This last week I received this email:
I came across your website: Young, Evangelical, and Catholic. I really appreciated it. I'm middle-aged, Evangelical, and - in the past few years- have come to a catholic perspective on my faith. The liturgy of the hours has been the foundation of my daily devotional life since 2004, I "pray" the 20 mysteries of rosary each week, I take part in Eucharistic adoration each week at the Newman Center at the university I teach at.
I love the catholic faith. However, I'm an elder in my Presbyterian church, and my wife reacted with absolute horror and anguish when I told her of my interest in Catholicism. She literally cried for almost a week. Yet I also find my fellowship with my evangelical brothers stimulating and encouraging, even life changing.
So for now I'm kind of in a spiritual no-man's land. At adoration, I remember the Syrophoenician woman, pray a sincere act of contrition, and ask that Christ would come spiritually into my heart. One day I hope to enter full-communion with the Catholic church with my wife.
God bless you and your journey and service to him.And he also had this to say in a follow up email in our conversation:
I spoke with a gentleman from Opus Dei and the chaplain at the Newman Center. They both advised/agreed with backing off - for now - with entering full communion as quickly as possible. The Newman Center chaplain also said advised not to get too comfortable with "spiritual communion and absolution."Please pray for this person and this person's family and church! (Wouldn't it be great if he could pull an Alex Jones?)
This morning's rosary was the joyful mysteries. Elizabeth's words - " And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" - struck me especially today personally. How does this happen that the mother of my Lord should come to me - a stanch evangelical who was utterly convinced that prayers to Mary and the saints were idolatry?
It is my prayers to Mary that are the most distressing to my wife. She calls them idolatry, as once I would have, too.
As many of you out there know, stories like this are not uncommon. Over the course of my blog, I have received several emails like this. Those of you who were born Catholic should be grateful for the gift that you have. When I was considering Catholicism, one Protestant pastor I spoke to who said he believed the Catholic Church to be "the fullest manifestation of God's Church on earth", encouraged me to join while I was still young: "Do it now. It'll only get harder the older you get."
One reason is of course because the longer a person lives as a Protestant, the more their life becomes entrenched in Protestant social structures. And that's on top of the fact that, even if someone becomes convinced of the Catholic faith, actually joining the Church can be quite a culture shock that can require a significant shift in one's thinking, and that can take time (I know it did for me!).
But to those of you who are Protestant clergy/pastors who have been led in your heart to Christ's Catholic Church: know that you are not alone! There are many other people out there like you and many resources to help.
Here's at least one: The Coming Home Network is organization that supports Protestants clergy/pastors who want to become Catholic with resources about the faith, job postings, and a community to help you through the transition.
Another great resource is Called to Communion, whose writers are all converts to Catholicism from the Reformed tradition, many of them clergy/pastors.