Sometimes I envy converts to Catholicism. I grew up in the church, and while I attended CCD and then Parochial school, I basically stood in line as far as my faith life goes. I wasn’t challenged to explore my faith, so it wasn’t the “Come to Jesus” on fire-ness that converts get when they are asked about their new found faith.
This resulted in quite a few times in my adult life that I’ve drifted away from Catholicism. I’ve always come back, but something just seemed missing. I’ve been to megachurches where everyone is your best friend, they serve some awesome coffee concoctions, and Biblical knowledge rolled off my peers’ tongues. I went to Episcopalian services that were eerily close to my Catholic home. But when I sat back and thought where I truly, TRULY felt God and His Loving presence, it was right where I started- Catholicism.
So with that, I needed to arm myself and really study what I believe. I came back (this time) with the attitude that I need to have the hunger for knowledge my converted fellow Catholics seem to have gained so easily.
Along the way, I’ve found some really awesome resources:
1. Catholic Answers: This is a vast jem of information, especially in apologetics. Almost every answer I’ve ever had (or had been asked) can be found here. True to most Online Forums, people can get snarky with their answers, even uncharitable, but over all it’s what I go to if I have a question.
2. Rome Sweet Home/ Scott Hahn. I live in the Bible Belt. Protestantism is king here, and to hear about a Presbyterian minister that became one of the most prolific apologists is amazing; it’s usually the other way around! I only just finished this book, but it was so good I’m going into it again with my highlighter.
3. Conversion Diary (Jennifer Fulwiler). This blog is so invaluable. Mrs. Fulwiler was raised an athiest, but came to Christ. Not that any atheist coming to Jesus isn’t cause for celebration and thanksgiving, but for her to jump right into Catholicism… that’s nothing but God! One of her statements has stuck with me- denominations keep splintering, but the Catholic Church, in 2000 years, has never done that, regardless of scandal. (paraphrased)
4. EWTN. Only since moving back to my hometown are we able to get EWTN on tv, their website is just as useful. There is shopping, prayers for every need, and even a forum, which isn’t as vast as Catholic Answers, it may have something else you’re looking for the answer to.
5. Fulton Sheen. Gone home to Christ a few months after I was born, Archbishop Sheen brought it down to the laity so anyone can grasp this beautiful faith tradition. His insight and expression is lyrical, his TV persona a little magician meets Vincent Price, but he knew the faith, and he presented it well.
6. Introduction to the Devout Life. This might be a bit much for new Catholics to handle. But it’s very much about how to balance faith and your life outside the church doors. Everyone can be a devout monk/nun while in church, but what happens when you’re at work? Or in line at the grocery store? One of the best books I’ve read about deepening your faith life thus far.
My journey isn’t done yet. I don’t think it ever is for someone trying to foster a living (“practicing”) faith life. And it’s a good thing- it keeps perspective to the richness of our Catholic faith.
What are some of your favorite resources?
Erin Phillips is a multi-tasking mom of 2 school aged children, a freelance photographer, Martha Stewart wannabe and a Roller Derby Girl. She writes about her faith, crafts and all things derby at her blog Gentle and Quiet Spirit.