Once God reveals His Mother to you and puts a hunger in your heart for the Eucharist,
there is nowhere to go but the Catholic Church
Hunger still drives me to seek His Heart
Only God could transform a frightened girl from a staunchly Calvinist Church into a devoted Catholic who hungers for His presence in silent contemplation. The Holy Spirit had to loosen me up first before I could be open to Catholicism. To accomplish this feat, He pulled the rug out from under me many times in the early seventies.
Raised as a cool, calm and conservative Presbyterian, I was frightened when I visited a Friday Night Jesus Party with friends.The culture was completely foreign with exuberant clapping, jumping up and down, rowdy praise songs and singing in harmony in tongues. Happily fear did not stop me from answering the altar call, agreeing to full immersion baptism, and the laying on of hands to be filled with the Holy Spirit. I even accepted the gift of tongues. Thank goodness the pastors persevered until I could relax enough to receive God’s gifts. When I finally squeaked out a few words in tongues, they leapt for joy,
” She finally got it”, they congratulated themselves and slapped wet, bedraggled me on the back.
It was a modern chapel, with a couple of stained glass windows and a huge, abstract banner behind the altar. I was anti-Catholic, considering the Catholic Church a heretical institution, filled with corruption. As far as I was concerned, the Catholic Church did not even teach basic salvation through Jesus Christ alone. Even worse, my Protestant training so formed me, even the inside of a Catholic Church seemed pagan. Yet, I knew that my friends were saved and born again in the Spirit and Truth. I was baffled, asking myself,
” How could they believe all the cult like rituals of the Catholic Church when they were saved and Spirit filled?”
It only took one mass for God to strike me with a lightening bolt of His Presence. The strongest presence of God I had ever encountered enveloped me as the liturgy began. I literally could not stand without my legs quaking because my whole world view had just been turned upside down. Although my mind protested, my heart and soul craved more.
Immediately after mass I managed to make my way to one of the Jesuits, who smiled at me then made an appointment with me for the next day.
When Fr. Bernard asked me why I wanted to become a Catholic, I blurted out without thinking,
“If the Eucharist is actually the Body and Blood of Jesus, then I want to receive it. Am I selfish?”
Father could not stop beaming as he said,
“That is not selfish at all. That is the best reason to become Catholic that I have ever heard.”
It was an exciting journey of discovery. An unexpected encounter with Mary shook me to my core. Was I now worshipping an idol??? All my Protestant alarm bells went off.
Slowly I relaxed and simply accepted this new relationship as I witnessed the freedom and joy that came through Mary’s intercession. Instead of running around asking if people knew Jesus, I felt like saying,
“Have you met the Virgin Mary? Do you have a personal relationship with her?”
What a drastic turnaround. On the spiritual journey, never say never.
When we die we will all see clearly and realize we really did not understand as much as we think we did anyway. St, Paul says we see through a mirror darkly. Holy men realize the closer they actually got to God, the less the really know.