Last night I talked at length about my state of mind leading up to my conversion, and the arguments and evidence that convinced me (video linked at the bottom of this page), but I failed to mention an extremely important part of my conversion story.
By the time I got around to actually attending RCIA and converting, I was thoroughly convinced of the truth of Catholicism, but it was almost entirely an intellectual assent. I had no real conversion of heart, no turning from sin, no seeking God in prayer, no bearing fruit in my life. I was just convinced that Catholicism was true, the same as saying the world is round or 2+2=4. It had no real ramifications on my life, it was just me following the truth where it led, without realizing that the Truth is a person.
My approach was the same that could be said of someone studying history or physics, there were text books and important places and things, but it was all academic and not lived.
I could quote sections of canon law and cite the catechism all day long, but I wasn’t really any different than when I started; I was bearing no fruit. This doesn’t mean that laws and rules are bad. Not in the least! What would baseball be like if the runner could just run home and score from first base without touching second and third? Or imagine soccer where you could punch the goaltender in the face before kicking the ball into the net. Without rules life is chaotic, and we need rules in our church and our lives, but canon law divorced from the giver of all laws is an empty shell. The catechism without Christ is of no gain.
This all changed for me at some point in RCIA during Lent. I didn’t have a Road to Damascus moment and the sky didn’t split open for me to see God face to face, it wasn’t even a one time event, but during Lent that year I experienced Jesus Christ in the Liturgy like I never had before. I became immediately aware that I wasn’t learning about and growing closer to a system of beliefs, I was getting to know a person. A person who knew me before He created me, a person who wants us to know Him and spend all eternity with Him. A person who laid down His life so that we could live.
And as Catholics we have the great advantage of receiving His glorified Body and Blood at every Mass. Don’t receive this grace in vain, take advantage of this blessing and grow to know him, like you’d grow to know your newlywed spouse. Spend time with Him in prayer, scripture reading, adoration and liturgy.
The Catholic Church is Christ’s Body extended into this world, without Him at our center we are just a social club.
If you are Catholic and haven’t come to this realization, there’s no time like the present. Make Jesus the center of your life. You’ll never be the same.
“It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is He who reads in your heart your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle.”
Saint John Paul II
Christ is what all this is about. Christ is the answer.