Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What does it feel like to be a hardcore Protestant converting to Catholicism?

It feels pretty yucky, honestly. Well, not the converting part, that's awesome (I hope to write more about that) the telling people part is the yucky part, that makes me feel bad. Something you have to remember about me when reading about my conversion is that I am not coming from a place of little faith, no faith, or lukewarm faith. I am someone that is more than a pew warmer, someone that deeply cares about every single member of the church I am leaving, and someone that is "on fire" for God. That makes it a little better, and a little worse. Better in that I already have a good faith foundation, that I can bring all the awesome things from the Protestant church that the Catholic church is lacking with me, I already know and appreciate most of the liturgy, and celebrations, it's more of a deepening for me.

It's also worse though, I'm hurting so many people. So many people are taking it as a personal insult thinking that they did something wrong. If anything they did something right, they encouraged me to go to my Bible every day, they taught me to pray about everything, trust in God with my whole heart, and follow wherever He leads. Those are the practices that are bringing me to the Catholic church. God is bringing me, and I know that. But, I also know that the people I am hurting won't see it that way.

Fulton J. Sheen said, “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.” How true has this proven to be as I've told people about my conversion, a few people have been nonchalant about it, Catholics have been stoked, but the majority have been bummed, hurt, angry, and worried for the sake of my soul. Which in turn hurts me, these are people I dearly, dearly love, people that I consider family-some ARE family, and I'm hurting them. I hate hurting people, that's never my intent. My only intent is to serve God, and I know that's what I'm doing, and that that trumps all else. But, I don't know how many times I can have my heart broken by breaking hearts. 

Someone I told stared at me, tears in their eyes, and said "...but, you're so smart, and you love the Lord, and you read your Bible, and you're so close to God, you're so studious in your faith." That broke my heart. I know I let this person down, I know they will never understand this. I know they were shocked, and have no idea what to think. But when I replay those words in my head I become hurt all over again. When I replay most of the conversations I've had I become hurt and begin crying all over again. 

I knew I would be met with opposition, I just didn't realize how painful that would be. Of course, I'm not angry at these people, it's not their fault, they don't understand.  They are just worried by what they perceive the Catholic church to be, I get that. I forgive them. But, it's still painful.

Through the pain comes the reassurance, the knowledge, that even though it's not easy, even though it hurts like heck, I am on the path that God is leading me to, I am where I need to be, doing what I need to do. Not for me, if it were just for me I would have given up months ago. It's for God. It's answering His call on my life. No matter what I have to endure I know it's for the Greater Good, and that makes all the pain, hurt, tears, and lost relationships entirely worth it.

I ask for your prayers, patience and understanding as I make this change in my life. 

"If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you."-John 15:9

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