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Why I Joined the Catholic Church

This Easter, I am turning eight years old... As a Catholic! I thought this would be an appropriate time to share the story of my journey to the Catholic Church and Easter Vigil 2015.


My Life before my Personal Relationships with Christ

I’ve always been culturally Christian

I grew up Protestant in a two-parent, stable home. We practically spent the first half of every Sunday being at church, going to service and socializing until we were almost the last people there. It seems we did everything that church had to offer: Doing service projects, Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, and more. When I was in 10th grade, I even had an experience with Christ speaking to me. He said to me, “I am here,” which brought me to tears. I always have believed in Christ. Christianity has always felt like home.


I am an unforgiving truth-seeker, rule follower, and hard worker

If I could sum up my life in a few common phrases, it would be “Be the change you want to see in the world.” “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.” “Life is too short to live a mediocre life.”


I’m Type A. I’m intense. I’ve always liked following rules and asking big questions. Growing up, when teachers would talk about people who did great things for humanity, I thought it was obvious that everyone should be striving for the greatest version of themselves.


I’d like to say I’ve always had this innate sense of right and wrong. When my Protestant youth minister said, “Premarital sex is okay as long as you’re smart about it,” I knew something was wrong with that, but I wasn’t sure why. I would often find myself being called a tattle tale because I would simply inform teachers when my peers weren’t following the rules. Why was it so hard to follow the rules?


As I grew up, I felt hungry at church both spiritually and socially

As I grew up, I found myself feeling like I fit in less and less. I was a girl into video games and concert band. I eventually stopped going to youth group, but I continued to go to Sunday service. But eventually, the sermons didn’t feel nourishing either.


It was always obvious to me that I had a hard time connecting with my peers. However, I realize now, I don't feel I was practically being taught how to have a relationship with Christ and His teachings. How to pray, read the Bible, or live a moral life. I think one of the biggest things I was instilled with growing up was service. Our Protestant brothers and sisters are much better than Catholics at giving their time to soup kitchens and nursing homes, at least at the parish level.


This style of Christianity was sufficient, but I thought, “There has to be more than this.”


How I came to know Christ

Being who I am, I did something about the hunger I felt. My senior year of high school, I asked around my band friends where they went to church and I eventually ended up in a Catholic Church (shout out Holy Name of Jesus!). I fell in love. I was finally feeling spiritually and socially nourished by the intellectually engaging talks, uplifting music, small group discussions, and peers who were interested in being my friend.


I never missed a youth group my senior year. I eventually began to go to Sunday night Mass but kept going to Protestant church in the morning. I made friends who noticed I didn't know anything about Catholicism, but they still accepted me. I devoured all information I encountered. My instincts about right and wrong were finally being explained to me through Catholic teaching. I was delighted by the richness of 2000 years of wisdom and tradition. I had my second encounter with Christ in Eucharistic Adoration during this year as well.


I felt belonging and strangeness in each denomination. By the end of the school year, I considered myself a part of the Catholic community, but didn’t consider actually joining it. Catholicism still looked like a cult to me. No joke.


As I went through college, I gradually transitioned from living a double life to just doing Catholic things. Catholicism was much richer than any other denomination that was offered to me.


Two things kicked me in the butt to get confirmed

Firstly, I wasn’t allowed to serve on the leadership team because I wasn’t Catholic. 'Nuff said.


Secondly, I tried to and was denied receiving the Eucharist at a Mass with only three others in attendance. I went back to my dorm room humiliated and I cried. I came back the next day because I knew those were the rules. I didn't let that stop me from returning.


I realized that I should consider joining the Catholic Church. Isn't it ironic how the exclusion I felt at these pivotal moments were the things that drew me in? Take notes.


So I did my research and discernment. I read through the whole Youth Catechism to learn anything I hadn't already encountered. Although I asked many questions, I had no issues. I had many problems with other non-Catholic Christian books I found. Many preached relativism. If anything, none had the same grandeur as the church that Christ founded 2000 years ago.


So at Easter Vigil on April 4th, 2015, I joined the Catholic Church. I remember looking with tearful eyes at the congregation as I was sealed with holy chrism oil and joyfully thinking, "I get to be Catholic for the rest of my life."


I’ve been joy-filled for the Church since then. I’ve been told I have that convert zeal that so many cradle Catholics envy. Well, I’m jealous that my cradle peers were taught Catholicism in their schools as they grew up! The grass is greener I guess!


While finding Catholicism is something that has brought me tremendous enjoyment, I’ve always struggled with building my relationship with Christ. Prayer is a constant struggle for me between consistency and quality. I know I'm not the only one!


However, the Church has shared with me so many treasures and tools that have been discovered over her 2000 year history. Adoration, Lectio Divina, Liturgy of the Hours, and countless books have help me grow in my relationship with Christ. Not to mention Eucharistic Adoration!


My Life in Christ

The Church has given me tremendous gifts and nourishment for everything I hunger for. Firstly, tools for a relationship with Christ and for a life of virtue. Secondly, a rich life purpose in family and in my career. Thirdly, fierce friends. Lastly, a wholesome subculture to contribute to. I feel at home.


I have never regretted joining the Catholic Church and I don't think I ever will.


My Invitation for you

I want to encourage you to always seek the next best thing, as I did. I know that sounds misleading, so let me explain. Christ is the best thing. If you don't know anything about Him, seek understanding. If you haven’t encountered Him yet, keep seeking Him. If you have, keep seeking a more perfect relationship with Him. If you've been striving for a while but keep finding yourself in a Confession line, just keep seeking the next best thing: perfection in Christ.


We will never be perfect on earth, but that should not discourage us from seeking perfection in Him while we are on earth. St. John Paul II (the patron of Chrism Studio) said, "A life with Christ is a great adventure." Life is too short for a mediocre life!


 

Thank you for taking the time to read a story that is so near and dear to me. What did you think? How is the Holy Spirit speaking to you through my story? Leave a comment below!

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