“You should pick up these books when you have a chance,” the priest said. “No rush,” he said.
I would like to thank God, the unquenchable thirst for knowledge that He provides, and my good friends at Thrift Books.
In other news, I’ve officially begun RCIA and I fear I’m the most vocal of my class. But that just means they’ll spend the next six months listening to me ramble about how awesome God is.
Six months? Indeed. My confirmation date is already on the calendar. Not that it has to be this coming year, but it’s most likely since I’m already a baptized Christian. It doesn’t seem possible. But when God says to get moving, you get moving. When He pushes you toward His intentions, you let yourself be pushed.
He’s provided glimpses of my role in the Church. He’s eager for me to get moving, to be a part of this, because He has so many plans for me. For years I’ve wondered what I’m supposed to be doing, and how I can help Him. But it wasn’t until I was in the right place—not even there yet, but still moving toward it—that His plans could be revealed. I don’t know details. I laugh when I consider the possibilities, because they’re nothing like what I’d planned for myself. But my plans are nothing. He laughs at my plans. His are so much grander, and they can only be fulfilled through His church.
When the priest learns you’re a reader (basically by trade), you’re in trouble. You can almost see the list of books scrolling through his mind at that moment, not wanting to bombard you with too much right away. Even though you would read that endless list of books. (Don’t tell him I said that. Not yet…)
After narrowing down the endless options—and after the Bible itself—he offered Scott & Kimberly Hahn’s Rome Sweet Home. A conversion story? Of course I’m going to be into this, doubly so because they were previously anti-Catholic, Bible-thumping Evangelicals.
We love telling our conversion stories. We love sharing how “stupid” we were, or the depths of our grief before coming to God. And we love hearing them, too, because it brings a sense of pride. Here are our friends, finally learning the truth. But I’m reading this book, and I’m also laughing. Because each conversion story is different, with the spectrum of human experience and emotion, but they’re also all the same.
future convert: Let me share this awesome discovery I made!
Catholic friend: …that is literally what the Church teaches.
future convert: NO IT’S NOT
I’m only halfway through this book. I haven’t even reached their conversion yet. But I’m already so into this. Because it’s their unique story, with all their unique doubts and struggles… but it’s also so, so familiar.
I picked up this book several months ago. I was determined to learn the real, unbiased truth, outside the filter of any denomination, an actual historical account of my own faith. If I’m going to follow a church, I’m going to follow one that has roots in Jesus’s teachings. In one that spawned from his direct command. So I asked my sister, a newly-achieved Ph.D. of theology, what I should read. “A loaded question,” she replied, and then linked me to this 400-page tome.
I bought the book, and it sat on my coffee table for a month before I finally opened it.
It’s good. It’s factual without being overwhelming, and it’s presented in a way that’s easy for this non-theologian to understand. But it’s also overwhelming. Because I want to understand all of it. I want to know what happened after the canon of the Gospels. These are the things I often wondered, never considering that the history had actually been recorded. And that I’d be able to learn it.
Obviously history had been recorded in some sense. But from my Bible-only religious education, it didn’t seem feasible that there was anything after the Bible.
Until, of course, I started to look.