Why Catholic

MY JOURNEY HOME

by Ouida Tomlinson, OFS

I am a convert to the Roman Catholic Church. When I think about it, thanksgiving for my conversion fills my heart. I take a deep breath and whisper, “Thank you, Lord, thank you, thank you.” I want to play two sticks like Saint Francis. I want to sing of “la joie parfaite” and dance. I want to tell everyone how good the Lord is and how he has blessed me by bringing me home. The gratitude never ceases. The joy never stops. I am overwhelmed with it. Come! Celebrate with me the joy of our faith!

I converted at the Easter Vigil Mass in April, 1994. It was not easy to leave my Protestant church, husband, family and friends. I was the only one in my RCIA class who cried while sharing my story. For most of them, it was an occasion of spouses and families uniting, but for me, I was experiencing the broken body of Christ in leaving others behind. The Lord opened the door, and I knew without a doubt that he was telling me to no longer delay making the decision.

Initially, I felt like a child in a room with many doors and cabinets. The Church was the room, and every time I opened a new door, there were blessings and gifts and surprises. How rich we are! What spiritual wealth! Beginning with the Easter Vigil Mass in 1994, grace upon grace upon grace poured down from heaven and has never stopped.

I am no longer frustrated or searching for a home. Before, there was always a hunger and desire for more than was being offered and a desire to surrender and commit more than was being asked. I have a certain peace for the first time since I was eleven years old. I was baptized that year but never felt content in any church I joined. Although each has blessed and taught me and helped me along my journey, it was never enough. There was always an emptiness. I felt that I was walking through the valley of the dry bones of Ezekiel. My heart cried out, “I thirst.” The Reformation threw away too much. Protestant churches have been stripped of so much of their precious Christian heritage.

Several months before my conversion, I read a book on desert spirituality. It was entitled Soul Making by Alan Jones. I identified with statements he made in the introduction: “I find it increasingly difficult to feel at home with my fellow believers. . . . I want a kind of Christianity that can be embraced with both passion and intelligence. . . . I want a gutsy, old-fashioned, demanding religion with no compromise and no nonsense. I want a great deal. Often, I feel that as yet, I have nowhere to lay my head.” Well, as a Roman Catholic and Secular Franciscan, I have what I wanted, and although the road is hard at times, I am at home. Now I have a place to lay my head.

My soul is at rest. I experience a sense of great serenity knowing that as a Roman Catholic, I am in the splendor of truth. I have the fullness of the faith. I have the seven sacraments. I have the Eucharist with the body and blood of Christ fully on the altar when the sacrament is consecrated (transubstantiation).

I can stand on the authority of the Church and willingly submit to its authority. It is not built on shifting sand but on solid rock, on Sacred Tradition and Scripture. It needs no defense but stands on its on. If it falls into error, the Holy Spirit corrects, and someone like Saint Francis is sent to lead us back and to rebuild.

Then there is the comfort. In all my trials and suffering, in deaths and losses, I experience comfort at a more profound level now within the Church. There is also a great sense of safety in all things, both physical and spiritual. Our mother, the Church, carries us in her womb, ultimately to be surrendered to the Father.

Catholics, never cease giving thanks for the Church and do not compromise your faith. Stand firm with your head high. Never cease praising God for the gift. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Recall the words of Saint Francis as he was dying of the necessity of holding to the faith of the holy Roman Church.

Today, as I walk with Jesus, living my Christian life as a Roman Catholic and Secular Franciscan, life is flooded through and through with joy and gladness. My husband (who passed away on May 18, 2011) converted a couple of years after I did. We owed much to our Catholic friends. They helped us on our way by patiently loving us and accepting us where we were and by showing us, through their example, that they had something we wanted and that something was their Catholic faith.  My husband never stopped giving thanks for his conversion, and neither have I.

My cup overflows. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6.)

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WATCH “THE JOURNEY HOME” ON EWTN TV (click this link)

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 G. K. CHESTERTON

“The Catholic Church is the only thing which saves a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age.”   G. K. Chesterton

G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936) was an English author. He was one of the most well-known and beloved writers of his time. He was also a convert to the Catholic faith. When asked why he became a Catholic, he replied (in Autobiography), “To get rid of my sins.”

Chesterton also wrote a longer answer in his book, The Catholic Church and Conversion. Converts and cradle Catholics will find this book both enlightening and entertaining. Chesterton wrote with great insight and marvelous wit. Many converts will smile knowingly when reading his statement, “I had no more idea of becoming a Catholic than of becoming a cannibal.”

In describing the conversion process in The Catholic Church and Conversion, Chesterton said that there are three stages that a convert goes through. In the first stage, the convert imagines himself to be entirely detached or even indifferent but feels that he ought to be fair to the Church of Rome. The convert wishes to do it justice, chiefly because he sees that the Church suffers injustice.

The second stage is:  that in which the convert begins to be conscious not only of the falsehood but the truth and is enormously excited to find that there is far more of it than he would ever have expected. . . . This process, which may be called discovering the Catholic Church, is perhaps the most pleasant and straightforward part of the business, easier than joining the Catholic Church and much easier than trying to live the Catholic life. It is like discovering a new continent full of strange flowers and fantastic animals, which is at once wild and hospitable.

The third stage, according to Chesterton, is perhaps the truest and most terrible because the person is trying not to be converted but has come too near to the truth, which is like a magnet with the powers of attraction and repulsion. Describing this stage, Chesterton says that it is impossible to be just to the Catholic Church because once men cease to pull against it, they feel the tug towards it.

The moment they cease to shout it down they begin to listen to it with pleasure. The moment they try to be fair to it they begin to be fond of it. But when that affection has passed a certain point it begins to take on the tragic and menacing grandeur of a great love affair. The man has exactly the same sense of having committed or compromised himself; of having been in a sense entrapped, even if he is glad to be entrapped. But for a considerable time he is not so much glad as simply terrified.

Converts may also remember the same discovery Chesterton describes with this statement: “Only, when he has entered the Church, he finds that the Church is much larger inside than it is outside.”

Chesterton was received into the Catholic Church in 1922. After receiving his first Communion, he wrote a poem called “The Convert,” presented below.

Following the poem are several links to other Websites. We pray that these links provide more answers for those in search of the truth about the Catholic Church.

THE CONVERT

After one moment when I bowed my head
And the whole world turned over and came upright,
And I came out where the old road shone white,
I walked the ways and heard what all men said,
Forests of tongues, like autumn leaves unshed,
Being not unlovable but strange and light;
Old riddles and new creeds, not in despite
But softly, as men smile about the dead.

The sages have a hundred maps to give
That trace their crawling cosmos like a tree,
They rattle reason out through many a sieve
That stores the sand and lets the gold go free:
And all these things are less than dust to me
Because my name is Lazarus and I live.

–G. K. Chesterton–

 Source for quotations from The Catholic Church and Conversion and for the poem, “The Convert”: G. K. Chesterton’s Works on the Web

See also link: THE AMERICAN CHESTERTON SOCIETY

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“This is the most important media project in the history of the Catholic Church in America. A stimulating and compelling exploration of the spiritual, moral, and intellectual riches of the Catholic world. ” -George Weigel, Biographer of Blessed John Paul II

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CATHOLICISM WEBSITE

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THE CONVERSION OF ANDRE FROSSARD

The moment he stood in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament and was touched by the love and joy of life that radiate from the mystery of the One, Triune God, it became clear to him that the fullness of truth revealed by God to humanity resided in the Catholic Church alone.

“I walked into the chapel an atheist. A few minutes later I emerged a Christian—and I was a witness to my own conversion, full of wonder, which endures even now.”   Andre Frossard.

Journalist, author, philosopher, personal friend of John Paul II, member of the Académie française, and chief editor of France’s influential weekly, Le Figaro Magazine, André Frossard (1915-1995) was one of Europe’s most highly respected intellectual lights. In June of 1935, he underwent a sudden conversion, which, in an instant, transformed him from a militant atheist into a fervent Catholic. He would go on to become a brilliant apologist of the Christian faith.

There is Another World – Andre Frossard (click here to read complete article)

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(click image)

HOW TO BECOME A CATHOLIC

by James Akin

Becoming a Catholic is one of the most profound and joyous experiences of life. Some are blessed enough to receive this great gift while they are still infants, and over the course of time they grow into a recognition of the enormous grace that has been bestowed upon them, of the dignity and wonder of their identity as Catholics. Others come into the Catholic fold while they are older children or adults. In these cases it is necessary for people to have a grasp of the joyful process by which one becomes a Catholic. . . . (continued – click here to EWTN)

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No matter how long it has been – no matter how far you have strayed – come home.

“While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him,
and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.”
Luke 15:20b

LINKS

BIBLE STUDY

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

CATHOLIC ANSWERS

CATHOLIC ONLINE

CATHOLIC RESOURCES

CATHOLICS COME HOME

CATHOLICISM SERIES

COMPENDIUM OF THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

COUPLE TO COUPLE LEAGUE FOR NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING

EARLY CHURCH FATHERS

EARLY CHURCH FATHERS: THE REAL PRESENCE

EARLY CHURCH FATHERS: THE SACRIFICE OF THE MASS

EWTN GLOBAL CATHOLIC NETWORK

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

LIFESITE NEWS.COM

MARY AND THE SAINTS

MASS TIMES

PROJECT RACHAEL

PURGATORY AND LAST THINGS

SACRAMENTS

ST. JOSEPH COMMUNICATIONS

ST. PAUL CENTER FOR BIBLICAL THEOLOGY

THE COMING HOME NETWORK INTERNATIONAL

TO TELL YOU THE WHOLE TRUTH ABOUT THE CHURCH AND THE HOLY BIBLE

UNDERSTANDING ANNULMENTS

WORD ON FIRE

Posted February 21, 2012 by ouidaofs

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