My journey into the Catholic faith was a rocky one, to say the least. My husband was raised Catholic, and I was raised Lutheran. My family was not that of lukewarm faith. We had extremely strong ties to our Protestant community and my siblings and I at-tended a Lutheran school in Lansing for nine years. I was blessed to be raised in a loving and Christ-centered home!
When Jared and I met and later became engaged in 2008, we had a slightly naive perspective on how our differing Christian religions would affect our marriage. I attended Mass with Jared, and he would attend services with me. The marital peacefulness all came to a screeching halt when I became pregnant with our first child in 2009. We both wanted him to be baptized, but at which church? How would we raise him? All the complications of our marriage's disunion became exposed. There were fights, tears, and lots of sleepless nights.
Miraculously, and only thru the Holy Spirit's direction, we ended up baptizing two children in the Catholic church be-fore I decided it was time for me to delve deeper as well. I then (still reluctantly) began the eye-opening RCIA process. There are days even now (5 years post-RCIA) that I STILL miss those classes. The deep discussions were so engaging, and Jared learned as much as I did being my sponsor thru the process. As an all-knowing Protestant Bible thumper, my participation in the class was never lacking. I was throwing verses out like candy, and surely I was going to prove all those "Mary-worshipping Catholics" wrong! Thank God they were so patient with me, answering all my questions and never making me feel like anything I asked was inappropriate or offensive.
Throughout the process, I fell in love with the Sacraments! I had no idea what I was missing all those years. The Lord is certainly present in the Catholic church! Most especially thru the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and a powerful experience at a Healing Mass, I have felt the Holy Spirit in ways I never knew possible. I honestly feel blessed to have this perspective. I hope all cradle Catholics can feel the joy that a convert feels when they join the Church. I know my husband was led into a much deeper and personal relationship with the Lord as well! I cannot say enough about the RCIA process and how much it changed my life.
I would encourage anyone considering RCIA not to be worried about judgment, and to enter in with an open mind. It is not the goal to pressure people into the Catholic Faith, but you can bet the Holy Spirit will guide hearts. Don't think of it as a grueling process, as it most certainly is not. For my husband and I, it was a learning experience, a chance to have deep conversations, and a time to draw closer to God. If you feel called, suggest RCIA to someone you love, but most of all, take it to God in prayer. Every personal journey that leads to RCIA is different, so never lose hope!
Lord, words do not express my thankfulness. For Your mighty power was at work in me, transforming me, renewing my mind. To You Lord belong thanks eternal. Please open the hearts of those considering RCIA this year, and let your Spirit work within them.