babies, but not when it come to the death penalty or euthanasia”, no “artificial birth control is ok if…”, no “well, that’s not really a sin.” Nope, 2,000+ years and we’re still here, believing much the same as we did in the beginning. Now, please don’t read that to think I’ve stuck my head in the sand and realize that the church made some pretty horrible decisions and has some less than rosey moments in its past. It’s a Godly church with human folk in an imperfect world. But as the secular world gets further and further away from what we know as truth, the church never wavers. How can you not love that?
10. The diversity of the church. I know that might seem a little weird, but it’s true. In America, we only see the American Catholic. But, when you go to a World Youth Day and see Catholics from all over the world, you finally get the whole “universality” of the church. While we celebrate the same liturgy ever week, Vatican II brought about a great re-birth of the enthusiasm for the faith. Namely, people were finally able to celebrate Mass and honor their heritage, their culture, all while keeping the main components of the liturgy intact. Even in the states, every parish is a little different, based on the influences of its parishioners.
Now, I should mention, you probably didn’t see a “I loved the Pope!”, “Mary rocks!” or a “I love that the church isn’t into artificial birth control!” in that post. Um, probably because there were some teachings of the church that didn’t set too well with me when I first became Catholic. That took some growing up on my part and God dealt me some major doses of life experience. I’ve laid enough on you for one top ten…we’ll tackle those another time.
Hmmm…just when you thought you knew me 🙂