|A priest, a minister, and a seminarian walk into a |
|Going to church|
Recently, a couple of different very small events in my life triggered me to begin thinking about Catholicism again. One was a reconnection with a strong Christian friend. Another was a Christian movie. Another was randomly stumbling upon a Catholic blog, which led to a few others. I found myself opening up a book I thought I had closed. I began to think about my reasons once again for why I was not Catholic. There was my issue with communion. But I also had other reasons, including a poor situation with the priest involved with our marriage prep. To be honest, becoming Catholic would feel like letting him "win". I think it's important that I admit this reason because I am fully aware that it is selfish and petty and has no relationship to faith. Another reason I felt remaining Protestant was the right choice was that it meant we remained an "interchurch" family and could be an example of the ecumenism in which I so strongly believe. I have been a part of an international online group of interchurch families for a number of years now. As part of this group, we all feel that our marriages, our witness to Christ's relationship with the church, are strongly needed to show the unity possible among the various denominations. I had come to the conclusion that as difficult as it was, our marriage was needed to help others.
It was this last reason that I began to consider more deeply. And suddenly, I had a realization: the purpose of marriage, whether you believe it is a vocation, sacrament, ordinance, covenant, calling, or simple choice, is for the building up of Christ's church. For the purpose of service and evangelism. To be Christ's example to all, but most of all to your spouse. I realized that maybe we weren't meant to be an example of an interchurch couple because that wasn't something my husband was really able to do. Maybe what he needed was someone to walk with him in faith much more closely than I had been doing. Maybe I was not putting his needs for encouragement in faith before the needs of fellow interchurch couples. As his wife, the person with the most influence on his faith and the most responsibility for his soul, I should recognize what his needs are and put them ahead of others, for our strong unity in faith was better for others anyway.
All of the above happened last year while we were living in Germany. Once I knew where we would be moving back to in the US, I contacted churches in the area about RCIA (this is the class and process of joining the Catholic church as an adult). I had gone through the class while I was attending university simply for educational reasons and to be better prepared for our marriage. This time, I am fairly certain I will be "joining up". (No one can hold me to it until the day-of!)
As a Protestant to Catholic "convert" (I use quotes because I feel convert should apply to actually changing religions, not denominations), I would like to have some posts in the coming weeks and months that will promote knowledge-sharing among the denominations. I'd like to clear up some myths, alleviate some misunderstandings, and do what I can to promote ecumenical dialogue. If you'd be interested in participating in this by either writing a guest post or joining in a link-up, please let me know. If there are any particular tenets of either Protestantism of Catholicism that you'd like to see addressed, please also let me know.
For a sort of "Part II", see this guest post.
This post is also now part of a link-up at The Pearl and the Pilot called My Catholic Journey.