It’s not that it was some huge, dramatic moment, but the simple fact of me becoming Catholic is nothing I could ever have imagined and would have argued with you about vehemently had you told me it would happen.
While exposed to different churches growing up, I always felt most comfortable in a spiritual, but non-religious environment.
I spent many years studying various New Age philosophies and always believed in God but not religion as a requirement to get to God. However, through all that, I never felt like I was given a solid, specific path to self-improvement.
It was all wishy-washy, try this, do that and disorganized, so I never got very far on that path. Read my post on Catholicism as a specific, proven path to self-improvement.
Right about Christmas 2011 is when I experienced my “calling.” I don’t even know what words to give this. I’ve heard “calling” and “conversion of heart” but to me, it’s like I was suddenly given the eyes of faith. Never before was I willing to believe in Jesus as the son of God because my very logical mind would not accept it. But once I was given the “eyes of faith,” it didn’t need to be “proven” to me; suddenly, I could just “feel” how right it was.
It started some years before that when I began to feel a very faint desire and interest in revisiting the place where my husband and I spent our Catholic marriage retreat. I felt “pulled” or “drawn” there is the best way I can describe it. It was deep in the recesses of my mind or perhaps it was the stirrings of the Holy Spirit I was feeling.
I ignored it for a couple years, though did a few things like looking up the retreat house on the web and learning more about it. I would eventually go back to the retreat house and spend a silent retreat that led me to this blog.
All of a sudden around Christmas 2011, I began to feel more strongly that I’d like to try going to Catholic Mass. So we packed up the whole family and off we went.
My husband is a cradle Catholic, though not practicing. Never had I been interested in Catholicism and in fact was turned off by it (read more in my blog here about my misgivings about Catholicism).
But when I went this time, it didn’t seem so bad. In fact, if I dared admit it, it felt kind of good.
We came back for Christmas Eve Mass and sometime thereabouts I decided to give it my full effort, kneeling, singing and reading the responses.
The first positive feelings I experienced besides “not so bad” were complete and utter peace, something I really feel was lacking in my life as the mother of two young boys and owner of my own small business. This simple respite of peace once a week was delightful.
The positive feelings grew from there into a great “thirst” and unquenchable desire to learn everything I could and attend Mass as often as possible, and then complete and utter “joy.”
I feel like perhaps this happened at Christmas, because this is when we celebrate Christ’s conception and coming into the world. I feel like the Holy Spirit allowed Christ to be conceived in me at this time.
I think after Christmas Eve Mass 2011 I never missed a Mass before confirmation. And it was less because I was obligated to go as a future Catholic and more because I couldn’t stand to miss.
To me, this is utterly a miracle and I can explain it no other way.
I still stop and say “is this me?” and begin to question myself a bit, but when I go back to the feelings I receive when in communion with the Lord, I “get it” again and again and again.
As for advice for those of you considering Catholicism, pray that you experience a “conversion of heart” like I did and that you are given the “eyes of faith.”
I am not sure why I was called now and suddenly given this gift; I suspect I had some people — both on earth and in heaven — praying for me :).
Open your heart, participate in Mass, read about Catholicism and see where it leads you. I hope it leads you to the place of peace that I have found.