I am reading this book called The Catholic Mystique, a compilation of women's conversion stories to the Catholic faith. I have read about eight or so, and so far it is pretty good. Each woman has a different background. Some were Lutheran, some were atheists, some were priests or pastors of other Christian churches. For most of them, they struggled with the lack of strong historical doctrine to back up their faith, or pervasive moral relativism, and kept looking for that truth and doctrinal continuity found in the Catholic Church.
Rosalind Moss, who was born and raised a Jew, has an interesting perspective. She "loved being Jewish" and was shocked when her brother announced he was becoming a Christian. He told her about 'Jews for Jesus'. These believers introduced her to Christ: about how Jesus is the new Messiah, who became the sacrificial lamb. So, she became a Christian. Her brother, who is very close to her, called her one day, saying:
"'Ros, something's wrong. I believe the Bible is the Word of God and, as such, infallible. But how is it that so many men, pastors who love God, who study the word of God in humility and sincerity and with all the tools of biblical interpretation, come out with such different understandings of Scripture- and in such crucial areas? If Christ established His Church on earth and left us His Word, wouldn't He have left us a way to know what He meant by what He said?'
'Yes, David, but we see through a glass dimly. One day we'll know as we are known. For now, we simply do the best we can.'
David didn't buy it. He said that Christ had prayed that we would be one as He and the Father are one. How could He have established His Church on earth and left us to the confusion of thousands of denominations, with new ones budding almost daily?"
David, who became Catholic, introduced her to apologetics, especially a tape of Scott Hahn debating a Presbyterian theologian. Near the end, Hahn affirmed that if you "look into the claims of the Catholic Church- two thousand years of Church history, the Church Fathers, and the rest- you will experience a 'holy shock and a glorious amazement' to find that that Church, the very Church you might have been battling to save people from, is the very Church that Christ established on earth two thousand years ago."
Ros first read every Protestant work against the Catholic Church "in the hope of being rescued from ever becoming Catholic."
"It was obvious the Protestant writers were not fighting the Catholic Church, but rather what they thought the Catholic Church taught.
I left no stone unturned: Scripture, Tradition, the papacy, apostolic succession, the communion of saints, purgatory, every issue concerning Mary, the sacramental nature of the Church, the Mass, and above all, the Eucharist."
She "found what was true" and visited a Catholic Church again, where she experienced God's love and the fulfillment of her heritage.
"The readings from Scripture that night were very familiar to me, but amazingly, so were the prayers offered in the Mass:
'Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation.
Through Your goodness we have this bread to offer,
which earth has given and human hands have made.
It will become the Bread of Life.'
"Could it be? I thought back to the Sabbath prayers of our Jewish home:
'Baruch ata Adonai Elohenu Melech haOlam hamotzi lechem min ha'aretz.
(Blessed art Thou, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe,
who brings forth bread from the earth.)'
"'I came,' Jesus said, 'not to abolish but to fulfill.' Here was the Living Bread to which every lamb and every grain of manna pointed. A mere symbol would not be the fulfillment of such Old Testament types. Christ alone was the One to which every sign pointed. The Eucharist was not symbolic, but Christ Himself."
Ros's story was interesting to me because I don't completely get the continuity between the Old Testament and the new. Rosalind's experience helped clarify this and it was interesting reading why people come into the Church. It gives perspective on things I take for granted because I have grown up with it. I am excited about reading more!