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, May 18, 2010

My Magnificent Catholic Obsession

I recently received a private message through facebook from someone who had been reading my posts. The person was worried that I have become "obsessed with Catholicism" and was writing out of concern regarding my frequent posting about Catholic- related topics. Indeed, in my practice of general medicine over the years I have seen a few cases of extreme religious zealotry turn out to be the new onset of bipolar disorder(manic depression) heralded by a new-found religiosity. I remember one of these sad cases was a gent who stayed awake for 7 days at a time and was pulled over by the police for driving 90 miles per hour down Route 95 attempting to get to the White House to share with the president a message he "needed to deliver from God." Unfortunately, once his mania was subdued, so was their faith!

I suppose it is true that I spend a fair amount of time thinking about my Catholic faith, much of it being a sense of gratitude to the Lord for allowing me to find the Church so late in my life- especially after I walked away and trashed it for so many years. It's that "I could've had a V8" feeling that I have written about before. Had I only known how rich and beautiful Catholicism is, I would have done this years ago! It's the constant sense of having found the Pearl of Great Price our Lord talks about in scripture.

Along with this sense of awe and gratitude, I am obsessed with this thought: "Since Catholicism has been such a blessing to me and it took 31 years to discover it, why should I keep it under a bushel and not share it with others?" Heck, if I, a relatively non-emotional Christian middle-aged guy, can be bowled over by the mercy and grace of God found in the sacraments of the Catholic Church, what would it be like for my brethren who were like me, in the dark about what Catholicism is really all about? How wonderful would it be for them to discover Jesus in the Breaking of the Bread as I did? Why wouldn't I want to share this treasure with them, if I truly love my brothers and sisters? If I truly believe that the fullness of Christian faith subsists in the Catholic Church, why would I not want to see others come home to the Church? Shouldn't I desire my Protestant brothers and sisters to experience Jesus as I have knowing it could be life-changing for them too?

So, with a limited amount of time left on this side of eternity, why not spend time in efforts to share the richness of the Catholic faith with those, who through no fault of their own, never had the opportunity to learn about this Church that I have been privileged to discover. So is this a bad obsession? I asked my wife after reading the e mail to her. My wife would tell you it's not. She likes the new "obsessive Catholic me" better than the old not so-obsessed me. I will trust her judgment better than my own.

History is full of men who became obsessed with Catholicism. Here's GK Chesterton:
"It is impossible to be just to the Catholic Church. The moment men cease to pull against it they feel a tug towards it. The moment they cease to shout it down they begin to listen to it with pleasure. The moment they try to be fair to it they begin to be fond of it. But when that affection has passed a certain point it begins to take on the tragic and menacing grandeur of a great love affair."


Blogger kkollwitz said...

If Catholicism wasn't so splendidly huge maybe you could think about it less.

May 18, 2010 9:50 PM  
Blogger Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Interesting with me having bipolar affective disorder..probably some truth in it..

I'm experiencing a few difficulties at present would appreciate prayers..

May 19, 2010 12:17 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

I will remember you to St Dymphna today. I ask for her intercession often. Sorry to hear you are going through a tough parch. God bless you, you are in my prayers.

May 19, 2010 8:13 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

kkoll: "Splendidly Huge"
that is true. There is always something else to learn. 2000 years of God working in people's lives produces a lot of material!

May 19, 2010 8:15 AM  
Blogger kkollwitz said...

"a lot of material!"

Yes. It used to seem daunting, now it's great.

May 19, 2010 10:02 AM  
Blogger Magister Christianus said...

There is a great difference between the fanatic and the passionate, committed person. This is true in anything. We have a deep suspicion in our country of anything that approaches complete surrender. Perhaps it is written in our country's DNA, given our birth from rebellion. Yet we read in Scripture that we are to be either hot or cold, for if we are lukewarm, God will spit us out. Your "magnificent Catholic obsession" is why your blog is linked on mine. It is a guiding light to this Protestant who has yet to cross over.

May 19, 2010 12:21 PM  
Blogger Dani said...

I just stumbled across your blog. This post is calling my name. I was baptized and confirmed in 2009 at 31.

For me, what started off as a drip has now become a stream. I don't want to say that I am obsessed about my faith. Rather, I am just so blessed that I want to share my faith because of how I feel. And I have so many thoughts in my head about how I feel and things I want to say. And as a new Catholic, the learning continues to grow.

I am so many atheist/non-Catholic friends that I am sometimes afraid to post so much on my blog less I start to come off as "in your face". As a result, I separated my regular blog and moved my posts to a new blog where I can discuss my faith freely. And if my friends want to read my views, they have to know what to expect when they log in.

That said, I know more non-Catholics that seemingly want to discuss religion (to prove or disprove) then Catholics themselves. I can walk into a room and they seemingly always want to talk about religion (even if I don't). So who are the crazy ones? And I also feel that I shouldn't be ashamed and if I am made to feel that way, then maybe they aren't really my friends.

May 20, 2010 2:58 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Mag Christi;
thanks for you kind words. I am thankful and grateful that it has been useful and will pray for your journey.

May 20, 2010 7:27 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Welcome to the Church. I know what you mean about being in your face so my blog originally started out anonymously. But then I realized, what is more effective is that those who knew me before I was Catholic (BC) can read my ramblings (AC)to see what my thoughts were for converting etc.
God bless
AKA Tiber jumper

May 20, 2010 7:31 AM  
Blogger kkollwitz said...

"I know more non-Catholics that seemingly want to discuss religion (to prove or disprove) then Catholics themselves."

For most Cradle Catholics, their faith is such an organic part of who they are that they don't ever think of it in competitive or argumentative terms unless they are repeatedly forced I was.

May 20, 2010 9:49 AM  
Blogger Duane said...

The beauty of the faith is something you can't suppress (in good conscience) when it grips you. We should all have the courage to give testimony in the right circumstance.

May 21, 2010 2:36 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

May 24, 2010 4:51 PM  
Blogger MaryAgnesLamb said...

interesting to me, as I have been accused of the same thing---but how can one not be totally dedicated to the Faith? It is the timeless, eternal fullness of revelation---it, it, it---is huge.

I have friends and, sadly, family who have decided that I am obsessed since my reversion, because I am not tepid.

May 24, 2010 6:30 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Mary and Tara:
maybe it just freaks people out when they see the difference between BC and AC?

Like you said, when you find the source of all Truth it is huge and the realization of all those years living without ....

May 24, 2010 6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, you're passionate about Christ and His bride, the Church? Well, I guess that's what happens when you fall in love!

God bless,

June 03, 2010 10:34 AM  
Blogger groovsmyth said...

For anyone who comprehends The Real Presence, NOT talking about it constantly would be insane!

July 10, 2010 1:00 PM  

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