Our story begins just as another one is ending, as it often seems to be the case.
I was away from home, attending college during the summer, trying to get a leg up on my schoolwork. If I could get organic chemistry out of the way, I would graduate sooner than expected. I was doing above average, which is saying something if you’ve ever had the misfortune of taking organic chemistry with a professor that leaves to go to a conference halfway during the semester.
It was finals week and I had an entire week of review ahead of me. I got on my bicycle and began to ride to class as I had done for well over a year now. However, I would never make it to class that day.
Instead I would be struck by a hit and run driver and left to bleed out on the sidewalk. No one stopped to help. No one called me an ambulance. People actually drove around my unconscious body in order to get into a parking lot (If you are wondering how I know that they did so, the parking lot was full after I regained consciousness whereas before it was empty.).
Long story short, I suffered some injuries that took over four years from which to recover.
What does all this have to do with the Catholic Church?
Well, during what seemed the longest part of this four-year period, I was able to do little aside from sit or lay in the dark and reflect. I’ll admit, I had a lot to think about after what had happened to me.
I had some fundamental questions about God and even for God should He exist. Why should that happen to me? Was I not a good and just person? Aren’t there plenty of other people who might have more deserved to be hit by car than me? What then of all of the bystanders who looked on and did nothing or even drove around me? What kind of society do we live in where such atrocities can occur while bystanders just stand there and watch? Understandably, I grew bitter and resented my fellow man and yet, it was during this, one of the darkest places in my life, that God seemed to reach out and give my life something that had been missing for years.
After I gave my anger and bitterness a time to fester, I began to wonder about bigger things. I could have easily died and yet, I did not. Why? I had always said that it would have taken an act of God to stop me from finishing my engineering degree. What greater thing could God have in store for me especially now that all of my life and plans were in ruins? I had lost my scholarships and my confidence in my ability of returning to school by this point.
I needed to recover and climb out of that funk that I had been flung into on that hot summer day. More than anything else I needed order and structure to both my daily activities and to everything that was going on in my mind. I thought to myself, “Who is known for their order, serenity, and purpose?” Monks! And so I got to looking and researching online. I found the divine office and began to pray that. It wasn’t like I was doing much else those days and I needed something to structure my days and keep me up and moving.
After a few months of the divine office, I added more devotions. I quickly found myself reading the daily mass readings, and saying the Rosary and Chaplet of St Michael. I soon fell in love with all that the Catholic church had to offer.
Things finally made sense. It was like I had been looking for this all my life but had never been able to grasp it until this point. As a priest would later tell me, I was just looking for a place where I would be fed. This was home, this was where I would be fed.
Why I Have Not Yet Joined the Roman Catholic Church
Years have passed since my personal revelation and yet I still have not gone through RCIA and joined the Catholic church. A person might ask why. This is a good question, a question I try to avoid as much as possible around people as its answer is messy.
The short answer is my family is the reason why I have not yet joined. This answer tends to baffle most people and does a great injustice to everyone involved.
Let me explain. My family, namely my parents, are against my joining. They are not for any theological reasons but because of the poor example of “bad Catholics” who don’t understand their faith or do it right. This is the kind of thing you can’t really argue against beyond saying that these are obnoxious outliers and should be ignored when thinking about the entire denomination. In any case, that is their reason.
People sometimes object and say, “But aren’t you an adult and can legally do what you please?” While this is true, it is also true that I love my parents and until I graduate from college and get a job, I am financially dependent upon them. In short, I have to still live with them.
True, sometimes I feel like the guy who wanted to bury his father before following Christ (Matthew 8:21-22) or the guy who couldn’t get rid of his material possessions to follow Christ (Matthew 19:16-26) but at these times I tell myself that I am doing this out of love. I am trying to respect my father and my mother (Exodus 20:12) and I am still holding out hope that they might eventually see the light as I did and join too someday. Also, it is important to remember that it isn’t like I am not still following Christ. Perhaps I might be doing so more effectively as a Roman Catholic but I am still a baptized Christian.
The hope for them joining with me or at some point is real too! At the beginning of this Lenten season, a large number of friends and various family members began to ask me about the Rosary. I loved their interest and seeing that it wasn’t a fleeting thing, I decided to make them some (This was cheaper than buying such a large amount and being handmade meant more I think.). My parents even asked for one. The most miraculous thing I think was when I caught my dad saying a Hail Mary when he thought no one was watching.
If they decide to not join though, I plan on joining once I am out and on my own. This will be in one or two years from now but in the meantime, I go to mass every chance I get. In a few weeks, I should be able to start attending Eucharistic Adoration, which I am excited about.
That is the story behind how I became Interested in the Roman Catholic church and the my reasoning behind not joining yet.
As always, God Bless!