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Beauty and The Beast: A convert's story about Catholicism

Over recent decades, I've navigated a journey of engagement with the Catholic Church, attending services yet remaining on the periphery due to not having completed all the rites. At 45, I seized the opportunity to fully immerse myself in the faith, sharing my experiences and absorbing the varied reactions of my peers. While some express enthusiasm, others voice their concerns, pointing to the historical atrocities committed by some within the Church and the cover-ups that followed. It's undeniable; such beastly actions are indefensible and deeply troubling.

Yet, I find myself pondering – do these grievous actions diminish the sanctity of the Eucharist? Can they erase the profound beauty of the sacrifices made by countless martyrs who laid down their lives for their beliefs? What of the tireless work of Saint Teresa of Calcutta and other saints? And what about the foundational sacrifices of Jesus and his disciples? Should their legacy be disregarded entirely?

For some, the answer is a resounding yes. The weight of the Church's misdeeds prompts them to sever ties, taking their support elsewhere as a form of protest. This, I understand; I too have walked away from a faith community, leaving behind the non-denominational Christianity of my youth. Such departures send a potent message, advocating for change from within when voices are otherwise ignored. I stand by this principle.

So, why my conversion? The allure for me lies in the beauty, the mystery, and the profound spiritual experience Catholicism offers. Outside its embrace, I encountered a void – a life filled with stress and devoid of coping mechanisms, where turning to God was no longer an option. My spiritual journey led me through various religions, yet nothing felt complete. It was akin to anticipating a delicious cake at a party, only to find it tasteless, lacking the essential sweetness.

My conversion to Catholicism felt like a homecoming, possibly reconnecting with a part of my soul that had always belonged there. To those apprehensive about conversion, I argue that presence, vigilance, and advocacy are crucial for enacting necessary changes from within. The Catholic Church is making strides towards inclusivity, notably in its stance on LGBTQ rights and the acceptance of scientific understanding, setting a precedent for other Christian denominations.

Yet, the journey is far from over. Continuous effort is needed to foster a truly safe and welcoming environment for all. My decision to return is not about activism; it's about returning home to a faith that resonates deeply with me. I look forward to connecting with the spiritual community and advocating for positive change as challenges arise.

If you're drawn to the ancient rites and rituals of Catholicism and seek to experience the divine presence alongside a welcoming community, I invite you to join me. Let's embrace the inclusive spirit of our faith, where everyone is welcome at the table. Stay tuned for my next blog post, where I'll delve into the theme of inclusivity within the Church. "Come to the Table" of Eucharistic Worship.

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