It began quietly, probably more years ago than I realize but the momentum changed noticeably when I got in touch with a childhood who I hadn’t seen for many years. We had dinner and, I think from that moment, all hope of keeping my feet planted firmly on the other side of the Tiber vanished. I battled valiantly for about five years but finally admitted defeat.
After I met with my priest for my first confession (a fate I really wanted to avoid), I walked into our new church, sat in a pew, and let out a long sigh as I felt the release of burdens long carried.
That was the word that came to me as I sat there in the cool, quiet of an empty church. But it wasn’t empty. Christ was there with me as were the prayers of the saints. It was a quiet murmur, something I’ve found has been a companion in my prayer life ever since. When you have the company of the saints in prayer, it’s never really quiet. But it’s always peaceful.
I had never considered there was a deep truth to the sense of “Coming Home” so often mentioned by converts. But there it was, unlooked for. Not asked for. It was just there.
But in those few moments of quiet, I knew it all down deep in my bones. Prayer comes to me more easily than I ever thought it would. Confession, though I still sometimes avoid it out of my own sense of failure, is a greater blessing than I could have imagined.
There is only one Church. We have all failed Christ and his Bride. From you, to the parishioner in the pew in front of you to the priest saying mass. We are all sinners. I have no doubt there are hard times ahead, no doubt at all. But how could I even think of facing those times without the Church that has lasted through all the hard times before?
Still she stands.
I will never leave. I will stay and defend her. This is my home.