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Sometimes, God Gives Us The Prayer

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I found a manuscript I wrote in 2000. I was a Protestant back then, and the manuscript is something my dad and I were working on. I abandoned the project after Dad died. The other day, I found the envelope with the manuscript inside it. I thumbed through the pages and found an excerpt that seemed almost prophetic. Keep in mind that I wasn’t Catholic in 2000. I had never even considered becoming Catholic. My journey didn’t begin until my father passed away . . . and you probably know how that story turned out. But, here’s a glimpse into my world – three years before the conversion began:

I’m blessed to be part of a family that has birthed numerous preachers, teachers, missionaries and evangelists, but that legacy makes it harder to bear when I feel estranged from God. I’ve been on my knees and felt as though my prayers were bouncing off the walls and ricocheting around the room. I’ve cried like one who has lost a loved one, believing my intimacy with God was just a figment of my imagination, wondering if there was anything I still believed about Jesus. Was there more to my faith than an inheritance from my parents and grandparents? Or was my faith like a deed to a house that I’d inherited, an edifice I had never built or lived in? Where does learned-faith give way to real faith? How do I arrive at a fresh faith despite the generations that have preceded me in that faith? Where is the absolute certainty that I believe because I believe and not because Mom and Dad do? How does one find a spiritual mountain her parents have never seen . . . an altar that’s hers alone? What does she do when all the verses are worn out? When all the sermons sound the same? When her faith feels like a box of hand-me-downs? Can a person empty herself of all the years that came before – to encounter Jesus for the first time, with fascination, need, thanksgiving, reverence, and awe?

I want to know you, Lord. I want to become an orphan for just a moment in time, so that I can be adopted into your family, so that my faith can become my own. I want to introduce you to others as my closest friend, not merely a friend of the family. I want to stand on your holy mountain, taking in the view with my own eyes, feeling the Spirit’s wind blow over me, confident that I’m not living vicariously through another.

I wrote this in 2000.

Dad died in 2003.

I entered the Catholic Church in 2005.

Between 2005-2013, I have shared the story of my conversion and on-going conversion with 50 diocesan papers.

Sometimes, God gives us a prayer we barely understand in order to prepare our hearts to receive all that He wants to give us. Thanks be to God. He has answered that prayer in a super-abundant way.

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