Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Beginning of My Journey

Pivotal moments.  We never forget pivotal moments in our lives.  I'll never forget the emotional awakening and eye-opening conversion from my liberal, pro-choice self, to now being pro-life.  Those moments sparked the burning desire within me to journey into the Catholic faith.  The beginning of my journey home.

Looking back, I can see now the little seeds that were planted inside of me even in my childhood and adolescence, and today I can only explain it as the Holy Spirit.  I use to believe in coincidences, but not anymore.  My first introduction to what a "Catholic" was, was from a family friend from my childhood.  She was a cradle-Catholic, and she often shared stories about her childhood growing up Catholic.  I was intrigued, and from those early years, always had an interest in the Church but didn't really think too much of it.  I thought it was something you had to be born or married into, so I never actually thought it was something I'd ever be a part of.  I use to think I was drawn to things of the Church because I didn't know much about it and therefore it was mysterious to me.  It was mysterious, but it was also something I recognized as beautiful and peaceful yet as a youngster I couldn't explain why.  Now I know why, it was the Holy Spirit gently whispering to my soul... tiny seeds where being planted.

The ideals and beliefs instilled in me during my teens and early adulthood were acquired not by wise, faith-filled adults or good moral role models, but rather from Hollywood, the secular music industry, fashion magazines, TV, and non-Christian peers from high school and the liberal college I attended.  I was in my mid-twenties and dating a guy I had know since I was 17.  He was a cradle-Catholic, and I was really serious about wanting to possibly marry this guy.  I hadn't been going to church since I was about 13 or 14 years old, when my single mother gave in to me and my brother's whines about not wanting to attend church anymore because "we didn't like" it.  She had pretty much always taken us regularly since a very young age.  I thought since I had the roots and had been baptized, that with "my own relationship" with Christ, I didn't need church.  After over a decade of trying to make my own way, I was starting to wise up to the fact that I did need Christ and church, and was hungry for Him and wondering what His purpose for my life might be.  Because I didn't have a church home, I told my boyfriend that I wanted to learn more about the Catholic Church. 

My cradle-Catholic boyfriend, who attended Catholic schools until college but was also not attending church regularly, didn't have a lot of answers to the questions I had about the faith.  In his effort to help me learn, we would listen to Catholic talk radio in his truck when we were together.  One Sunday morning, on the way to his parents house for Sunday breakfast - not church - the Catholic radio station was discussing the Church's teachings on the sanctity of life and on abortion.  I couldn't believe what I was hearing!  I had NEVER heard these topics talked about in such a way, and it brought me to tears.  At that moment, many blinders were lifted.  I knew that I could no longer be pro-choice.  This pivotal moment had such an impact on me that I HAD to learn more.  I had to learn more about THIS faith and it's teachings, thus the beginning of my journey into the Catholic Church.

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