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.

Friday, January 26, 2007

EWTN's Marcus Grodi at the March for Life

While at the March, EWTN had their media tent set up on the side of the Mall as usual. This year we had the chance to meet Marcus Grodi and his wife Marilyn. We thanked him for the great blessing his program has been to us. It was through his program, The Journey Home, three years ago that I first heard that anyone would make the highly improbable journey to Rome from across the Tiber. My wife had been telling me about evangelicals converting but I dismissed it without much thought until I heard their stories for myself. Pastors with families giving up their livelihood after years of seminary training and leadership positions. I have always been impressed and humbled by these souls who sacrifice so much for their pursuit of Truth, regardless of where it leads them.

Many conversions to Catholicism over the years has resulted from contacts with Catholics via the pro-life movement. One such convert spent a night in a prison cell with devout Catholics after being arrested at a protest at an abortion clinic. This ultimately led to his conversion after the realization that these Catholic folks were Christians too! On one of my earlier posts, I asked how some Christians assume that the Church is in major error yet can follow the gospel to the letter by taking care of the least of these, the unborn, the frail, the poor and the elderly that no one else speaks up for. When I posed this question recently to a Protestant pastor his answer was "They got one thing right." Oh well, it's a start I suppose.


Blogger Joyful Catholics said...

TJ- how wonderful that you got to meet Marcus and his wife. We watched some coverage and also the Walk For Live West Coast with Fr. Francis and Fr. Mark on Life on the Rock (EWTN Thursday nights for those out there who may be interested) I was so moved by seeing so many many YOUNG people, high school age and college walking and praying for the darkened intellects of this culture of death. It gave me such hope for our Church and our world.

I, too, am always so blessed to hear the conversion stories of Pastors from other faiths coming Home to Rome. They have truly sacrificed so much all their lives, and when they finally hunger so much for Truth and the ONE TRUE CHURCH, it is like the glory of God illumines their faces and they just break forth with their stories on The Journey Home like a river over bursting its banks only the flood isn't water but deepest joy and profound insights. They're journeys show others the way Home, that are ready and open to receive that weekly grace, assuring many that Catholicism IS true and has gotten it right for 2000+ years!

"ONE THING RIGHT" I'd say is the Eucharist. One Bread changed into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ, broken for many as our True Food and True Drink. Messages or sermons preached by countless God-fearing pastors are mere morsels of parts of the Truth. I pray that the pastor you mentioned will realize how hungry his soul is for the FULL BANQUET of the Eucharist and come HOME and be TRULY JESUS...that is indeed ONE THING RIGHT that will save. Pastors' opinions preached for 45 minutes or more may be good, and thank God for them. But the Eucharist given, even after a poor homily is what Jesus came and died to give us and the 7 Sacraments, not 2 or 1 or none. May the grace be received by this pastor and others. In and with Faith I say to all considering taking the Tiber plunge, "JUMP IN" and swim Home. Don't tarry, and don't let fear keep you from the Catholic Church's open, forgiving arms. As one of my favorite priests (Fr. Larry Richards) says: "Got it?" "Get it?" "Good"

"Welcome Home!"

January 27, 2007 8:34 AM  
Blogger Pilgrimsarbour said...

I think the RCC has a lot of things going for it, and I deeply appreciate their stalwart stand against the evils of our age.

January 27, 2007 8:45 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks PA. Your comment means a lot, and I wish more folks could at least appreciate the moral stand of the Church, even if they don't agree with some of the theology.

January 28, 2007 12:23 AM  
Blogger NotMyOpinion30 said...

Hey Tiber,

I read this and your previous post for the first time. I couldn't see the good in the Catholic Church when I was anti-Catholic. It's unfortunate, but when one is blind like that, only God can remove the scales... and only if that person lets them. Enough occurences brought me to see Christ's Church and slowly begin to respect Her.

Now that I'm here, by God's grace alone, I can't understand how others cannot see what seems to me as plain logic. It makes me sad. But, I always have to remember that I was the same way at one time and focus on the things that I noticed about Catholics that led me to question my previous anti-Catholic stance:

1) I witnessed "practicing" Catholics praying privately constantly (Angeles, Rosaries, every time they drove past a cemetery or past a Catholic Church)

2) I witnessed practicing Catholics never failing to give money to the poor beggars on the streets, even if they were clearly alcoholics or drug addicts suffering from withdrawals and even if it was whatever was left in their pockets.

3) I witnessed practicing Catholics judge themselves before others and only speaking of others in a matter of true concern. However, admonishing their own.

4) I witnessed practicing Catholics who never treated me badly or held anything against me for being Protestant (apprehensive towards their own religion as well) in a country that had seen centuries of massacre directed at them by the British for their religion.

5) I was welcomed by Catholics and never evangelised to by them.

6) I never heard a practicing Catholic mention that anyone was going to hell or was already in hell.

7) I always recognized genuine care and love for others by the practicing Catholics I had been around.

8) Even when I started the process of becoming Catholic, Catholic friends didn't attempt to push or pull me in. They simply answered questions and made it clear that they'd be happy if I made it to confirmation. They saw it as my journey not theirs.

9) Last but not least, every practicing Catholic that I have ever known would miss Mass for any reason and were always reverent and worshipful there. Christian silence was key.

I hope that one day I can be like those who I witnessed and admired for their truly Christian lives. As a neophyte I struggle with looking back and allowing myself to fall into the temptation of anger and frustration for the misinterpretations I was fed from misunderstanding Protestant pastors, friends, and family members. I get frustrated when I talk to them and they attack my faith because I know that it is all a terrible misunderstanding, yet they won't listen. But, I have to think... someone trying to explain it to me was not what brought me into the Church. It was action, not words. It was taking notice of that action and wanting to find out more. It was me asking the questions and being charitably given enough answers to know I wanted to seek further. It was the grace of God that put all of the resources before me during my research and it was His grace that led me to the understanding of it. I was evangelised, not by words, but by deed.

I hope that I can one day lose the chip from my shoulder. I admit, I struggle carrying it. Just when I think it's gone, I'm tested again. I realize that the chip is still there in plain view. I hope that one day I can be a true light like those who gave me the Christian witness that I needed by the grace of God.

I love my Protestant brothers and sisters and want them all to come into communion with the Church. Their presence is definitely wanted. I believe that the Church would benefit greatly from converts who have truly searched for the Truth and find it in Catholicism. The life in the Church, that has been weakened since the Vatican II mishap (the wild interpretations by dissidents), needs to be invigorated with a desire for orthodoxy. I have seen that from every Protestant convert I have met. I also sincerely want to leave my baggage behind. At this point I recognize that I make Catholicism unattractive to Protestants.

God bless you

January 28, 2007 10:45 PM  
Blogger NotMyOpinion30 said...

Yikes, that was filled with grammatical errors and misspellings.

Bullet nine: I meant to say that Catholics "wouldn't" miss Mass!

Hopefully, the rest of the errors you can figure out yourself. Sorry for the poor typing.

January 28, 2007 10:50 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

"I hope that I can one day lose the chip from my shoulder. I admit, I struggle carrying it. Just when I think it's gone, I'm tested again."
That was a great post NMO!
I too have that chip and pray daily that God will wear the rough edge off me.
Your bullet points about observing devout Catholics was neat and is the kind of thing that draws people into looking further. The witness of a catholic friend of mine being cut up for his beliefs and his lack of retaliation, stayed with me for a very long time and really left an impact.
Finally, I know what you are saying about making Catholicism unattractive,I too have done that with my triumphalistic tone at times, but at the end of the day, it's all by His grace that anyone comes in, and God will ultimately work aound through, or in spite of us!!
Thanks for the post.

January 29, 2007 8:34 AM  

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