Sunday, February 12, 2006

Common Conversion Elements

One of the forums that I read daily is the Catholic Online Forum and in particular the Converts and New Catholics thread. The other day the following was posted in regard to a common thread that is noticed in most converts to the faith. My comments are italicized after each point.

1) Few (if any) have started their conversion from some knocking on their doors handing out Catholic tracts or "witnessing".

Absolutely nobody came to me in regard to becoming Catholic or even going to Church. I just found an interest because of knowing Marty and meeting his family.

2) Researching on one's own. Seems as if a LOT of people do at least some research (if not a lot) either before they decide to convert or just after. I think Catholic bookstores must do a thriving business from people pondering entering the Catholic Church.

I did a GREAT deal of research before making the decision to convert. I started reading in Sept. 2004, emailed the local Parish in Feb. 2005 and then called in March. Although I hadn’t decided 100% at the time, it was because of the research I did that led me to that point. It was the experience of attending Mass that led me to know it was right.

3) Individual decision. Seems as if everyone's decision came from themselves and not from an open discussion with others. What I mean, is that each person genuinely reflected and prayed on this decision. And when he or she announces the decision, others are somewhat surprised.

This one is true in every sense of the word. Although I had talked to Marty about it to some degree, it was really all my own decision. And yes, several were surprised, but most seemed pleased at the decision.

4) Reverance and history. Seems many people are drawn towards the reverance of Mass. And they are also amazed at Church history. Also, they "discover" the Catholic Church was indeed established by Christ.

Again, true in every sense. I adored the tradition, the reverence and history. As I have continued to study the faith, it is all the more clear that this is the Church founded by Christ. It also makes the most sense compared to other denominations.

5) The Eucharist. Many seem not to have had so much of a keen desire for the Eucharist until they get closer to their acceptance into the Church.

The Eucharist is something that didn’t mean much to me when I first started attending. But as I have begun to understand the sacraments, it is something that I cannot wait to receive. I am not quite “giddy”, but I am getting excited!

6) Peace. Wow - it really does seem a lot of people feel inner peace.

I can’t even begin to explain the peace I have felt since coming into the Church. It is absolutely amazing. Certainly I still have worries and things to deal with, but everything seems to be so insignificant in the scheme of things. I am finally understanding and trying to follow God’s will for me and it is such a great comfort.

7) Spiritual joy. How can I describe this?

I have found true spiritual joy and I am really surprised by it. I thought of myself as so very lost and almost in a pagan state for so long. I am awed by the fact that I have been so driven in this journey. You would understand better if you knew more about my background, but let me say that it is a pleasant surprise.

8) The fight. Seems many people really struggle with themselves over this decision. And almost always there comes a time when the convert says, "OK, Lord. I'm done fighting with you."

This is the only thing that didn’t ring true for me. I have always had the mindset that when God wanted to build a relationship with me again, then He would let me know. I would have to say it was just a lot of gentle nudges that I didn’t fight, but said more or less…"O.k., I get it. This is what I am supposed to do."

9) A void or a calling. Seems as if many people have felt some sort of void or something was calling to them.

I’m not sure if I would say it was a void or calling. It really started out as simple curiosity and it snowballed. So I guess the calling was there… and sure the void was there as I had given up on religion for about 10-11 years.

And this was added by another reply.

10) Catholics who life their faith. While few have been converted by people knocking on their door, many have been converted by the personal witness of other Catholics.

My interest truly originated by the simple observation of Marty’s family and their devotion to their faith. As I have been going to Mass it has continued to grow from the wonderful people I have encountered. My sponsor, Carol, is a great inspiration to me. I am not sure if I would be where I am without her. I have also found that everyone I have met within the church have been absolutely warm, welcoming and genuine. That is why it really feels like home.

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