“Mom, I want to be Catholic.”
A lie, of course. I didn’t want to be Catholic. I still don’t. But I have to. There’s no getting around it.
Let me explain.
Becoming Catholic means confessing that you, as an individual, aren’t the final arbiter of Truth. It means submitting to an earthly authority that, on the surface, is just a bunch of guys in big hats (but is really so much more).
Becoming Catholic is a terrible inconvenience, and I can assure you, I tried to get around it. But, at the end of the day, I realized that in my readings of Catholic doctrine, something true, true on an incredibly deep level, shouted out to me.
And, if you believe something is true, then you’re going to want to be a part of it, no matter how hard or inconvenient it is.
I didn’t want to be Catholic.
I didn’t want to submit myself to anything but my own personal interpretation of Sacred Scripture. The Bishops? Forget it. Christ Himself? Sure. His Church? Never.
I still don’t want to be Catholic, on one level. It’s so, so hard, all the time. We are called to be perfect, and that perfection- and imperfection- is a very tangible thing, something to be grasped, and when we fall, let go.
But, on every other level, everything about me that is good and pure and (becoming) Holy wants to be Catholic more than anything else in the entire universe. I want to be forgiven in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I want to receive Our Lord in the Eucharist. I want my Baptism to mean something real. I want to mirror Christ in the Sacrament of Holy Orders or Marriage (depending on where I am called). I want to receive the Holy Spirit in Confirmation. And, at the end of my life, I want to run, full throttle, with everything my soul can muster, into the arms of God, to rest in perfect love for eternity.
Everything about me that is selfish and sinful and broken, the parts of me that show themselves far too often- those are the parts of me that want nothing more than to go on the way I was, believing what I want, feeling the love of God without any sacrifice. But that isn’t who I really am. I really am a child of God, astray for a time, but heading Home now.