New Year’s Journey

New Year’s Journey January 4, 2015
Fog in Green Park, London. Photo: Neil Howard.
Fog in Green Park, London. Photo: Neil Howard.

There are times when I approach this monstrous topic, and this tiny blog, when I come here to write, and I wonder what in the world I’m doing.

This is a journey of fits and starts (and fits again). This blog is much the same.

In the spirit of being cordial I’ve tried, sometimes desperately, to explain what I’m thinking and why I’m thinking it. At times I’ve been uncharitable, that’s in my nature (unfortunately!), but I’ve tried my level best to be open, honest, and explain what I’m going through and why it’s so important. That’s been the goal of all of this, all this writing and rambling: to explain why I’m becoming Catholic, and what being Catholic really means.

See, what I’ve realized, as I’ve sojourned down this path, is that so much, and I’m talking ninety-percent, of the stuff that I believed about Catholicism has turned out to be false.

What I’ve learned about what the Catholic church actually teaches and believes has blown my mind.

Other times, I’ve meandered, and I think the meandering is important too. I know, and others have told me this, that the strength of a blog like this lies in its witness. I’m deeply, painfully aware of that. The static which these words make up will become more like a genuine signal if channeled through a real passion for Christ.

In other words, I can argue all I want about how sola scriptura doesn’t make sense to me, or explain to you what Catholics actually believe about the Lord’s Supper but if I’m not living, and writing, as a deeply passionate Christian it’ll be no better than a resounding gong, no?

I meander, I was saying, sometimes into the territory of debate and, dear readers, you’ll have to forgive that trespassing. (Sometimes I can’t help myself.) I do want to open up a debate, or rather a discussion, and I think it’s worthwhile at times but I hope that my yammering, or hammering, on a particular point or principle isn’t too tedious. I do want to write more about N.T. Wright’s argument from authority because what he says is so important to how I came to Catholicism. My journey routed right through the middle of what he wrestles with, and our conclusions are shockingly similar although, obviously, different as well.

I want to write more about sola scriptura and authority and tradition because those are things, in my journey, that I grappled with at length. I want to write more about those topics, and I will, but I also want to write more about my experiences tonight, at Mass, and my experiences as a Protestant, looking into the world of Catholics at Christmas.

And I want to explain to you, in breathless excitement, about more of the rich teachings of the Church. I want to cordially and concisely explain things that I’ve come to understand better, answers to questions I had as a Protestant about things like confession, purgatory, the saints, and communion.

At the core of everything I want to say, I want you to know how incredible what I have discovered is. I want to continue to explain, to friends, family, and to complete strangers, how I ever got on this bizarre rabbit trail, where I’m going, and how it’s just the most amazing thing.

How tonight, in Mass, the theological book-learning and the unchained passion of Christ just collide and how that’s the most awe-striking thing I can imagine. How a bell rings at the moment when the communion host becomes Christ—really Christ as Catholics believe—and how that same re-presentation of Christ’s crucifixion is the same re-presentation that Christ shared with the apostles, the same as is happening in Revelation, the same as is happening across the face of God’s green earth. How when that bell rings we are kneeling because, my Lord and my God, what else can we do? And how we sing the same songs that are sung by the saints as depicted in St. John’s aforementioned vision of Heaven. How we join with the saints and angels that are before God in our worship.

How when the priest does stuff he is doing it in place of Christ—he is like Christ offering us peace, raising up our prayers, asking God to bless us, and how that power has a root, and how that root is well-watered, and vibrant, and relevant two thousand years later.

This New Year is going to be a wacky one. I thank you, readers, for reading. I don’t always know who you are or what you’re thinking and it’s a shame, sometimes, that this is such a one-way street. I hope you forgive the mistakes I make, and when I misspeak. I hope you learn something or, in the least, unlearn something you thought you knew (I’ve been doing a lot of that). And I hope if you have a question, or something you’d like to hear about, that you get in touch.

I’m a serial blogger, by nature, and I have been for a very long time. This is the most natural way for me to process a crazy journey like this and even if no one is reading, even if I’m talking to myself, at least it’s pretty cheap therapy. Thank you for coming along.

Happy New Year.

God bless.

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  • JoyInTheLord

    So, was this your fourth Mass?