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Through the Eyes of a Convert

 

By Devin Rose

The greatest gift I ever received was becoming Catholic as a young adult. Because I lived for years without the faith, I deeply appreciate what a treasure it is and desire to pass it on to my children.

My first experience of the Catholic Mass was as a Baptist. I wanted to "see how these Catholics worshiped,” and since I already knew that Catholics believed in numerous unbiblical traditions, I expected the worst. But as the Mass proceeded and I listened to the opening prayers, the readings, and then the words of the liturgy of the Eucharist, I was dumbfounded because — being a good Baptist and knowing my Bible well — every single part of the Mass was directly out of Scripture!

Devin and Katie Rose

Devin and Katie Rose

My journey into the Catholic Church had begun, and less than a year later I became Catholic. What did I discover in the Catholic faith? Everything. Specifically, every good belief that I held as a Protestant Christian found its fulfillment in the Church. For instance, as a Baptist I believed that the Eucharist was merely a symbol of Jesus, but in becoming Catholic I accepted the Church’s teaching that Christ is really present in it (which is solidly biblical). Faithful Protestants want nothing more than to be in a deep relationship with Jesus, yet it was in the Catholic faith that I found the closest union possible in this life with our Lord, and I wanted to tell all of my Protestant friends about it! If they only knew the truth of the Real Presence, we would see droves of them lined up outside our Catholic parishes, begging to be let in.

The liturgical seasons were another inspiring revelation to me. Instead of Christmas and Easter getting a mere day apiece — the amount of time allotted to them at my Baptist church — in the Catholic Church those joyous events lasted for weeks on end. And as if that weren’t enough, sprinkled liberally throughout the Church’s calendar were daily memorials for the heroes of our faith, the saints, each of whom lived incredible lives of faithfulness to God.

Ever since my conversion, I have wanted my fellow Catholics to know that in their Church resides the fullness of the truth, that in the Catholic faith a richness and beauty exist which are unparalleled anywhere else in Christianity.

Because the Catholic Church is the Church that Christ founded, we as Catholic fathers have an even greater duty to instruct our children in the faith, to help them discover the splendor of the truth for themselves, and to lead them to Christ through his Church so that they can become the saints that God has created them to be.
 
How do we do it? Simple, we start with ourselves.

We cannot give to our children what we ourselves do not possess, so we begin wherever we are at. Sunday Mass and regular Confession are a must, obviously. Next, learn about Christ and the Church’s teachings by reading the Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or taking a class at your parish (even sitting in on RCIA). We don’t become saints overnight, so there’s no need to take up every Catholic devotion in the world; instead, just take up one devotion, like praying the Rosary. If the Rosary seems too long, as it sometimes does for me, pray it together with your wife or pray a single decade of it instead of the entire thing. If your Bible has dust on it from long neglect, start by reading the daily Mass readings, which takes no more than a few minutes.

If you are already further along in your faith, great! Push yourself to go deeper by taking part in a Bible study. Demonstrate your love of God through prayer, even simple ones before meals, and through a reverent attitude during Mass. Receive Jesus in the Eucharist, and your children will follow your example. Point out to them how the prayers and readings at Mass come directly from Scripture. One day they may be challenged by a Protestant holding up his Bible and declaring that the Mass is “idolatry.” They will know that the charge is false because of your instruction. Find out which saints your children are named for (or were confirmed with) and watch for those days on the Church’s calendar, then celebrate them in a special way. My wife and I found some inexpensive art posters depicting our sons’ patron saints, including a heroic one of Pope St. Leo the Great turning back Attila the Hun outside of Rome.

These small but powerful efforts of yours, aided by the grace of the Holy Spirit, will not fail to be effective in leading your children to Christ, in whose arms they will find their ultimate fulfillment and security.

Devin Rose is a 31-year-old software engineer and lay apologist who blogs at St. Joseph’s Vanguard. He and his wife, Katie, live with their four children in Austin, Texas.