Have you read stories about people who convert to the Catholic faith and never look back, never question or doubt their decision to embrace the Church, the Lord, Jesus, Mary and all the Saints? So have I and they are wonderful stories.
But, they aren’t my story.
A couple of years after entering the Catholic church I went through a period of doubt and fell back into my old pre-Christian life. My father had died, you see. My unbaptized, unbelieving father had contracted pancreatic cancer and died 6 weeks later. I worried he would be going to hell and I thought it was unfair. He was a good man for the most part who took care of his family and friends. Why should he be punished?
The other problem was that my new husband, stepson and I had just moved to a new city 325 miles away from my church and all my new Catholic friends. Rather than search out a priest in our new city, I did what I always do; I tried to figure it out myself. I couldn’t, of course, because I’m not a theologian and I simply didn’t know enough about these things. I thought I did. I always think I do. But, I didn’t, and as a result, I stopped going to church and gave up on the idea of being Catholic.
Fortunately, God didn’t give up on me. He never does. Which is a very good thing because I’m a stubborn, independent old woman who spent the first 49 years of my life solely dependent on myself for my wants and needs because nobody else would step up and do what needed to be done. The idea of trusting God to know my father’s heart better than I possibly could never once occurred to me. I’ve been burned by people I trusted to often in my life to trust anyone, including God.
It would take another twelve years of doubt and struggle for that to happen.
So, here I am, your atypical convert, more in love with the church, God, Jesus, Mary and all the saints than ever and struggling every day to put my faith and trust where it belongs–with God.