Sarah invited me to blog as a guest here, on her blog and I’m so honored. I’ve been blogging for a few months on my own blog which is pretty much geared toward photography. A couple months after I started that blog, I was moved to begin attending RCIA classes…an event that was in part triggered by attendance at little Meredith’s baptism. Once I began the process of conversion I felt the need to write about it, and I mentioned this to Sarah several times and even considered beginning another blog. But the time required for blogging on one blog is already taking enough time away from my children and housework duties… So when Sarah offered me the space to blog here, I was thrilled!
I just noticed (as I type this) that the word “blog” and its derivatives (blogger, blogging) are no longer flagged by Microsoft Word as misspelled…Funny isn’t it? The term “blog” has only been around for a few short years, but it’s already changed our world…and our word processors!
At the risk of boring people to tears, I’ll share just a little bit of my own conversion story.
2007 was not the first year I inquired about RCIA. The first time was when I was 17. My best friend, Carrie, was Catholic and the prerequisite her parents laid out for her to be able to spend the night at my house on a Saturday was that she would have to make sure she made it to Mass the next morning. She made me go with her. I was strangely moved by the Mass and willingly went back Sunday after Sunday with Carrie. Then one Sunday after Mass, I asked the deacon about RCIA. He gave me a newsletter of some sort and I was shocked to find an article written by someone with my same last name (it was a very uncommon name, and all my family were Jehovah’s Witnesses). Was Someone trying to tell me something?
Yes, I had been raised as a Jehovah’s Witness and had knocked on doors from the age of four until my father was disfellowshipped when I was about 11. No birthdays, no Christmas, and no friends outside of “the Truth” (as they called it) unless we were ministering to them. No trinity, no communion and no baptism until the age of reason (about 13 or 14). Since we left the Witnesses when I was 11, I was never baptized and I felt a hole in my life for the next 20 years. “How will God ever hear my prayers?” I thought to myself.
I don’t remember exactly how it all happened now, but I know at some point I told my parents I wanted to become Catholic. Since I was 17 I would need their consent to begin RCIA. They refused. “You’ll be 18 in a few months, if you still want to do it then, go right ahead,” they said. So I gave up.
Years later I met my own “Prince Charming” (I think I’ll call him my Knight in Shining Armor, what do you think?) and guess what…he was Catholic! I went to Mass with him and his family a few times and did my best to follow along, reading the missalette, kneeling, singing…but of course I couldn’t go up for communion. When my Knight and I got married, we did so in the Church but without the Mass. We had our children baptized, but seldom went to Mass. Our Sundays became a day for us to relax from our busy lives and enjoy the kids, read the paper and cook a nice dinner, but I always felt a little twinge of guilt because my Knight no longer attended mass except for Christmas and Easter. Was it my fault; did I lead him astray?
I tried to find a church we could both agree on…Unitarian Universalists appealed to me. They didn’t have a particular creed they subscribed to, and they taught that faith is a personal journey and that we are all called to worship and love the Lord in our own ways. It sounded great and my Knight attended services with me on one occasion only to be completely turned off by the minister’s near attack on Christianity. I assured him that this wasn’t the way services usually went…and hoped he would come back with me again, but he didn’t…and eventually I stopped going too. I wanted to find something that I could be comfortable raising my children with and that was getting hard to do.
When Sarah and Prince Charming invited us to their second daughter’s baptism, we were happy to attend, and with my camera in hand, I was seeing the Mass unfold in a whole new way. Maybe it was that camera being like another set of eyes with which to see the Mass, or maybe it was the sheer emotion of the baptism (babies…oooh how sweet), but something moved in me that day…The same “thing” that had been there when I went to Mass with Carrie and the same “thing” that I felt when I went to Mass with my Knight so early in our relationship. That “thing,” I came to discover was none other than the Holy Spirit.
“How could this be?” I asked myself. “I can’t be thinking this way.” After all, I was brought up to believe that there was no such thing as the Trinity. How could I possibly justify a sudden shift of my beliefs? That’s when the other Catholic mothers helped me! Yes, all of you…I read your blogs. I checked out CatholicAnswers and read other people’s conversion stories (especially the ones written by former Jehovah’s Witnesses). Then I called our local parish office and found what I had to do to [finally] begin RCIA. It would be some time before I told my Knight (and his family) of my plans. See, something I’ve learned about myself is that the amount of talk I do about something is inversely proportional to the likelihood of my actually doing it. So I wanted to be certain that I was, in fact, going to go through with the process.
I have been as surprised as anyone that I’ve come this far. Our second scrutiny was at last Sunday’s Mass. One more of those, a retreat and then at Easter Vigil I will finally be baptized…I will finally come into full communion with the church I’ve been a part of (at least in my heart) for so long.