The Rite of Acceptance
I have endeavored often along this journey to make a moral and spiritual conversion as well as an intellectual one. I have tried to remember often along the way that I do not exist for the sake of myself. I do not exist to make Christianity my own.
One cannot apprehend Christ, we can only be apprehended by Him. Any system that places Christ at my disposal or the Church at my whim is a flawed system.
I have left behind a system of religion that compelled me to invent a religion and spirituality on my own. I have left behind a system of religion that was exciting yet, incomplete. I have in the end left behind nothing, but gained everything. Christianity makes no sense apart from the fullness of faith found in the Catholic Church. The entire story of Christianity, from beginning to end is being told by the Catholic Church.
I have left my rebellion, in order to finally come home. Just like the prodigal son, every Protestant out there has asked for his entire inheritance and then spent it chasing vanities, be they relevance, good feelings, prophecies, the supremacy of a certain interpretation of scripture, the right to have a faith that agrees with me. All of these are vanity.
So I took the first step. Hearing the Church like John the Baptist calling out in the desert. I heard the call to repentance, and decided to enter into full communion. This process has been going on three years, and I have become overjoyed at my journey. The rite itself was beautiful, the church was lit, the faithful were there, packing every pew, our priest was smiling and overjoyed. The one catechumen and all the candidates were all prepared to make a public confession of the faith, and so we did. With Kassie at my right hand, and Kassie’s Godfather behind me with his hand on my shoulder we entered the Church. It seemed somehow more illuminated, more imbued with holy light.
In that Church, I felt again the majesty of The Roman Catholic Church, I felt the grandeur of the Church which Christ has founded and established upon the testimony of the apostles. Oh and I picked a patron saint on Monday.
My newly elected Patron has this to say about Rome:
For, from the descent of the Incarnate Word amongst us, all the churches in every part of the world have held the greatest Church alone to be their base and foundation, seeing that, according to the promise of Christ Our Savior, the gates of hell will never prevail against her, that she has the keys of the orthodox confession and right faith in Him, that she opens the true and exclusive religion to such men as approach with piety, and she shuts up and locks every heretical mouth which speaks against the Most High. (St. Maximus the Confessor, Opuscula theologica et polemica, Migne, Patr. Graec. vol. 90)
Am I sure about my journey? No. I’m not sure that this is the right move, but if I were to wait for certainty I should never leave my seat. Historically every church has held that Rome has the orthodox confession, that she has the Keys to the Kingdom which are given over to Peter. I have read testimony after testimony to the praise and glory of the Roman Catholic Church from Church fathers and contemporary converts. I feel compelled by faith, and by the desire to serve Christ, I feel that this is the right thing to do. Am I certain? only as certain as I am that my girlfriend cherishes and loves me. I cannot prove it, but I know it. My certainty is subjective, in other words, it’s faith. It is certain that it is uncertain, it’s objectivity is nothing but subjectively grasped, and it continues to prove itself to me as the right decision, over and over, because of the infallible concreteness of Dogma, because of the ever more gloriously radiating presence of Christ.
In the course of studies and a many nights reading the testimonies of the saints I find myself pressed with the conclusion that Rome alone has the True proclamation, for it has never ceased, and never changed. I have come to the conclusion that this is maybe the most dangerous adventure I have ever embarked on. Yet I have come to one conclusion: “If we are intended for great ends, we are called to great hazards.” says Bl. John Henry Newman who himself was a convert. I agree. This is indeed a great hazard, i gave up my church, my people, my protestant heritage, and much more, but the greatest end of all has come to me, Christ Himself, embodied daily before me in the Eucharist.
I do not think that the Roman congregation is perfect, but were I to wait for perfection, I should never be satisfied. I have decided to act on what has been given to us, and what has been given to us is NOT the reformation, but the apostles. I refuse to treat the reformation as some do, as a new dispensation of grace. I refuse to believe the gospel was lost for 1400 years before a deranged monk decided to act on his own whim.
The world in all its fullness could not possibly recreate the majesty of Rome to me. Her ancient faith, and her continued testament to the rightness and otherworldliness of the Truth is inspiring. I sought to find a congregation that truly reflected what it means to be “not of this world,” and only Rome made sense. Only a Christianity that could not have been invented by me, or my local pastor is worth following. Dogma, real objective rules for Christianity make sense. Personal feelings, spirituality without history, or trying to convince people that certain events in the life of Jesus make sense and appeal to us because they are simply exemplary make no sense. Dogma is the only thing that makes sense of all of Christian history from Christ through the apostles and middle ages until today.
As I sat fighting back tears, the Church welcomed me, it was simply indescribable. Kassie’s godfather smiled down at me, mostly because he’s really tall, but partly because he was welcoming me into the Church. The light that filled the place and myself was otherworldly, it was fantastic. I loved it.
I am an honorary Catholic until Easter, or to put it another way, I’m practically Catholic, which is why I named the blog thus. Not because I actually talk about anything practical, but because I’ve been almost Catholic for three years now. Anyways, it was an amazingly beautiful rite, and anyone who wants to know what the Church is all about should visit a rite such as that one. The Church loves me, her rite of welcoming acceptance has told me so.