About 3 weeks after joining the Catholic Church, someone asked if my journey thus far was filled with grace. At that point, I had to answer, frankly, no. It was instead, filled with much anxiety, some fear, some sadness. I was coming face to face with the reality that many people have huge antipathy for the church. People that I care about were reacting badly. I was being challenged and grilled. There were some who simply could not conceive that God would lead me to the Catholic faith.
I cannot pretend to know God. But I have spent the last 10 years earnestly seeking to do his will. That desire has led me to places I would never have ventured if I was following my own will. I stayed at Grace Church because God called me there. I began working for CareNet because I discerned that God was asking me to. Frankly, I have stayed at CareNet because of that, too. And I stayed at Grace for 8 years because that is where I felt God wanted me to be.
Until it wasn't.
Until one day I sensed that something profound had changed. I sat in a dark church in Weston, MA and felt the presence of Christ in deep and real way and realized that he WAS present in the Blessed Sacrament behind the altar. And I heard, deep in my heart, the words that have changed my life so profoundly.
It is true.
And suddenly I was flooded with a profound sense that this moment was going to be a demarcation point for my life. This moment was the one I was converted. This moment, I was going to remember forever as the one in which I accepted not just Jesus... but the church HE established. The church through which he works in the world.
It is true.
And as those words resonated in my heart, I understood that if the Blessed Sacrament is true, then so is everything else the Church says about herself.
The moment of conversion took place in the dark church. Actually living it out will take a lifetime. I am finding that Catholicism is deeply challenging and more joyful than I could ever have imagined. It is HUGE. Polarizing. Yet encompasses profound polarities. I am utterly alone in the walk, yet part of something that has spanned centuries and actively involves billions of souls, living and dead. It is rigorous and challenging, demanding much and giving everything. It is a rhythm of life that opens me up to something so vast, so profound, so beautiful I can only grasp a tiny bit. Yet it is like the entirety of the church exists in the Eucharist at St. Catherine's Church on a Tuesday morning. That sweet, simple, spare event that transcends time and place... 25 folks who worship together and participate in something so grand, so massive it is impossible to conceive of it.
I am Catholic because I am a Christian who seeks to follow Jesus.