On the road to Rome

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Elizabeth

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I am a Christian who has been attending a Catholic church for the last year and on what someone else has described as a roller coaster ride toward becoming Catholic: Sometimes I can’t wait for the Easter vigil 2005 for the consummation - in this life - of my relationship with Jesus Christ and full communion with the Church; at others I am thinking, ‘hang on! What is this?’ as I come across some new-to-me doctrine or ‘But how do we know for sure?’ as I consider for the millionth time the possibility of all those saints around the Heavenly Throne. Is this real? Really? HELP!! I am appealing to all you Protestant converts who just KNOW what I am talking about. Especially when I say that I desperately want to believe it all and become Catholic but a doubt or concern gets hold of my thoughts and for days I am in torment - knowing I can’t go back but wondering if it really is ok to move on and take the big step, 'cos there aint no going back once I’ve done it!!

Oh yes and my husband is Protestant too as are our young daughters. It all adds to the fun!

So I am inviting your constructive (name removed by moderator)ut including any references to literature, books, tapes (done many Scott Hahn already of course!), things you found helpful or interesting; ANYTHING which will encourage myself and any others on the Road to Rome!

THANKS, Elizabeth in Michiganundefinedundefinedundefined
 
Elizabeth

I too am a convert, and not just from Protestantism, in which I was raised, but from atheism as well, a doctrine I embraced in my teen years and clung to as long as I could. I do understand what you are going through, though each conversion is different…

I will give you a couple of thoughts. I hope they are helpful.

First, I have found in my now 21 years of being Catholic that often the understanding of a doctrine or discipline will come only after I have both assented to it and, here’s the kicker, OBEYED it. Lived it out. In some ways it is like being a child again and trusting that mom and dad really DO know what is best. one day I will understand more, but for now, I can obey in love and basically just trust that the understanding will come later on. This was especially true of my obedience to NFP once we were married. I obeyed, reluctantly and with resentment at first, but as I lived it out the truth and beauty of it became so clear to me. Now I cannot imagine what I ever saw as a problem.

Secondly, sometimes the devil throws anything he can at you to confuse you and distract you. I find it helpful to pray that famous little prayer, “Lord I believe, Help my unbelief.”

Finally, whenever I feel troubled or in distress over something, I am reminded of the Apostles response after the Bread of Life discourse in John, when Jesus asked them if they too would leave, and they said, “Lord to whom esle shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” I feel that way about the Catholic faith. Where else would I go? Nobody has what we have, and for the Eucharist ALONE, I would convert again today.

God be with you on your road. Hang in there!
 
Hi Elizabeth! I’m a convert as well…or, will be. (Either at the Easter Vigil, 2005, or sometime earlier, I hope).
I know what you mean, but I find that I doubt the Catholic faith very little now. I would suggest that you continue to read apologetics…especially when you come across a ‘new’ doctrine. I, for one, highly recommend Dave Armstrong’s book A Biblical Defence of Catholicism. You can order it as a paperback, or in .doc format (see Dave’s website at ic.net/~erasmus/RAZINDEX.HTM). I also recommend that you pray without ceasing for faith! (Perhaps you already are?). And don’t be afraid to give our Blessed Mother ‘a try’. Even if you have doubts, try praying the Rosary, or at least a few Hail Marys for the intention of your Faith. Her intercession is powerful! 👍

God bless,
Tyler
 
Hi,

I’ve heard very good things about Patrick Madrid’s “Surprised by Truth” series (I think that there are three of them now). They are collection conversion stories from various converts from very different backgrounds.

Also, Mark Shea has written a few books (and has tapes available) where he describes encountering Tradition, Mary, the Eucharist, etc.

All of the above should be available through Catholic Answers. You have my prayers!
 
Elizabeth: I am a convert of about five years. Grew up very Lutheran (parents taught in Lutheran schools, etc).

Scott and Kimberly Hahn’s book “Rome Sweet Home” is great. Also, if you happen to have been raised Lutheran or something similar you might want to read “There We Stood, Here We Stand” by Timothy Drake.

Most of all, keep praying.

Echoing a previous response - I’d do it all again for the Eucharist alone.

I used to think that I would not be “fed” if I entered into the Church (as I thought all the homilies were ho-hum and the music was not very “charasmatic”). I now can say I have never been so filled spiritually in my life.

God Bless You!
 
Peace to you Elizabeth!

I also am a convert from the Luthern church, but I never practiced my faith. I think I converted to Catholicism at first for the practical reason that my husband and children were Catholic. But the Lord works on the hardest of hearts, and after a few years I found myself with the burning to know more about the Church.

I had problems too at first with some of the teachings, like Mary our Blessed Mother, the Pope, contraception, Saints, etc. What I think helped me the most was to read good material on the reasons WHY the Church teaches as she does. Once I understood the history and basis of these doctorines, it all made “common” sense! And once I understood exactly “what” the Church is, the Church founded by Our Lord Himself, I could submit to all Her teachings!

God Bless You!
 
:gopray: Wow this is excellent! To have so much encouragement so soon is brilliant - to use an English expression - ‘cos that’s wot I am mate! Thankyou to MakerTeacher, JenCollins, twf (Tyler), Adam N, and tdueker for your thoughts and prayers and suggestions. MakerTeacher, I suspect very much you are right. I have heard ‘lean not on your own understanding’ in my heart and mind lately and I believe the Lord IS encouraging me to take these steps in faith and that the fulfillment of them will bring clarity. The Lord has given me deeply satisfying explanations of the BIG ones, i.e. The Eucharist and the Immaculate Conception but where the intellect understanding runs out, He has poured out a deeper spiritual supernatural understanding - e.g. about the Communion of the Saints through the Litany of the Saints at the Easter Vigil this year! How amazing and beautiful and so very moving. I was ready to receive communion right there and actually jealous of those coming into the Church! I too have felt the Eucharist alone is reason enough. It’ s the main reason I couldn’t go elsewhere now. I feel like I am engaged waiting for the marriage!

‘Rome Sweet Rome’ by the Hahns I read in 2 days. Wonderful.

Tyler, thankyou; I bought a Rosary but haven’t really tried to pray it yet. I do pray to Mary in the hopes that she really will receive my prayers - esp. for my marriage; currently separated but something tells me she DOES hear; things are on the up it seems.

God bless you all and anyone else who replies. Again, thankyou.

Catholic Answers, please note, this is such a lifeline; THANKYOU.

Elizabeth Mary
 
Thankyou too to DonaNobisPacem. By the way I love singing Agnus Dei!
 
Hello Elizabeth, I am not a convert but a revert. I left the Catholic faith a couple of years back because I did not understand what the church taught. But a few Years back I had the urge to find out what the Catholic Church taught and I am back again. The website by Dave Armstrong helped me out a bunch but there are two books the I would recommend: The first is Faith of our Fathers by Cardinal Gibbons published by Tan books and the Second is Any friend of God is a friend of Mine by Patrick Madrid. I thought those books explained the faith extremely well. I hope that this two books help out on your Journey home. ONe more thing a previous poster hit it on the Nail you to trust like a child and that the Church Know what it is talking about.bye. 😉
 
Hi Elizabeth:

I am on the journey too. I’m 47 years old and spent my whole life searching for the truth. There have been so many ups and downs, so many dead-end paths but now I am about 95% sure I want to be Catholic. I am attending Mass as an observer and I hope to start RCIA soon.

Books that I’m reading are “Rome Sweet Home” by Scott & Kimberley Hahn, “Evangelical is not Enough” by Howard Thomas, “Catholism and Fundamentalism” by Karl Keating, “By What Authority: An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition” by Mark P. Shea, and “The Mass of the Early Christians” by Mike Aquilana. I have ordered the Catechism of the Catholic Church but it has not arrived yet.

It’s a wonderful journey and although at times it seems scarey I do believe I’ve found home.

God bless you! 👍
 
Hello,
I converted from Lutheranism over 10 years ago. At first, it was with the attitude “I guess there’s nothing here that I can’t live with so that the whole family can go to church together.” But I still had kind of a “sola scriptura” mindset. Then a co-worker made a shocking claim - that sola scriptura was not in scripture. Then she gave me a copy of Rome Sweet Home. Wow.

What I eventually found was that every time I took the time to look into a troubling issue, and to investigate good, solid catholic sources, I concluded “Hmmmm - this makes so much sense, it has to be the truth.” Eventually this happened enough that I shifted perspectives - and started from the presumption of catholic truth.

Do pray the rosary. I was surprised to discover how powerful it was and is in my spiritual life. I will also say that Sunday eucharist is really the high point of my week. So come on in, the water’s fine. 👍
 
I too am on my way (from pentecostalism/Southern Baptists), starting RCIA in August. I still have a number of questions, but at the end of the day I don’t see how I will be able to not convert.

Look around as you’re on the road to Rome. That’s me on the racing bicycle 😃

DaveBj (“BikeGeezer” on the bicycling.com forums)
 
Elizabeth:

MakerTeacher makes an incredibly cogent point:

“First, I have found in my now 21 years of being Catholic that often the understanding of a doctrine or discipline will come only after I have both assented to it and, here’s the kicker, OBEYED it. Lived it out. In some ways it is like being a child again and trusting that mom and dad really DO know what is best.”

This is excellent advice. Her further explication of NFP is also impressive, as it is one of those aspects of the faith, once practiced, that really makes you understand the perversion of Christianity by Protestantism.

But I need to qualify here; I love all Protestant bretheren as fellow Christians, simply separated from the Church. But make no mistake, there’s a reason why eminent historian and apologist Hilaire Belloc called Protestantism one of “The Great Heresies.” As it has evolved from Luther, Henry VIII, Calvin and the like, the true teachings of the faith have given way to the innerancy of personal scriptural interpretation in the doctrine of sola scriptura. For example, Protestants in general had the same views as Catholics on contraception until the 1800’s and 1900’s. Why did it change? Because people changed the interpretation of what is right, trusting their own judgment and evaluation of Scripture, which often conveniently matches up with their personal agenda.

Nonetheless, whenever you are drawn to question the validity of a given aspect of the faith, try two things:
  1. Remember where your skepticism comes from: most likely it is founded upon a Protestant belief, originally formulated in oppostion to the Church. No wonder it feels weird!
  2. Research, research, research. What brought me to the faith was History, more than anything else. Why should I trust the Southern Baptist interpretation of Christ’s teachings that have been around for a few decades, while the Catholic Church had 2,000 years behind it? Why were there 33,000+ Protestant denominations all claiming to hold the truth and the way? Why did they all splinter one after another into further sects and permutations? Why is the Catholic Church essentially the same today as it was in the 1st century?
Finally there is the historical beauty of a main Catholic claim: The Church will be guided by the Holy Spirit, and “the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” Here we have the conflation of history and spirituality. How on earth has the Catholic Church survived for 2,000 years, through relentless schism and heresy, through poor leaders, wars, pestilence? How is it that the Church has an unbroken line of Papal succession going back to St. Peter? How is it that historically this Church has survived in tact longer than any temporal power in Western History? Well, that claim about the guidance of the Holy spirit starts to make a lot of sense…

If you have read some of the following, I apologize, but please see:

“Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth” catholic.com/library/Pillar.asp

“Catholicism and Fundamentalism” Karl Keating
“Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic” David Currie
Any Tract available on www.catholic.com
“The Catholic Answer Book” Peter Stravinskas
“The Catholic Answer Book of Mary” Peter Stravinskas
“What We Believe” Father Oscar Lukefahr

Lastly, it is amazing, if you are willing to do your research, how every Catholic belief and doctrine is fully supported by Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Some of the greatest joy I receive from my faith is the unbelievable mountain of historical, scriptural and magisterial evidence that supports our faith. Welcome home!!!
 
Dear Elizabeth,

Oh welcome!!! How I can relate to your struggle! I attended my first Mass 6 years ago and the Holy Spirit had His hook in me from that moment on! However, I too found myself looking at Catholic doctrine through Protestant eyes. I think the advice of child-like trust, assenting and obeying have been such a blessing to me. I knew that God put me where I was, so I trusted Him to help me stay there.

Find a group to pray the Rosary with (our parish has a group that meets every first Friday to pray the Rosary for an end to abortion). I remember the first time I ever prayed the Rosary was with that group and it was such a beautiful experience. It is so powerful to a newcomer to immerse yourself in the “community” that our Faith fosters.

Finally, aside from listening to archived Catholic Answers radio programs (you can pick any program from the last 6 years to listen to at any time, awesome!) I particularly like the tapes done by John Martignoni. You can go to his website (www.biblechristiansociety.com) to get the tapes and lots of great information. He uses the Bible only to defend Catholic doctrines.

God bless you and good luck on your journey. Thank God every day that He chose to bring you to His Church. 😉
 
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Elizabeth:
I am a Christian who has been attending a Catholic church for the last year and on what someone else has described as a roller coaster ride toward becoming Catholic: Sometimes I can’t wait for the Easter vigil 2005 for the consummation - in this life - of my relationship with Jesus Christ and full communion with the Church; at others I am thinking, ‘hang on! What is this?’ as I come across some new-to-me doctrine or ‘But how do we know for sure?’ as I consider for the millionth time the possibility of all those saints around the Heavenly Throne. Is this real? Really? HELP!! I am appealing to all you Protestant converts who just KNOW what I am talking about. Especially when I say that I desperately want to believe it all and become Catholic but a doubt or concern gets hold of my thoughts and for days I am in torment - knowing I can’t go back but wondering if it really is ok to move on and take the big step, 'cos there aint no going back once I’ve done it!!

Oh yes and my husband is Protestant too as are our young daughters. It all adds to the fun!

So I am inviting your constructive (name removed by moderator)ut including any references to literature, books, tapes (done many Scott Hahn already of course!), things you found helpful or interesting; ANYTHING which will encourage myself and any others on the Road to Rome!

THANKS, Elizabeth in Michiganundefinedundefinedundefined
Hi Elizabeth, not a convert, a former "cafeteria and C&E Catholic and so happy to be back. I am going to tell you a little secret, many Catholics envy converts, me included, because you will have the thrill of discovery, the day you see Christ in the form of bread you will tear up.

Mass for me is now a cloudy event, but I take it like man.

Anyway, I put some links together on my web site of converts telling their story, you should be able to stream even on a dial up. machado-family.com/converts.htm

Oh, and dido for what everybody else said too…

Joao
 
Dear Elizabeth.
Welcome. I am a cradle catholic who prays constantly for all those who are searching for the Truth. So know that you are included. Believe and trust. The saints are real and they are alive. It’s all due to the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Our Lord. If you really think about it, Christ Himself has conquered death and has promised Life to the fullness. This is what Heaven is all about, sharing in this fullness of Life. This is what the saints, as special friends of Christ, are sharing in. As a mother’s love is always increased through her children no matter how many, Christ’s Glory is always manifested through His Saints. Keep praying and loving the Lord. 🙂
 
:bounce: Yeehah! I knew this was a good thing to do, i.e. ASK! What truly lovely people you all are. I want to give you each a ‘reputation point’!! THANKYOU, THANKYOU, THANKYOU. With 2 small daughters I am going to have my work cut out to read all this stuff but I can assure you I have my nose in a book when I can these days. Have to discipline myself to go to sleep at night. Yes I have read a fraction of what you are suggesting but don’t hold back or apologise PLEASE (Brian in El Paso) 👍 because it’s all good stuff. When I feel myself going through the strangeness of it all and it actually becomes painful I can turn to these responses from all you good people and be encouraged and know that you are my brothers and sisters helping me on. Please pray for me and my husband who is Protestant and from whom I am separated (don’t want to be) right now and for my 2 beautiful daughters Anna (6) and Lauren (4) who love the kids stuff they get to do in my old non-denominational church and find the Catholic children’s liturgy boring!!

THANKYOU. :tiphat:

Elizabeth Mary ( my parents gave me a pretty cool name for non-Christians!)
 
Elizabeth: God bless you and keep you.

My wife is a convert and I wounder if you have had a chance yet to spend much time with our Blessed Mother?

She really loves you and can really help you see her Son in a very special way.

If you have not yet had a chance to spend some time with her you may want to get the booklet from CA on the rosary.

God Bless again and Beth and I will be praying for you as can be a bumpy road but so worth while.
 
Elisabeth, congrats on the movement.

The easiest way to confront the whole problem is to use the reasoning ability that God gave us all. Without going into my story, if you use reason then it is impossible not to come to the conlcusion that the whole of Christianity hangs on the truthfullness or not of Catholicism.

Either God has ensured from the beginning that Christianity would grow or he as not, if he has not then we are all fools. If he has then there is no doubt that for many many centuries there was no Church than the Catholic Church.

You only have two choices in the end, Catholicism is true or Christianity is merely a philosophy with no more “real objective truth than any other belief structure”

Continue the journey, the struggle will be worth it.

In Christ

Tim
 
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