I came across this beautiful letter of a Catholic convert and how he was led to the Catholic Church. He spoke of how he was drawn to go to mass at the Shrine of the Immaculate Heart in Washington, DC and how God revealed Himself.
Sometimes, God will go into the supernatural level to call you. Many times, He will knock at your door in the human level. The deciding factor is how open are you going to be in receiving His plan for you.
My dear sister, it was with sorrow that I missed George’s wedding. I do love you and your little ones, and I hope your trip was relaxing and enjoyable.
As you know, there’s been a dramatic change in my life and this letter is long overdue. Hopefully, in these few short pages, I can express to you the immense transformation I’ve undergone, and the ways the presence of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit have become intimately known to me. You already know the Scriptural and historical reasons for my conversion to Catholicism, so I won’t repeat those. But a true conversion is more than just intellectual; it must also involve the heart. For that reason, I want to tell you how Christ brought me emotionally to His Body, the Catholic Church.
As you know, over the last several years, I found myself unable to worship within the Seventh Day Adventist setting. Their anti-intellectual attitude turned me off, in addition to their pro-choice position on abortion (communicated in the church paper, Review and Harold, October 1992). While I rejected the Adventist faith, I nevertheless loved Jesus very much. My heart ached to go to a church, but I wouldn’t step into a house of worship unless I could be sure they had the full truth. When you worship in a church, you’re endorsing the beliefs of that body, and I couldn’t do that if I wasn’t sure those beliefs were right. Jeanette, I’d cry and cry and beg God to let me know the truth. I’d always pray the Lord’s prayer – sometimes that was all I could pray. In my mind, I imagined Jesus on the cross, and I called out to Him. But I couldn’t go to church, because I didn’t know how to worship this beautiful God as He deserved. (Hear the pain and tears; I’m crying.) I knew Jesus must be worshipped in truth and holiness, but I didn’t know how.
Christ showed me on Christmas Eve, 1992.
|The intensity of Christ suffering weighed down upon me. As I was filled with love and longing for Jesus, I sensed an intense pain of separation from Him. My heart was overcome with a feeling of impurity and unworthiness. “Oh Lord, cleanse me, purify me, make me worthy!” I cried out. And then He spoke. “That is why I have given the Eucharist.”|
As you know, I’ve been studying philosophy at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. On the campus of the university sits the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, an enormous and beautiful Catholic church. As Christmas approached, I felt the distinct call within me to spend it at the Shrine. I arrived Christmas Eve to attend the concert and midnight service, but found the church packed with people. There was no seating, so I stood in the back. After a short time, feeling uncomfortable and wanting to get away from the crowds, I wandered around, looking for a quiet corner.
My search took me downstairs, into the empty lower level of the Basilica. There, I found the large crypt church, almost half the size of the huge upper building. I wandered through the dimly lit church, sitting down in the second to last pew. This was what I’d been looking for: a quiet, solemn place in which to pray. Peace and silence surrounded me, and I began to pray fervently for guidance in my spiritual life. I raised my eyes and saw far ahead of me, a silver crucifix, almost hidden in the flickering candlelight. As my gaze settled upon it, the crucifix began to grow. Slowly, slowly, it got larger – appearing to magnify in size and shape. Soon, it’s breadth overwhelmed me, filling my eyes. As it continued to grow, I felt as though I were at the very foot of Christ’s cross. I knelt, head down and eyes closed, but still, the image remained in my sight. I could see nothing but Christ and Him crucified. The intensity of His suffering weighed down upon me. As I was filled with love and longing for Jesus, I sensed an intense pain of separation from Him. My heart was overcome with a feeling of impurity and unworthiness. “Oh Lord, cleanse me, purify me, make me worthy!” I cried out.
And then He spoke.
“That is why I have given the Eucharist.” At these words, the silver crucifix returned to its size and place in the crypt, and my sight returned to normal. I felt both relief and confusion – both a sense of ultimate reality and, later, the unreality and irrationality of the experience. I wasn’t sure just what the Eucharist was, but I knew God was telling me about something I needed desperately to have.
After much prayer, I felt called to describe the experience to a Catholic friend of mine. He outlined the Church teaching regarding Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist. His explanation helped me understand what Christ told me in the crypt. We’re purified and made worthy by the Body and Blood of the Lord. My mind flashed to John 6:53: “‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.’” The Catholic teaching made perfect sense, and it grew in my heart. I wrote in my journal:
Christ’s love at the cross covers us as with a mantle. We stand accepted by the Father according to Christ’s grace and holiness. By the acceptance of Christ’s sacrificial love on the cross, we grow to stand accepted in purity before God. Forgive my presumption, Oh God! I’m humbled by this very thought and am too impure to express it. This purity isn’t my own, but Christ within working out His will in the purification of my life, that I might stand uncovered before the perfection of God. Purify my soul, my Lord and my God.
Jesus had answered my prayers, Jeanette. He showed me how I could worship Him in spirit and in truth. How could I refuse Him? On April 11, 1993, I entered the Catholic Church, becoming a part of His very Body. Since then, I’ve finally known the joy of God-given worship. My Christ has continued to guide my life, and I will always rejoice in His Presence. Where the Eucharist is, He is. And where He is, I must be.
May God bless you and bring to you love and peace,