Jealous of Catholics
I was jealous of Catholics.
I saw the nuns across the road at the Catholic school when I was in fourth grade. Recess at Lincoln Elementary coincided with recess at St. Patricks. I wanted to go to that school. I wanted to have a nun for a teacher.
When we used to shop in Rochester, Minnesota, I would see the nuns with the flying-nun-habit. I wanted to be a nun and wear that. When I had the tonsillectomy at the age of eleven, there was a very young and very kind nun-nurse. She also made me want to be a nun – though we never talked about faith or God or anything spiritual. She smiled a lot and talked softly when my throat hurt like crazy. Her hands felt like they might heal you. And when she called me sunshine, I was sure she was one of God’s favorites.
Catholics had big families. Something in the way they were as a family appealed to me. The older brothers and sisters got to be mini-moms and mini-dads to their little brothers and sisters. And the younger ones had built-in champions on the playground and the school bus.
In high school, the good-looking boys were all Catholic. So there was that.
But their theology didn’t appeal to me. It didn’t make sense.
They worshipped Mary. (I thought.)
They worshipped Saints. (I also thought.)
They tried to earn salvation. (I was told.)
They made stuff up that wasn’t biblical at all. (I was also told.)
And they had a guy in Rome who was a little like Simon Says. (And I believed they did whatever he told them to do.)
And then, I discovered the Eucharist. I think they called what happened to me . . . infused grace. I read John 6 and I knew it was true. If Jesus Christ was making an appearance at Mass, I had to get there. I had to be there. I had to let His Presence wash over me.
There is no more compelling motivation for becoming Catholic and digging in to find out what Catholics really believe than the truth of the Real Presence.
So they had nuns. That’s nice. What mattered was they had Jesus’ Body and Blood.
So they had big families. Kind of neat. What mattered was they had the Real Presence.
So they had cute boys. I’d long gotten over all those crushes. What mattered now was Jesus and only Jesus.
And when you fall in love with Him, He sets all the misconceptions about His Church in order.
One-by-one the perceived red flags disappeared. They didn’t worship Mary. They didn’t worship the Saints. They believed they were saved by grace which led to faith and good works. They didn’t make up stuff. And the man in Rome – well, I had seen enough Christian division to know that God might want a Vicar on Earth to shepherd the flock. The entire faith was organic. It fit together like the parts of one body.
The Body of Christ.
I’m not jealous anymore. I’m thankful.