In my lifetime, I know of very few people who have chosen to join the Catholic Church. It is just something that doesn’t happen, or so it seems. In my day to day life I meet many Protestants and I meet many Catholics and become friends with people on both sides of the division. Typically, though, there is little spoken or expressed antagonism between the two groups, at least in the more local aspects. Though, there are instances where antagonists from either side, of which I was once one, start something, unprovoked. But now, with my conversion becoming public amongst my friends, it seems like a can of worms has been opened. I found out at lunch today that two of my friends, one Catholic, and one so opposedly not, got into it over whether or not Peter was the rock that Christ spoke of. Obviously it is a contentious subject because the truth of the matter either confirms or denies the Church’s authority and therefore denies or confirms Protestantism’s validity. I can’t help but think that this argument would not have occurred if my friend did not know I was becoming Catholic. From what I heard there was a lot of closed-mindedness from the non-Catholic side and it makes me apprehensive because sooner or later these arguments are going to reach me and I will have to deal with them face-to-face. A huge part of my cannot understand why some people are being so closed-minded about the idea of the truth being found in the Catholic Church. Then I remember, that six months ago, no, probably even five months ago that was me. I wonder how in the world I overcame the my own locked-up heart. All I did was pray. I prayed that my friends would see the truth, and that I would see it as well. Then it was all God. God was the one who opened my heart. There is nothing I can do to make my friends at least open their minds to the possibility that Catholicism could be truth. Only God can do that, can overcome their pre-conceived notions of the faith. And as sad as it is making me to know that I cannot get them to look at Christianity from the Catholic view, I am utterly thankful that God has opened my heart and allowed me to see it from the other side, the pre-Reformation view.
I also had a friend send me a facebook message saying she wanted to talk to me about my idea of the Authority of the Church and some “discrepancies” she has found in my views. I find it kind of ironic that she is dating the guy who got into it last night with my Catholic friend. Anyways, from what I have heard, she is more anti-Catholic than she has portrayed herself to be to me, so I am really really bracing myself and preparing myself for this conversation this weekend because when she returns next week, there is no telling when she is going to bring this up. It is with deep regret that I look back and realize that this is how I was before. I am just beginning to see how it feels to be a Catholic, persecuted alongside all Christians by non-believers, but than doubly persecuted against by non-Catholic Christians.
Our Heavenly Father,
I appeal to you for guidance. I appeal to you for the words of truth. I appeal to you to set the Spirit of God on my lips and on my heart. Lord, prepare my heart for the battles that will surely come. Help me to prevail over the stumbling blocks that others will shortly begin to throw in my path. But Lord, above all, open people’s hearts, give them the opportunity to get their misconceptions of the Catholic Church be turned to dust, to ash. Lord, let them hear the sweet song of the Church that I heard. Let them see the beauty that I saw. Let them feel it’s warm embrace. God lead as all in truth. Let my security and my fear over this matter be my greatest Lenten sacrifice. God help me to use this season of sacrifice and deep reflection to bring an open mind to my friends.
In the holy name of Christ I pray in unity with the Holy Spirit. Amen.