All Roads Really Do Lead to Rome

As you will read in this blog, my journey of faith has been a bumpy one.  Like many Christians I’ve felt displaced and detached, confused about my own beliefs and unsure where to find answers.  I realize, however, that all I have experienced spiritually throughout my life has served as a stepping stone to where I stand today.

I was raised Southern Baptist, but the older I got, the more out of place I began to feel.   During youth services, retreats, Sunday mornings, and Wednesday nights I would just watch the worship leader passionately sing contemporary worship songs as everyone else closed their eyes, raised their hands, and swayed to the music. They always seemed to be having a legitimate connection with the Holy Spirit — and I felt nothing.  I knew something was missing from my life, but I didn’t know where to turn to find it.

I abandoned the Baptist church at about the age of 16, and for a short time I even lost my faith in the existence of God. That didn’t last long, as I always felt that SOMETHING had to exist. I tried during my last year of high school to re-insert myself back into the Baptist church, but it just didn’t work. I was a triangle trying to fit myself into a square hole. So, I marched off to college a spiritually-free agent.

During college, I explored my faith through other means. I studied Trancendentalism, Humanism, etc.  Often times, I put my faith on the back burner so I could run freely through the secular world. Despite everything, I always held on to a fragmented belief in God and Christ, but ceased to give it any real thought.

Towards the end of my college career, everything changed in a matter of weeks.

My parents divorced, shattering all of my beliefs about love and commitment. A week later, my long-time girlfriend ended our relationship. I was completely lost, and even though I had every reason to turn away from God, I didn’t.  Instead, somehow I turned TO God.

I remember sitting on my porch shortly after everything happened — chain smoking cigarettes and drinking an absurdly strong alcoholic beverage — while one of my best friends talked to me, saying anything he could to comfort me. I remember exactly what I said to him that night, because as I would soon find out, it was profoundly true.

“I feel like God is taking everything away from me.” I said.  “As if he’s removing all distractions so that he can put something new in front of me.”

After allowing me a grace period to mope and cope with my sorrows, God snapped his fingers and got my attention.

Enter Lindsay — the woman with whom I would spend the rest of my life.

You’ll never be able to convince me that Lindsay came into my life by chance. This was the work of God. I know that as surely as I breathe. Not only did Lindsay revitalize my faith in love and marriage, she also brought hope to every facet of my life.

It wasn’t just joy and happiness that Lindsay gave me. She (inadvertently) opened the door to a path of faith that I had never considered before. A path that would lead me to a place where I would finally be able to see God’s plan for my life.

You see, Lindsay is a Roman Catholic Christian.

At that time in my life all ll I knew about Catholicism I had learned from Protestants.  Catholics did this, Catholics did that.  Of course, I’d never discussed religion with a real Catholic before.

By the time Lindsay and I started dating seriously I had already begun to take a fresh look at my faith, exploring it on a much deeper and personal level.  Given my “free agent” status, and the fact that Lindsay and I were to be married by a Catholic priest, I decided to explore the Roman Catholic faith and see for myself what this business was all about.

At first, Mass was a little foreign to me. There was no praise and worship band, no red-faced minister pounding the pulpit, no politics, no call to the altar, nothing that resembled church the way I’d come to know it. The tradition, combined with the reverence, made me feel as though I were worshipping in the same style as the early Church fathers.

After regular weekly attendance, I began to experience something I’d never felt before — a sense of community that had been absent in the past — and more importantly, for the first time, I began to feel a tinge of the Holy Spirit truly move through me.

Lindsay and I had seriously discussed our differences in denomination before we were married. She made it clear to me that she wasn’t going to try and force me into the faith. I still had some unanswered questions and reservations about various aspects of Catholic dogma. Nevertheless, I felt pulled towards the Church, and decided to trust that God would provide me with the answers. It was on my one-year wedding anniversary when I decided to become Catholic. Other than marrying Lindsay, this has been the best decision I’ve ever made for myself.

Which brings us to the present.

Since I began to study my faith, and truly allow God control over my life, I’ve felt an incredibly strong calling to ministry. Obviously, priesthood is out of the question.  However, I feel that my love for writing is the perfect medium to spread the message of Christ.

Now a full member of the Catholic Church, my plan is to use this blog to chronicle my new life as a Roman Catholic, and in doing so, work my way into Catholic apologetics and lay-theological/philosophical writing. I look forward to the revelations that lie ahead, and I hope that you, the reader, will accompany me on my journey of faith.

Peace be with you.

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