Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"Lord, Make Me More Catholic"



One of my prayers for the past three years has been that God would make me more “Catholic.” After spending the majority of my life as a Protestant I had developed a world view informed by the theology that I came to embrace. Not all of which was wrong mind you, but certainly not complete. Therefore upon returning to the Church, I struggled with certain areas of Catholic devotion, doctrine and practice as my “gnostic” tendencies kicked in. ( I am not saying that all Protestants have these tendencies, I am speaking personally here) I envied devout cradle Catholics who didn’t seem to struggle with their Catholic faith and remained faithful and didn’t leave the Church. I envied Catholics who described Mary with affection and called her "Our Lady" or spoke of her as "Our Blessed Mother." I wanted so much to “be there” right away after entering the Church.

As I accepted the authority of the Church and became docile to her, my heart has been slowly drawn further and further into the fullness of Catholic faith. I can’t say that I am 100 percent Catholic yet but I sense the Lord has been answering my prayers in many ways. What exactly does it mean to be 100% Catholic anyway? I’m not sure but I want to find out!


Each journey is different and becoming Catholic is not an instantaneous process. My goal is to get as close to Jesus as possible in this life and with God’s grace get to heaven. I believe the Catholic Church is God's gift to us to facilitate this. As Paul said: “Not as though I has already attained, or were already perfect; but I follow after, if I may by any means apprehend, wherein I am also apprehended by Christ Jesus.”

Jesus, thank you for apprehending me through the Church you established. May I continue to be conformed to your image. In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Have any of you other converts/reverts ever prayed to “Be More Catholic?”

18 Comments:

Anonymous Ggoose said...

I haven't but I should. I did struggle with the "gnostic" issue.

Wrote about it here.

There was an interesting discussion I read on a forum recently. It seems some Protestants struggle with this during their conversion. Others in the thread subscribed not to the "gnostic" tendency but to the "aversion to all things Catholic" theory. I guess it can happen that way as well.

January 23, 2008 12:57 AM  
Anonymous Julie said...

I am Catholic. And well. I guess I don't. I pray that he will protect and nurture his Church. I also pray to him that I may be his instrument and to always do his will, and that he will let me know what he wants me to do. Which is a little lazy on my part. I want him to hit me over the head with it rather than for me to seek it out.
I have been a lapsed Catholic, and also a Protestant for a while. I had been a cradle Catholic, and very poorly catechized (didn't, in college, even know what Vatican II was). People who targeted me for evangelization found easy prey. I was so unsure, and they seemed very assured of what they were talking about (even though what they thought they knew about Catholicism was a bunch of crap.) I always had a very personal relationship with Christ however, and am perplexed when former Catholics say that they only found they could have a personal relationship with Christ through Evangelical Protestantism. And the Bible church I attended was absolutely not more Biblical than the Catholic Church. But the Bible permeates the Catholic Mass to the point where I think sometimes we are blind to it. I think those of us who have been Protestant do appreciate the Catholic Church. And I have to wonder, and this is based on something Dr. Hall said on Journey Home, that we view prayer differently than Protestants do: In ways are we from Venus and they from Mars? We perhaps misunderstand each other in some very important ways? I encounter people who savor being anti-Catholic and just like using Catholics as verbal punching bags (co-workers); they are perhaps unteachable, and some who are genuinely concerned for our spiritual well-being.

January 23, 2008 8:39 AM  
Blogger Under the Poetree said...

Yepper...all the time, for I too am jealous still, of devout and faithful Catholics who never left their faith, like my friend, Delores. She's 75 and never left, not even in the turbulent years of sloppy theology and the "spirit of Vatican II, that became such a sad commentary on the CC for years. We're just seeing it be washed out by a surging tide of orthodoxy now.

DITTOES TJ. Good post, bro.

January 23, 2008 9:51 AM  
Blogger Under the Poetree said...

Rich just said, "No, but I've prayed to be less Protestant."

Then he adds: "Because you can't just submit to the authority as Protestants, they question everything...not that we should submit in blindness, but in TRUTH."

(He was the cradle Catholic, I the convert)

January 23, 2008 10:00 AM  
Blogger teresa_anawim2 said...

Wow! Thanks for this thought provoking post.
As a child, I remember my staunch Evangelical mother quickly snapping off the radio dial after her morning program was over...(the next program was the Recitation of the Rosary). Needless to say she was not always quick enough to 'block' it from our little ears, and I would recite it along with the nuns while Mom busied herself preparing breakfast.
I grew up saying the Rosary as a kid(secretly!)
One day I went to the school fair and bought a bracelet with a blue Miraculous Medal...I loved that Lady on it. I wanted to be close to her. My mom dumped it out when she found it in my drawer.
In my Adult years I became an Anglo-Catholic and discovered the Communion of the Saints. One saint in particular drew me into the Church through her writings and prayers, and I find her a close companion today, and have made promises in her secular order.She has brought me closer to Our Lady and Our Lord.
I say all that to say this...through the journey Home, even as a child, I wanted to be 'Catholic', although I didn't know what all that meant. I went through the search in life to find out,going through formality in worship, high liturgy,the whole 9 yards, only to find out that ...for me...being Catholic is being close and present to God, His Church comprised of His children here on earth as well as the Communion of Saints. I am faithful to the Hierarchy, believing now in Tradition & Scripture (and the way the 2 are meant to work together!)
There is unity and something definitive now when it comes to doctrine in my life.
I have also learned in my present desire to grow as a Catholic to see Christ in those around me who are not in the fullness of the Church(those in denominations who are Christians),the sinner, the poor, the prisoner, the sick, the outcast, the Anawim....to be more inclusive in my love. Not "Me and the Trinity...us 4 ..no more".
My greatest desire now is to grow closer to Jesus in love in the Blessed Sacrament which is so dear to me.
FFIW (sorry post is so long, but I have never shared all that before and I was on a roll LOL)

January 23, 2008 10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trust me as a cardle Catholic you struggle too. When faced with the questions that protestants present, not only that but as being born in to the Faith. It becomes just like waking up in the morning, never really think about it or give it much thought. You just do it because thats the way you were taught.

I never was caught in the protestant controversy because I never had much interest in it or in the Church for that matter.

So we struggle, however our struggle is much different and in a way more damaging.

January 23, 2008 10:46 AM  
Blogger Cow Bike Rider (alias, Chris Sagsveen) said...

Well said.

In answer to your question..."Yep"

January 23, 2008 1:32 PM  
Anonymous Julie said...

Teresa, thank you for sharing that. I enjoyed your post.

January 23, 2008 3:42 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

nice article ggoose. We have had a similar line of thought.
God bless!

Julie said:
The bible permeates the Catholic Mass, Amen!

Susie:
I love Rich;s line: "I pray to be less protestant!"

Teresa:
Thanks for sharing your story. You once again proved my wife's theory that everyone has a Catholic Church
shaped hole in their hearts! Thanks so much.

Anon: That's a good point too!

Hey CowBR! How's the view from the udder side of the Tiber now bro?

January 23, 2008 11:00 PM  
Blogger Kacy said...

I have also prayed this. It can be difficult to get out of Protestant thinking habits. I know I will only reach salvation through Christ and His Church, but it is often hard getting working this out in concrete terms. I hope that made sense.

January 23, 2008 11:12 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

TJ-

"Each journey is different and becoming Catholic is not an instantaneous process. My goal is to get as close to Jesus as possible in this life and with God’s grace get to heaven."

AMEN!

January 24, 2008 1:35 AM  
Blogger Gretchen said...

I wonder if there's something wrong with me. The minute I saw the Catholic Church was THE Church, and that the Protestants were in a state of rebellion (to which I subscribed for many years) I felt Catholic. I still have a lot to learn about the true faith and I know I still have some wrong-headed ideas, but I feel so at home. I feel Catholic. I exult in it. Is this just a honeymoon phase?

January 25, 2008 7:52 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Gretchen, Not at all! You are further proof of the Catholic Church shaped hole in everyone's heart!(to quote my wife, PD)
I think there are many converts like yourself who have that sudden feeling that this is where you should have been all along.
I don't think it's a honeymoon phase. As a matter of fact, don't be surprised if you continue to fall more and more in love with the Church and the "honeymoon" transforms into a lifelong love affair with Jesus and his Church.
There is on record a 2000 year history of individuals who have had this love affair. May we be one of them, they are called Saints!

January 25, 2008 8:10 AM  
Anonymous PD said...

Gretchen,

Except for the Immaculate Conception, I felt the same way. For some reason I had a hard time accepting that precious doctrine of our faith. But once I did, my heart was drawn to ALL things Catholic. Now I see the CC as a measuring rod for all other moral and spiritual ideas. Instead of thinking of ways to justify Catholic doctrine by using the Bible, I read about what the CC teaches and and see how protestant beliefs may or may not measure up. For instance, with the Catholic teaching on suffering. I may point a protestant to Colossians 1:24 as a way to help them understand the Catholic view, but ultimately I know their view is incomplete and the Catholic understanding of human suffering is the only one with the fullness and beauty that will truly satisfy the human heart.

This also helps me in witnessing about my faith because I embrace the presupposition that the CC is the Fullness of Truth even though I may not understand it all. So I don't have to know every point of Calvin's Tulip nor every Bible verse in the KJV but instead can rest in the arms of Holy Mother Church and trust the Holy Spirit graciously moving to draw others back home.

January 25, 2008 9:21 AM  
Blogger phatcatholic said...

"Lord, make me more Catholic." This is a good and humble prayer, and I have no doubt that the Lord will answer it. I am reminded of the words of the father who's son was possessed by an evil spirit:

"Lord I believe, help my unbelief!" (Mk 9:24).

We all need to pray this prayer, not just the converts and the reverts. Keep up the good work, my friend.

Pax Christi,
Nick

January 25, 2008 12:40 PM  
Blogger Ron Kempen said...

The last thing that I want to become would be a catholic - never again - Why" because of all their falsenesses - deceptions if you would, very unbiblical - Check out my website pleae - www.freewebs.com/gospellightmin/
ask any questions that you might have when you stop in! This is a very serious manner!
Thank you very much,
Ron

February 11, 2008 8:30 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Dear Ron:
You are my brother in the Lord and I pray that the grace that is so present in this Lenten season brings you closer to Jesus our Lord and Savior.
Please check out my video here
"Old Time Religion" for a short course on history and Catholicism.
God bless as you strive for His kingdom. I too want to see more ex Catholics come back to the Church Jesus started. If you love Jesus, you have to love His bride.

February 11, 2008 12:51 PM  
Blogger Ron Kempen said...

Hello triber Jumoer: As I said previously " Why wold anyone go back to something as the Paagan teachngs, rituals and ANTI CHRISTAN teachings such as Catholicisn? please check out my webste for more informaton:
www.gospellightmin.com

August 15, 2010 7:54 PM  

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