It seems like its been forever since my last post. But now I have something to update. My swim across the Tiber is progressing but far from over. This past week after Mass I finally got up the courage to contact one of the priests at the parish I've been attending, introduce myself, and let him know my intentions to join the Catholic Church. Its something I knew I'd have to do eventually but kept putting it off for one excuse or another.
Over the past two weeks I've been trying to push myself to finally make contact. Part of me was fighting my decision - the last dying throws of my protestant upbringing. "Do I really believe in the Real Presence?," I kept asking myself, "What about apostolic succession and papal infallibility?" Do I really believe this stuff or am I just acting like I do - just enthralled with history? I've been really studying the evidence for these kinds of questions in scripture, the church fathers, and different events throughout history. I've also looked at several protestant sources on the web which present evidence strictly in their favor. I've rationalized both sides in my head and really thought about which one seems more realistic. What did Christ really want from his Church?
Do I really believe this stuff or am I just acting like I do - just enthralled with history?
Surely in the span of history there have been failures on the parts of members in both protestant and catholic groups. There is no refutting that. The church is a hospital for sinners not a palace for the saints. But in matters of faith, morals, and doctrine, I can't keep or become part of a faith that doesn't speak with authority and contain the fullness of truth.
So in the past few weeks my study has become much more intense. I haven't been looking for ways to bolster my feelings regarding the Catholic faith, but rather looking to those points made by Christians who do not believe in the Church's dogmas. Do you know what I found? I found a hodgepodge of disagreement on all sides. Split denominations due to matter of doctrine and belief. I've even found communities that only believe in using the King James Authorized version of the Bible, and say that specific wording and text is the definitive "word of God."
Also over the past week, the 6th chapter of John keeps popping up everywhere. Not necessarily in my study but either on TV, the radio, or on the internet. I've opened my Bible to it numerous times. Last night I saw Mother Angelica ask us to read it before we went to bed. I didn't have to because I've practically got the whole darn chapter memorized. After careful contemplation on it, I reached my conclusion. Read John Chapter 6 here. (pay special attention to verses 61-71, in context with the rest of the chapter)
After this many of his disciples went back; and walked no more with him. 68 Then Jesus said to the twelve: Will you also go away? 69 And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go?
Case in point, by looking elsewhere I have found where I am. I have secured myself in understanding and believing both the authority of the Catholic Church to promote, interpret, defend, and teach the faith. For me, there is no other choice. I simply cannot understand how if we really believe Christ is the son of God, we can accept the mess created by split denominations and doctrine.
Therefore, I was ready to officially begin the journey home across the Tiber. Before I sent the email I took one last second to really reflect on what I was doing. I said a short prayer and hit the send button - 3 times - just to make sure it went.
I got a response the next day. The priest seems really great and we're meeting next week to discuss things. To me, it feels really near to the same way I felt when joining the Fraternity. A whole new world is continuing to open for me and I'm trying to learn as much as I possibly can in as short a period as possible. Its been 2 years since I really started taking theology seriously, so the road has been long. There will be snags and pitfalls on the way for sure, but I now I just have to keep moving forward.