After I was saved, my whole world was upside down. The shift in worldview changed everything. God was manifestly real, and it seemed suddenly like the most obvious thing in the world. It imbued everything with significance. My life was suddenly not my own, and I was fine with that.
I truly enjoyed reading the Bible. I could feel God’s word jump off the page as if it were spoken to me particularly right in that moment.
The Lord changed my heart right away on so many things. I couldn’t argue my own ideas of right and wrong against God’s.
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Proverbs 14:12
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7
Whatever feats of logic we may use to justify behaviours are all meaningless nonsense before a Holy God. His “Because I say so” trumps our useless justifications. He is the Creator, and we were created to fulfill His purpose, not the other way around.
I suddenly believed in a Young Earth. I had never heard of such a thing as a Young Earth. I had accepted evolution as fact, but suddenly, I found Psalm 94:9:
He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?
This was no impersonal evolutionary force being described, but a Creator! I was amazed. I found ministries such as Answers in Genesis and CMI, and was stunned by how one-sided my education had been.
I had been going to Sunday Mass for years, but now I began getting up early and going to Daily Mass. I wanted God. I hungered and thirsted for Him.
The Catholic Church does not take the Bible literally. It was never meant to be a science textbook, the Church teaches, but a spiritual guidebook. But as I read it, I just knew that it was God’s Word. The Truth simply dripped off its pages.
Certain verses stuck out to me as in conflict with the Church. I attempted to do some research on the dogmas of the Catholic Church, so that I could know whether or not the Church was right. But I soon found myself over my head in heresies, Church Councils, and conclaves. I didn’t understand how to be sure about the Church’s teachings on Arianism, Nestorianism, Purgatory, Mariology.
Mary was a big concern to me. I would open my Bible and find verses like Jeremiah 7:18 :
The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger.
Why do Catholics call Mary the Queen of Heaven?
Or Luke 11:27-28 :
As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
If we were meant to venerate Mary, why would Jesus not have taken that as an opportune moment to tell us so?
I spoke about these concerns with a highly respected family member. She reassured me that Mary was supposed to be venerated, that Jesus wanted us to honour her, and recommended a book to me. The Mystical City of God, by Mary of Agreda. But when I read it, I became more disturbed than ever. This book set Mary up as a goddess. Created before the rest of creation, firstborn after the Son Himself, she was co-mediatrix and co-redemptrix with Christ.
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus
1 Timothy 2:5
I read Hail Holy Queen by Scott Hahn. His book, too, raised more questions than answers. He tells the reader that he has come upon his faith through research, but fails to cite any of his sources! I tried to take comfort in the fact that he was a Protestant minister who had the same concerns about Mary before he turned to Catholicism. His books state that he had gone through the same crisis I was now in, and had come to Catholicism after careful research. But none of his books sourced any of the research that he claimed to have done!
While I was disturbed by what I understood from the Bible, I had been raised to believe that the Bible could not be interpreted without the aid of the Church, and I knew that I must “trust in the Lord and lean not on [my] own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5). I was not going to take the position that I could possibly understand better than the whole Catholic Church.
In humility, I made a deal with God. A new liturgical year was beginning. I would spend that year in the Catholic Church, and trust Him to pull me out of it if it was wrong. After all, it was He who had placed me in a Catholic family, and I resolved to trust His judgment. If he wanted me out of the Catholic Church, He would just have to draw me out Himself, clearly and undeniably.
I cast all doubts aside, and leapt into the Catholic Church with both feet, praying and trusting that He would show me the truth throughout the liturgical year. I can remember my mother asking, “What if He doesn’t?” But I had no such doubt. He had shown me the truth about Himself and His Son, when I had finally humbled myself to ask Him. And I knew He would show me the truth about this, too.
Relieved to have resolved the issue for the time being, and delighted to be able to fellowship with my mother and other family members, it was no time at all before I had forgotten all of my concerns.
My second son was baptized in the spring, and soon afterwards my maternity leave was over, and I was back at work.
My husband lost his job, and we went down to one car. He started working a night job. He had the boys all day while I was at work, and then they would pick me up at 4:30pm, and we’d drop him off at 5pm. I’d feed the kids dinner, put them to bed, and my poor husband would jog home in the middle of the night. It was a busy, stressful time, but I look back on it now as a blessing. It’s funny. I didn’t know it then, but I think God was already working to keep my family together and my boys out of daycare.
He was still coming to church with me each Sunday, but he wasn’t a believer. He certainly wondered at the change in me. I just couldn’t get enough of Mass, the Bible, Communion. I was getting up early every morning and going to Daily Mass on my way to work. I even bought a Psalter and began keeping the Liturgy of the Hours. I joined the weekly Bible study at my church, and when it was going to be shut down for lack of a space, I offered my living room as a place to meet. I was hungry for God… and expecting our third child, a daughter.
I had forgotten all my doubts about the Catholic Church. I had set them aside at the beginning of the liturgical year, and stopped fretting about Mary, the saints, and papal infallibility. I was praying rosaries and doing devotions to saints. If I was reading my Bible less, well, I had a lot of other reading to do. The Catholic Catechism, the papal bulls. And then, just when I had gotten good and comfortable, just when I was no longer even thinking about issues with the Catholicism, just when I had all but forgotten my deal with God, the liturgical year came bumping to an end.