Yesterday I went to Confession, and right before I went into the Confessional I realized that for the last month since becoming Catholic and the months of preparation beforehand, I have been very secretive with my friends about my decision because I know many of them are very against the Catholic Church. Indeed, some of them do not even know yet. God pinched my heart and I realized that after all that I have learned in the past about sharing my faith, I was wimping out by shying away from being open about my faith with my friends.
I went in, confessed, did my penance, and thanked God for the grace to start anew. I stayed for Mass and I felt God’s presence more fully. As I biked back I didn’t really think that God would force me into acknowledging my faith anytime soon, but the first two people I ran into were two of my friends from Crusade who have gone on the record in the past for their anti-Catholic sentiment. “Where are you coming from?” was the question ringing in my ear. A week ago I would have said, “Oh, just out for a bike ride” but come on, it was freezing, they wouldn’t believe it, so I told them, “I just came back from Mass.” They didn’t say anything about it, but I had shared my faith, made it clear that I am Catholic and doing my best to not be a nominal one.
About an hour later I was out with my Bible study at Qdoba and one of my attendees says, “So Norm, how come you never go to Cru anymore?” Uh….pretty sure a piece of my burrito fell out of my mouth. I didn’t want to discuss it there, so I said, “How about we talk about it later?” So we got lunch today and another one of my friends ate with us and I told him the abridged version of my conversion story and why I do not go to Cru any longer. I did my best to emphasize, too, my belief that the fullness of the Gospel is found within the Catholic Church. I could see in his face that he didn’t think I had made the right decision, but it was the same look I had a ten months ago whenever someone told me that the Catholic Church had the fullness of the Gospel, and now look at my face, humbled before the Lord, united with the Holy Apostolic Catholic Church.
The other friend who ate with us has heard my story and is very supportive of my decision, but I think it was good for her to hear it again. I think that the more people hear my story and see that indeed the Catholic faith has done something to truly change me and give me a deeper sense of purpose, the more likely they will be to seek out answers. And that is key. They have to seek out answers. I can explain the faith all I want, but for many of them, it is the exploration they do of their own volition that will soften their hearts without me breathing down their necks. It is my hope, that they will grow curious, explore, and find Christ in more magnificence than they ever thought imaginable. I hope that they will come to me with questions and that the Spirit will speak through me.
Regardless of the looks on their faces, a seed has been sown today. Glory to the Lord!