Have you ever felt that God is allowing you to see what could have been?
Sometimes I do.
You see, I was foolish in my youth. I was foolish and shortsighted
And then I set about trying to “undo” what I had done wrong. I tried to make the best of a bad situation.
Will I spend the rest of my life paying penance for those sins? I honestly do not know what God has in store for me.
There is one thing I do know for sure…there may be no greater love (of which we mortals are capable) than that of a mother. It is this belief that draws me to the Holy Mother.
If there is any human creature who can possibly understand me and the choices I have made (choices I still make)…she can. If there is any mortal to whom I can run for comfort…I can run to her.
Long before I was Catholic, I revered the Virgin Mother. I have never been that good. I have never known such faith. I have never felt such sorrow.
If she can endure, so can I.
When I became Catholic, I came home.
I can’t tell you why I know this, I just know…somewhere in my bones. I look back now, and I see the “pulls” since my childhood ( I would offer you a list, but I fear you would grow bored).
I have known since 2000. Known…beyond any doubt.
I recently told my mother that Catholicism is in my DNA; I was meant to be Catholic. She didn’t laugh.
You see, I was raised Protestant...I was baptized Presbyterian. I graduated from a Church of God university, where I received a minor in Bible Studies. I married a Methodist. I served as a Children’s Choir Director at a Baptist Church. I have taught British Literature, Old Testament Literature and New Testament Literature in public high school, and I have done graduate studies in The Christian Rhetoric of Modern Literature. I have grappled with predestination, damnation, and the tenants of the protestant reformation. I have read Augustine and Dawkins, Warren and Hahn. I am for all practical purposes a mutt. But all of my studies and all of my experiences have led me to this one conclusion: none of us have it all figured out. Man’s interpretation of God is far too primitive.
So what do I do? I listen to my spirit...I follow my heart. I pray.
I chose Catholicism because of this force in my spirit, calling me -- a force so great that I (a wordsmith) cannot name it. I chose Catholicism because that which Christ entrusted to Simon Peter is (quite simply) good enough for me. I chose Catholicism because Catholic worship nurtures every sensory receptor I possess…because there is beauty in every step along the liturgical way.
So why, you might ask, if I have known this since 2000, would I wait so long? Because…I am unequally yoked. And, when I finally found my courage, I waited still… for the right words and the right time. (See, I told you I’m a life-long student of patience.)
It still wasn’t easy. I met resistance…and criticism. I was accused of being disrespectful to the institution of husband.
In the end, however, my faith was met.
Please do not take my words as a testament to the virtues of a “defiant wife.” If anything, accept these as a testament to the virtues of a “praying wife” or to the virtues of prayer and the soulful pursuit of God’s will for the individual.
Going to Rome, then, was a pilgrimage in its purest sense. It was a chance for me to step out in blind faith…traveling entirely alone to a foreign country…away from my native tongue and native customs…to live completely with my own thoughts and my own spirit. It was a ritual of homecoming, a ritual of validation that I am finally going where I was always meant to be.
I traveled to the seat of Simon Peter, the foundation of Christianity. I confessed my sins on that sacred ground and attended mass in full communion with the Catholic church. I entered into the presence of the transfigured body of Christ and was at that moment as holy as I can possibly be in this lifetime.
By the way, have I ever told you how my precious pup got his name?