Friday, April 10, 2009

How did I ever end up Catholic?!? Pt 4

As I said in an earlier post we left New Zealand in 1989 to come and live in South Australia. Dh felt lead to attend a local church and we found one only a block or so away from where we were living. Citywide Christian Assembly was our spiritual home for a few years. But when the elders suggested that we should allow them to parent our kids we moved on (as did many others)

After this we tried a spot of home church before attending St Cuthbert’s Anglican church one Christmas. Another home for a time until dh suggested we attend Christ Church North Adelaide.

At the same time we met a wonderful home school family. They were kindred spirits to our children, and they were Christians too…. even if they were Catholic!!

I started reading the Bible again with a hunger and excitement I hadn’t felt since I first started reading it in Wanganui in my first year of teaching.

And from now I will add quotes from the journal I kept at the time:

“Before now my knowledge of church history went something like: there was the early new testament church with Christ’s apostles and followers but then the true church went ‘underground’ and didn’t emerge again until Luther nailed his famous proclamations to the church door….but in our history period in homeschooling we are studying the early middle ages and that means reading about saints.”

“And when I read even about Luther I discover he died longing for his Catholic faith…and never giving up a strong devotion to Mary!!”

“When I read the writings of these saints I am confused because they seem Christian…but they were Catholic and loved their Catholic faith”

“I read today about the Bible in the Young Josephus”(Josephus was not a Christian) I hadn’t realized that there several Jewish groups at this time and only the Hebrew Jews took a Bible such as the Protestant churches have today…the other groups ,even til today acknowledge the books in the Catholic Bible; History again keeps talking back to me”

“ I have never read the Gospel of John chapter Six before with my eyes and heart open. Esp verses 56-61 and 67 spoke to me today”

“I told dh today that I can no longer receive communion at Christ church, if I am not truly receiving Christ…and can it be coincidence that every Sunday the choir sings at the time a hymn by John Henry Newman…all around me now I feel the presence of the saints and especially those who have walked the road of conversion into the catholic faith”

“Asked a retired bishop today what are the truths in the Anglican church; he paused and then said’oh you can pretty much believe whatever you like you know’….but we have always taught our children that there are absolutes in the faith; or else where stands the creed. And if there are absolutes where can we find them…where is the accountability in the truth that is being preached in God’s name. Do all churches have the right to make up their own truth…for if they are lead by the same Spirit then why don’t they all agree.”

“ I am reading the Catechism of the Catholic church and discovering Scripture supports it and vice versa!”

“Andrew shared Sat. night his doubts re confirmation in the Anglican church…good healthy discussion followed with dh, A and myself. Things cleared and we are all honestly searching”

“Today dh has been reading from Hillaire Belloc’s “A Shorter history of England” and says it doesn’t paint a pretty picture of 16th century England”

“ God sent Jesus in total brotherhood to us and as the older brother he must show us the way…and the way was the cross…note to self: Hebrews 2:14 is this a reference to communion”

“ A has said he doesn’t want to be confirmed unless he can receive the fullness of the sacraments.”

“dh shared his doubts this morning about apostolic succession in the Anglican church ie is it dependent solely on the laying of hands or also on the continuation of the celebration of the Mass. My prayer: God lead us to your truth and not to any other.”

“If we have not yet received the full presence in communion what difference could it make in our lives if we do? Is God calling us to a faith in obedience not fully understanding yet holding firmly to that which we believe He would have us hold to.”

“went to see Father F. Dh really identified with his journey from Anglican to Catholic church. Father F quoted St Augustine in describing his own journey ‘faith comes before understanding’’

Inside me a hunger and longing that I couldn’t ignore was growing more insistent as I read books from others who had walked this journey previously:

Books such as

“Rome Sweet Home” by Scott and Kimberly Hahn

“Surprised by Truth” ed by Patrick Madrid

“Covenant with Jesus” by Father Robert Fox

“Welcome Home: Stories of fallen-away Catholics that came back.”

“What Catholics Really Believe” by Karl Keating

“Catholic Christianity” by Peter Kreeft.

“Fundamentalism and Catholicism”

But two were especially crucial “Evangelical is not Enough” and “On Being Catholic” both by Thomas Howard. In his dedication in the former amongst others he lists “the missionaries of the China Inland Mission: these embody the evangelical integrity I honor”. This man had come from such a strong Evangelical Protestant family. A family whose influence had even stretched to one poor soul in far off New Zealand. Yet here this man who so honoured his family could still say”At the Easter Vigil in 1985 I was received into the Roman Catholic church….".Yes I believe that the Roman Catholic church is the Ancient Church. I accept its claims. I believe that here one finds the fullness(“catholicity”) of the Faith. Hence I mourn the spintering in Christendom. I pray daily for the reunion of Christ’s church..”

What then was I waiting for. CS Lewis describes himself as the most reluctant convert in all Christendom yet I would prefix our entry into the Catholic church as the most certain, the most definite step I would ever make in all my Christian walk. Throw open the doors, let the Alleluia’s sing, I’m coming home, I know I am!


Natalie said...

Wow! You know what? I don't really understand what drives you, but I see it as beautiful just the same. I love the fact that you resonate with your choice. God could ask no more of you.

Wishing you a peaceful and joyous Easter.x

Aliadelaide said...

Thank you Natalie and may you and your family also have a wonderful Easter.

Anonymous said...

“The mystery of God’s presence, therefore, can be touched only by a deep awareness of his absence. It is in the center of our longing for the absent God that we discover his footprints, and realize that our desire to love God is born out of the love with which he has touched us. In the patient waiting for the loved one, we discover how much he has filled our lives already.”
(Henri J.M. Nouwen: Reaching Out. The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life)

Anonymous said...

hi I have been reading your journey.;and being a convert of twelve years just have to say that I understand totally where you are coming from;once you make that first step there is no going back;your family will be blessed by their choice of obedience!
Mary M.

Aliadelaide said...

Isn't it amazing....we have a God who created us all individuals...each ones journey to Him is unique but each of us is called to come to Him and His arms are ever there to receive us
thank you all for your comments

Aussie Therese said...

Your story is inspirational Ali.

Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

Anonymous said...

And when I read even about Luther I discover he died longing for his Catholic faith

Is that right? I had no idea!

Anonymous said...

Christ is Risen! Happy Easter, Alison! It was beautiful reading about your journey to the Catholic Faith.

Love from all of us here, especially Xavier who sends greetings to Toby, Lachlan and all the family!

Aliadelaide said...

Reciprocated Louise and Toby and Lachlan say Happy Easter to Xavier too. Our friendship means such a lot to our whole family.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Alison, for taking the time to share your journey of conversion with us.

It is a wonderful testimony to your faith journey.