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, October 03, 2006

What Was The Hardest Thing About Becoming Catholic?

Yesterday I blogged about the joy of becoming Catholic. This joy however is accompanied by sadness as well. The decision to convert for many of us has resulted in much temporal loss. The hardest thing for me was losing friends and/or the respect of friends who viewed my conversion as backsliding or walking away from God. It was so painful (and hurtful to my pride) to see that folks who cared about you no longer considered you a serious Christian or someone who "loved the Lord." To be told by former patients that I prayed for and ministered to that "They are praying for me that I stay close to Jesus" was a bitter pill to swallow. To have musical engagements cancelled where I had played many times before was tough as well. I told one of the evangelical churches that cancelled my gig that "converting to Catholicism hadn't affected my hammer dulcimer playing any yet!"

I can't explain to them that my conversion has actually increased my desire to obey Christ and live for Him, not the other way around. I can't tell them that God has given me victory over many difficult areas in my life that I struggled with for 30 or more years. My desire to read the Bible and spend time in prayer has been enhanced since returning to Catholicism all of which I attribute to the grace and mercy of God.
I just have to hope that I will keep changing and becoming more like Him so that my life will be as St. Paul said, "a living epistle."

Have any of you other converts or reverts out there experienced difficulties as you made the decision to come home to the Church? I would be interested in hearing from you. Often our conversion stories are viewed by anti-Catholics as emotionally-motivated decisions without substantive reason or careful consideration. (This accusation is usually leveled at new evangelical converts!) Let me know what you think.


Blogger Prodigal Daughter said...

It's not easy being Catholic, but the joy I have in discovering the fullness of truth in the Chruch that Jesus started, far outweighs the suffering of losing the respect of my family and friends.

Philipians 3:7-11 was one of my favorite scriptures when I was first born again. Now as a Catholic re-vert it has even more depth of meaning as do so many verses that I have always loved.

"But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ...I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead."

Thanks Tiber, keep it coming!

October 03, 2006 6:20 PM  
Blogger catholicandgop said...

I never really left the church since I've attended mass consistently since I was a child, but in the last few years I've become stronger in my faith, and my friends accept that, but I don't think they understand it and they think I'm a bit odd (well I may be, but not for the reasons they think). Most of my friends are fallen away Catholic, and most of them aren't practicing any faith at all. I think for the most part we just don't talk about the subject of religion, just like we don't discuss politics at all. I know they don't understand why I'm pro-life, and they don't understand why I go to church, and they don't understand that part of me, but I hope that with the way I try to live and by maybe the little things I do that somewhere down the road it will mean something to them.

Maybe it will be the same for you, right now people who used to call you friend are dismayed at your choice, but in the future somewhere inside them they will understand why you've come to the Catholic Church.

October 03, 2006 11:30 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Oh goodness, I can't count the number of experiences I've had of loss because of becoming Catholic. Having come from the very strict Church of Christ, I was initially pretty much disowned by my family. (They have since come around, and though they don't agree with my choices, they respect them.) I was accused of turning my back on God because I had low self esteem and just wanted a boyfriend (sheesh, thanks for the vote of confidence, guys!) That was totally untrue, by the way, lol!

I remember my aunt saying to me, with a very sad look on her face, "We're praying for you, hon." Lol, I smiled and said, "Why thank you! I'm praying for you too!" :-D I know she thinks I'm lost, but I figure her prayers for me to come to Christ do me good, just not in the way she expects ;-)

It was really hard at first...I literally had to choose God over my family, and what's worse, I was ridiculed by family and friends and accused of turning my back on God and being selfish, when that was exactly the opposite of what I was was the hardest thing I've ever had to endure, but I've been so blessed because of it.

And now when I look back...I often can't help but laugh at the absurdity of it all! Especially of people who think Catholics aren't Christian or some such nonsense. I try my best to correct misconceptions wherever I go and whomever I talk to, and the rest I leave in God's hands.

I've found the best way to teach is by example, and often people who have hurled all kinds of accusations about turning your back on God, etc, are surprised when they see a new and undeniable devotion to God in you. The old saying is true, actions speak louder than let people say what they will, they won't listen to your denial of their accusations anyway, but live well, and show them the reality of your love for God. After some time, they'll either be convinced your love for God is sincere and apologize (as my dad did!), or they won't care that you're sincere, or refuse to see it, in which case there's nothing you can do but pray for their own conversion of heart!

Anyway, to converts facing such struggles I say take heart! They will not go unrewarded!

October 06, 2006 1:54 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks for the post Steph!
It sounds like you have encountered way more opposition than my wife and I. The church we left was evangelical but open minded enough to realize Catholics could be Christians too! Not everyone however, in the church felt that way.
Like you said, all we can do is live the gospel, and pray that God touches hearts. It is said that St. Frances DeSales brought 60,000 protestants back to the church through his evangelism efforts. He has become my favorite Saint for intercession for these situations and relationships. I love having saints to "lean" on for intercession. Haven't once thought about worshipping any of them, ......have you? :)

October 06, 2006 2:52 PM  

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