The Vatican and the Tiber River
In the next few days I hope to write brief posts about key moments in my journey that pushed me over the edge.
I’ll begin by admitting that becoming Catholic is very difficult. For some, it entails for losing their jobs. It can cause deep marital strain and stress. Grown children don’t often understand. Friendships can be lost. It is very difficult. Anyone who tells you that entering the Catholic Church is easy is lying to you. Avoid that person. Even though it is difficult, I can recall a moment in which the call to Rome became firm. I was still an Episcopalian priest. I was in Rome. It was Feb. 2, 2006. I was at Holy Mass with Pope Benedict XVI. I won’t bore you with the details, but there I was. I was wearing a black cassock and I’m sure everyone thought I was a real Catholic priest (unless, of course, they noticed my blonde pregnant wife nearby). It was a beautiful Mass–the feast day of the Purification of Mary. When it came time for Holy Communion, I was devastated. I realized that the Pope was right there in front of me, but I could not receive the Eucharist.
At that moment everything in my soul felt contorted and out of whack. I knew that I should be Catholic. I wanted to be Catholic so badly. That was it. I knew that if I did not strive to enter the Catholic Church that I would never be happy and that I would be damned. I felt the sin of “schism” for the first time. In my soul, I realized that schism is just as horrid as murder, adultery, or rape. I realized schism was contrary to love and that I was part of schism. Worst of all, I felt that I was not enjoying all the gifts that Christ had given to us.
When I got home to Texas, I met with the Catholic bishop. The rest is history. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.
Look for more “journey notes” in the days to come.
This post first appeared at www.calledtocommunion.com