This Easter Vigil marked five years for me as a Roman Catholic. For the first 22 years of my life, I was a Protestant, raised in the Christian Reformed Church. I went to a Lutheran school through eighth grade and dabbled in the Evangelical church during college. Needless to say, my walk as a Christian has been colorful and varied.
My journey into the Church was filled with uncertainty, angst, and surprise. During the RCIA process, Kevin and I went on a walk after one of our preparation classes. He asked me, "So, do you think you're going to go through with it?" Looking back, answering "yes" or "no" was so much more than deciding whether or not to go through a ceremony on the Saturday before Easter. The implications of this decision were infinite! What will happen if I become Catholic and Kevin doesn't or vice versa? What will happen to my relationships with Protestant family members and friends? Will I "lose" people I love? Is Jesus really present in the Eucharist? Is all that the Catholic Church teaches on contraception, abortion, marriage and the all-male priesthood really true? If I aligned myself with this institution, I would be taking a stand-an unpopular stand-on many faith and moral issues.
In the end, joining the Catholic Church was the best and most monumental decision of my life. I have heard it said that we all have a God-shaped hole in our hearts that can only be filled by his perfect love. Recently, I heard a fellow convert go even further to assert that we all have a Catholic-Church-shaped hole in our hearts that can only be filled by the sacramental graces Christ offers through the ministry of the Church. And to this, I say "Amen!" As difficult as the transition from Protestant to Catholic was and is with family, friends and within my own sensibilities, the sacramental gifts of the Church-Eucharist, Reconciliation, Confirmation, and Marriage-have brought so much love, hope, peace, and blessing to my life that, like Peter, I often ask, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." (John 6:68)
Happy Easter Season to you all, and may Christ's love and joy continue to deepen in your hearts!