Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Our 6th Anniversary In The Catholic Church

Tomorrow we will celebrate the 6th anniversary of our return to the Catholic Church. What started as an un-expected moment of surrender to God in a darkened theater has led to my re-establishment of communion with the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church.

In the early spring of 2004, while watching the Passion of the Christ, for the first time I saw how much Christ had suffered for me. It was as if my eyes were opened anew despite years of having read the gospels. I had always believed it but not until I saw his suffering displayed so graphically did I finally say: "Ok God, since you did that for me, I will do anything for you." "Anything?" He asked me in the quiet darkness. "Yes, Jesus" I said back to him with hot tears running down my cheeks trying to contain my sobs. "I will do anything you ask of me." My next thought was "I'd even become Catholic!" One of the most contrary things I could think of at the time.
  • I would even surrender MY IDEA of what a church should look like.
  • I would even surrender My RIGHT to understand the Bible my way.
  • I would even surrender MY PREFERENCE of worship styles and practices.
  • I would even surrender MY BITTERNESS against the Church of my youth and my parent's religion.
I left the theater that night quiet and shaking inside. Shaken because I never realized how much He suffered for me and how much I had held back from him despite claiming to have a personal relationship with him for 31 years. For whatever reason, the movie brought me to the point where I could say to Him finally, I will surrender everything to you regardless of how it makes me feel. Regardless of my level of comfort.

I hated the thought of returning to the Church, and with my old pride rising up within me, I decided not to tell my wife that I had this "moment of surrender." Instead, I started to quietly listen in when she had EWTN on the TV. I then asked her if she could buy back some of the books I asked her to dispose of years before. I started reading Steve Ray's Crossing the Tiber, and discovered the writings of the early Church fathers for the first time in my life. I couldn't put it down. That was it.

I knew I had to return to this Church that always believed that Jesus was truly physically present in the Eucharist as the Early Christians practiced and wrote about. Here I was for 31 years trying to get close to Jesus and he had been there all the time! I was so angry because no one had told me and yet so happy at the same time! This was that "crazy missing part" that Keith Green sung about in Love Broke Through so many years ago in my teen years.

In a few short weeks, Deborah and I were sitting in front of a young Catholic priest spilling our guts and a week or so after that I was on my knees in a chapel one evening having just received Jesus, soul, body and divinity for the first time since I was a kid. The one I had been searching for my whole life was now closer than I could ever come to Him on this earth. He had been there all the time, waiting for me.

It all started with His grace leading me to a moment of surrender.
In a little eastern Pennsylvania town called Emmaus, I recognised Him in the breaking of the bread. Thank you Jesus for not giving up on me.
And thank you Deborah for your patience and love.


Blogger Shirley said...

The moment that I surrendered my hardened heart and came back to my Catholic faith was overwhelming and emotional. How persistent and gentle He is and how patient! I love Him.

April 29, 2010 11:53 PM  
Blogger Kindred Spirit said...

What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing it, and happy anniversary! May God richly bless you and your loved ones, and may Our Blessed Mother protect you always.

April 30, 2010 12:06 AM  
Blogger Magister Christianus said...

Truly a beautiful story! I hope to be where you are some day.

April 30, 2010 10:53 AM  
Blogger kkollwitz said...

I remember thinking what a Catholic movie it was, and wondering how it could go over so well with non-Catholic Christians.

May 01, 2010 1:17 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

our Methodist Church bought an entire theater full of tickets so all the congregation would go. That's how I ended up there!

May 01, 2010 1:19 PM  
Blogger kkollwitz said...

I'm curious: does it seem any different now that you've been Catholic for awhile?

May 01, 2010 8:59 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

I understand/see the beautiful relationship between our Lord and his Mother much more now than when I first saw it.
It "humanized" Mary for me and gave me the perspective that she was so much more involved in his life than being just a surrogate earthling mother for him~ then just relegated to history.

May 01, 2010 9:14 PM  
Blogger kkollwitz said...

"I would even surrender My RIGHT to understand the Bible my way."

Interesting and effective way to put it.

May 03, 2010 11:24 AM  

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