Thursday, September 08, 2011
By Edie Loughmiller, Guest Blogger
There were three key factors that brought me into the Catholic Church nine years ago. The first and most compelling was simply that Mary Won My Heart. As a protestant, my choice of church generally was based upon whether or not I could feel the Holy Spirit at work in worship and at Bible study, filling my lamp with oil to keep me going in my daily life. Generally, I was disappointed in this quest. Then, a friend from work invited me to RCIA, giving me an opportunity to learn about the Catholic Church. At the time, I felt like nothing else was helping me spiritually, and that I should certainly give it a try. After I learned from other Catholics about the apparitions of Mary at Fatima and Lourdes, I began to say the Rosary. To my surprise, the Holy Spirit filled my heart as I was giving my heart to the Blessed Mother in prayer and meditation. I discovered quite a secret – that in loving Mary, I was placing myself directly within the flow of Love that exists between the members of the Holy Trinity and the Blessed Mother. In loving her, I was upheld by God the Father, who loved her and chose her to be the mother of His Son; I was doing the will of Jesus, who loves His mother with such great tenderness; and most of all, I could feel how pleased the Holy Spirit was to join me in the outpouring of love to His Most Holy Spouse. So, I would offer her my heart in prayer, and there I would find the happiness in the Spirit of God that I had been seeking.
The second was that the The Catechism and the Writings of the Saints Won My Mind. During the years that I had been a protestant, I found great peace in reading the Scriptures, but struggled with many of the things I read. I had read through the entire Bible, and was especially familiar with the key scriptures in the New Testament. But, implementing what I read in my daily life seemed impossible. This was complicated further because each protestant church I attended had different interpretations, and would often twist the meanings of various verses to fit into those interpretations. What a thrilling surprise it was when I discovered the clarity and consistency within the Catechism and the writings of the Saints. I discovered that many of the protestant theories to which I had been exposed where actually the continuation of old heresies that had been around from the early days of the Church. So, now whenever I read the Bible, or listen to it on CD, I am happy and comfortable. Thanks to the clear interpretations that have come forward from the Early Fathers and the Saints, forming a Catechism that conforms completely with the Scriptures, I no longer struggle like I used to. And, when I come across a difficult passage, I pull out the Catechism or check the footnotes in a good Catholic study Bible, and feel an inward joy that I no longer face that old struggle with the Holy Bible.
The third is probably unique to me and to converts like myself. During my RCIA period, I visited a church where the Latin Mass was offered and fell in love with it. Now that I live in Western Kansas, I have to travel hundreds of miles on a Sunday to get to a Latin Mass, but it is worth it to me. Since I love the writings of the Saints, I get special joy in going to the ancient Mass that they also attended during their lifetimes. It fills my heart and soul with a very special peace, a very holy oil for my lamp that makes a tremendous difference in the quality of life for me.
~ copyright Edie Loughmiller, September, 2011