My Protestant family is sure they are going to Heaven. They feel sorry for me because I no longer have the take-it-to-the-bank confidence that I will shoot to Heaven like a dart when I die.
If I die tonight, I think I’m ready, but it depends on a merciful Lord and my complete abandonment to — well, everything.
I wonder, sometimes, what it will be like for some Protestants who face that moment of Truth.
Let’s say the Catholic Church is correct (and I believe that it is). If so, Jesus will introduce them to His Mother as the Immaculate Conception.
Will they be horrified at that?
Jesus will introduce them to the Saints. “Here are some of my dear friends. St. Padre Pio. He had the stigmata.”
Will they doubt such signs and wonders and say oh, no. We don’t believe in that.
Jesus will look with love upon other residents of Heaven. “And this is St. Maximilian Kolbe and St. Louis de Montfort. St. Francis Xavier. Pope St. John Paul II.”
Will they turn in disgust and say, oh, no, not a pope. That can’t be. And the writings of some of those Saints, don’t You think they loved Her a little too much and You not quite enough?
Will they hear the Litany of Saints being sung from Earth, the Church Militant at Mass, the prayers of the priests and question why the prayers are heard in the Heavens?
Will Jesus tell them that the Church He founded is and was the Catholic Church, but His mercy is so great that those, through no fault of their own were born and raised outside of the Church, might be saved as well, if they humbly receive Him?
Will they shudder at all of that and say no? If it all ends up being true, what will they do?
Will they say no? Will they reject one final time what they have firmly denied throughout their lives?
You see, I have noticed that Catholics, though often criticized as the arrogant and intractable ones, are actually quite humble and accepting of things that are difficult, teachings that are hard to swallow, morals that are hard to follow.
The ones who are far from malleable and compliant to the most difficult teachings are not Catholics.
Atheists. Agnostics. And yes, even Protestant are far more stiff-necked.
Perhaps you think I am wrong about Catholics. Perhaps you think I am wrong about Protestants. Perhaps you think Protestants have it right and Catholics have it wrong.
Faithful Catholics are taught to bow deeply. To fall to their knees. To remain docile to the Holy Spirit as the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity speaks to and through the Catholic Church. To repeat the Creed every week. To embrace unity in the Faith and always let the I-Me-My battle cry be wrestled to the ground.
They are familiar with the Cross.
They not only accept suffering, but they offer it up as a prayer.
They know the Church is timeless and are never addicted to their own culture’s version of Christianity, never clinging with their fingernails to a religion that fits one era over another.
They are pilgrims here.
And pilgrims hold loosely and are ready to abandon everything.
Some may think that I became spiritually arrogant when I converted. Perhaps it seems to be the case. But I have wrestled many preconceived ideas to the ground. I have needed a teachable spirit every step.
This conversion has been the most humbling experience of my life.
I’m not there yet, but Lord, I want to be.
I want to hear Him speak, and no matter what He says, I want to say, Amen.
So be it.