Conversion: Coming back to the Church
moore_1115 asked this question on 8/8/2000:
This is a question for people who left the church and returned, or who came new to the church. What drew you to the Catholic Church?
Faile47 gave this response on 8/8/2000:
Great question. When I was around 16 years old, I decided to find out if other religions, particularly in the Protestant sector, were more what I was looking for. Over the next six years, I attended services and studied most of the major religious groups. One evening, after a perfectly lovely service, with kind, very Christian people, I went home and wept. Wept from a deep and unbearable loneliness and spiritual dis-ease. As I prayed and meditated over several days, I realized I needed to come home. Home to the Church that loved me. in my Church people are treated as adults, free to live their lives as rational caring compassionate human beings. In my Church, there are no books to sell, no shunning, no requirements to lay up stores against the end of days, no loud exhortations to repent from the pulpit. In my church, I can eat and drink what I want, wear what I want and say what I want.
There is no elite 144 souls or constant ranting about the Last days. I missed the calm majesty and serenity of the Mass. The mystery and beauty of the Holy Eucharist. and the deep and abiding love the church has always shown me. I don't claim ANY church is the right church. I just know for me, Catholicism is home. God bless you.
Nightmareman gave this response on 8/8/2000:
As a child I attended mass every Saturday evening with my mother and great-great grandmother. When "granny" died, my mother needed to seek out another job since we no longer had her social security or her husband's military pension to help us out. As a result, she had to work on the weekends when we usually went to mass.
So at an early age I left the Church. During this time I had no real understanding of who God was or what he wanted me to do with my life. This was a horrible time for me. I did a lot of things I'm not proud of, and a lot of things happened to me that I would not wish upon anyone. I had no concern for myself or for others. Nothing seemed to matter to me any more. I felt hopeless, empty, and cold, without friends or loved ones.
Then out of the blue I began to sense a change within myself. I began to be more aware of the people around me and how my actions affected them. I never heard a voice or anything like that, but I suddenly became aware of something that was inside and outside of me. Something larger and more powerful than myself that guided me and helped me with my journey through life. I wasn't sure what it was at the time, but I knew that it was something very special and that I had to do something to maintain and protect this feeling.
Then one Sunday I decided to go back to mass at the nearby Catholic Church, and suddenly everything made sense! I realized that it was God who had been calling out to my soul urging me to turn from my heathenistic ways and return to His light of glory and salvation. I am eternally grateful to Him for awakening me from my sleep of shallowness, ignorance, and evil and bringing me back to the light of day. Praise be unto His name, Glory to God in the highest, sing to the Lord with shouts of joy, forever and ever, Amen!
Mr_H gave this response on 8/8/2000:
This is an excellent question!
I left the Church in the mid-'70s, sickened by the excesses of post Vat II "reforms."
The large majority of the defacements of the Mass, the altars, the liturgy - a good deal of which is on the way - slowly - to reconstruction, were, in fact, never mandated by Vat. II at all. Nevertheless, I was bitterly disappointed in the Church, and could no longer fully embrace it. It seemed to me that the Church, the physical body at least, had given itself up to the irrationality of the era. It seemed to me that the world, if not the gates of hell itself, had prevailed.
For nearly 20 years I missed the Church, yet was furious with a dumbed-down Mass, stupid, poorly written "pop" music, doltish warm-and-fuzziness, and lax standards.
What brought me back?? Nothing warm and fuzzy, I'm afraid. Rather, something hard and and brilliant. I started rereading the works of C.S. Lewis, Chesterton, and Aquinas.
I bought some Augustine and Cardinal Newman. I was challenged from within the Tradition to reclaim what I could from the apparent ruins of Holy Mother Church. I reread the Gospels. I reacquainted myself with the Church Fathers. I made the decision that I belonged in the Church because - overlooking the stupid excessiveness of the 60's and 70's, what the actual dogma and doctrines of the Church preached was true. I needed to be Catholic because the faith was true, no matter how sadly debased some of the devotional side of things had become.
In short, I came back to the Church because not to do so would be as ridiculous as claiming that I was an organism that needed no oxygen, or that I lived in a world wherein 2+2=5.
The inescapebable truth of the Church dragged me back - kicking and screaming at times - inexorably and ineluctably.
I must say that I never publicly maligned the Church during my days of wandering, nor did I ever doubt God' existence, or the fundamental teaching with which I grew up. I don't know why, but I suspect I was watched over by some
kindly and patient Saint, or Mary, or God Himself.
Well...I'm probably getting boring at this point, so I'll wrap it up. The loss was devastating, the climb back hard, the pain often acute. But, in retrospect, it all makes sense to me, and was worth it.
Sorry to wax so personal, but your question is important to me: I've been working on presentations to bring back lapsed Catholics, and you struck a chord with me.
tracy_billings gave this response on 8/9/2000:
I grew up with the knowledge that Christ existed. My parents never took me to Church or anything like that. It wasn't till I was 7 that I found Christ for myself. From then on I went to the local Anglican Church (because I had a friend that went there). I left home and went off to University, and it was here that I was shown the Catholic Faith for the first time. I didn't act on what I had been shown or on what God was trying to do with my life. I carried on with the Anglican Church.
It wasn't until my marriage failed, and I divorced. After the divorce I met my fiancé. He is Catholic. I would attend Mass with him, and through this Christ drew me to Him, and His true Church. At my reception into the Church, I felt such joy.
So, why did I turn to the Catholic Faith? Well, I have to say that God drew me here. There was nothing else to it. My parents (who are now Anglican) keep asking me if I turned to Catholicism because of my fiancé. I haven't, he just pushed the door open wide for me, instead of me looking through a small crack. It was the bug nudge I needed.