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.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Catholic Spirituality

The note below is based on a comment I placed on a Reformed Christian's (converting to Catholicism) blog in response to his post. This person felt that his motives were being questioned (by members of his old church) for joining the Catholic Church. Apparently in his old Protestant fellowship, he found it difficult to "keep up" with the constant activities that were necessary to be part of the "in crowd" of the "spiritual folks." A person's spirituality was being judged by their level of involvement in church activities and groups. He was suspect because of his less than complete involvement in all that was going on. The following is my response to encourage him.

"When I converted or reverted to the Catholic Church, I was accused of taking the "easy way out and back sliding." I think it is very hard for some of our Protestant brethren to reconcile our conversion to Catholicism because it puts them on the defensive, almost by definition. They don't know how to deal with it so they make a judgement about your spiritual state: Something MUST be wrong with you!
But, God knows our hearts and no one but He can judge our motives. Little do those know who judged me that being Catholic has really helped me to be a faithful Christian, much more so than when I was an evangelical. It's not a pejorative statement, it's the reality I have experienced in my own life. Just ask my wife, but I digress.

I suspect that in a matter of time after your conversion and several visits to the confessional followed by multiple opportunities to partake of the Eucharist, you will be changed beyond what you ever thought was possible. There is real grace in the sacraments to free us from sin and self-will etc.
And the beautiful thing is  this: There are innumerable ways to express your spirituality as a Catholic Christian and you will not be judged by whichever mode you choose. If going to mass once a week and praying at home is your thing, praise God. If daily mass including adoration, prayer before the Eucharist is your spirituality, praise God! If going to weekly bible studies, prayer groups retreats, etc, is your style, praise God. But, if you tend to be more contemplative like my wife and I, (we try to attend daily mass which is right down the street, and don't tend to join too many groups and studies) that's ok too, praise God! We are much less "active" in fellowship groups, night-time activities at Church etc, yet have been more in love with Christ than ever in our lives!
   As a Catholic Christian, you don't have to fear that you will be judged by your level of activity or involvement. Generally speaking it's not in the DNA of Catholics to do that, partly because Catholic theology has never used one's level of activity as a barometer for spirituality. Sure there will always be Martha and Mary scenarios, but I have not experienced any sense of judgement from anyone in my almost 8 years of being in the Catholic faith.
One of the most refreshing things to find out about the Church is that there are as many modes and expression of spirituality as there are people. That is why there are so many different charisms behind different orders of religious such as Dominican, Franciscan, Carmelite etc.
God knows our nature and if we aren't the joining-type that likes the constant steady hoopla we experienced as Protestants, He has the Church just for us!


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