Sunday, March 2, 2008
a conversion story
This weekend I had the privilege of attending the Profession of Faith and First Holy Communion of a young woman entering the Catholic Church. My heart is eager to share the story, but words are hard to find.
The woman in question was baptized as a child, and has spent many of her 38 years around Catholics. But only recently her spiritual journey intensified, and she became convicted -- the Catholic church was to be her home.
Even though she had known Catholics for years, and had even worked in Catholic churches, she did not decide to join the church until now. As one of her sponsors, I felt justified in asking her a personal question. Why?
The answer is simple, compelling, and more than a bit frightening. When she answered me, in much simpler terms than I'm relating here, I thought of a story I'd heard about Ghandi. When asked why he didn't become a Christian, even though he felt unified with many Christian teachings, he shared that he would become a Christian if not for one thing -- Christians.
My friend joined the Church now for, happily, the very reason that Ghandi declined. Somehow, miraculously, she met some good people, developed some friendships, and learned that the Christian life, the call to the Catholic Church, is primarily about relationships.
I'm humbled that I was invited to accompany her on her journey into the church, and I'm in awe of the task before me. I want to be an excellent example, an honest teacher, and a wise friend. I want to mirror Christ for her. I want to be the Christian that would have made even Ghandi change his mind.
The truth is, I'm hardly up to it. I'm lazy and sinful and imperfect in my charity. I'm often a bad example of Christlike love, forgiveness and patience. But for my friend, I'm a sign, a gatepost, a guiding hand. Our relationship is imperative as she grows in her faith.
I told her the other day that our faith is really all about relationships -- our relationships with Jesus and with each other. I hope ours can be a relationship that does only good for her, one that points her directly to Christ.
Your heartfelt prayers are appreciated.