I left off last in my post, at the point where I knew I wanted to figure this out, this Catholic thing, because figuring that out decided whether I would let K go or not. So I decided to attack what objections I supposedly had or more likely things I didn't understand. All the while I was attending mass. I remember making a point to bring my Bible with me to mass. That's at least what I had always done, one always took a Bible to worship, and to try to participate more, I wrote in the Nicene Creed and pasted it inside the front cover. Missals (for the non-Catholics reading, it gives the weekly four Bible passages and other prayer and mass order info) were present, but I felt lost with things jumping out of the whole and so I would bring that Bible each time and look up the readings my comforting way. I think I needed at the very least to hold on to something familiar as it felt like most things weren't.
I read and listened to a lot of Catholic answers during this time. I think I tried to figure out why there was so much of Mary in this church, and why it felt like there was a lot of apathy or lack of daily living of faith amongst the members of the Catholic church. That latter one makes me realize how pretentious and self-centered I was at this time, because I kind of thought everyone should be like me at this point. But I do think when you grow up protestant especially in small congregations, there is a difference in the way people approach their Faith. Its at lot more in your face and individualistic to each person, versus a collective whole made of many parts at many different stages in their faith walks. I almost feel like its a bit like praise music versus a hymn, in one it feels like a focus on how God relates to you, in the other its God being given to the whole in his greatness. I struggled with these for a while, and sometimes still can shy away from Marian devotion to this day. But with time more understanding came.
I remember visiting a friend out of state, in the summer, and going to her Baptist church. And it was a fine service. But somewhere in the middle, it kind of hit me that something was missing, not even that I was Catholic at this point, there was still the better half of the year to go, but just I could sense something was missing, the Eucharist. Its funny, because I don't even think I understand transubstantiation at this point, but because there was no outward sign of Jesus, there was also a difference in how everything played out. I think this was the point where I knew I had to be Catholic, there was no turning back. I needed this more, this Jesus in the Eucharist. Jesus was calling me to him.
I don't know when I actually shared that this was my decision, but it was met with a lot of flack, a lot. And I cried a lot at the hurtful words and just felt really isolated a lot of times between where I was and where I was going. There were however a few key people from my pre-Catholic decision days that stuck by me that were beacons of light amongst the darkness. People I still feel like I can share my heart with even though we haven't made all the same life decisions, and overtime walk away feeling respected and loved. I am so thankful for these people because for one they gave me a greater sense of family and two they oddly helped me to recognize more truth within the Catholic faith.
One of these people was a friend who sent me a Baptist ministers take on Theology of the Body. And while one would think that perhaps this guy would hate it, he actually didn't instead he loved it and he was pretty great at relating it to someone like me who had these Protestant roots, but needed this truth found within Catholicism. Honestly, for the first time I felt like I as a woman was dignified and that I wasn't a lost cause as I thought before. I didn't have to hate being a woman, or make my identity as someone who was a victim but could show with my body, with me being me of God's love. Being a woman wasn't just my reproductivity or my lady parts, but was so much more powerful than that. I so needed that.
Part 4 can be found here.
Part 1 can be found here.