Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ten Years A Catholic

   

Today marks the ten year anniversary of our return to the Catholic faith after spending most of our adult life as devout evangelical Protestants.  I have been pondering what to write about for some time knowing this anniversary was approaching. I'm still scratching my head wondering how to summarize our experience of living our lives as Catholic Christians these past ten years.  I think it will be easiest to say that it was the best decision, by God's grace, we have ever made for our lives here and beyond. 
    The graces we have experienced through the sacraments, the intercessions of our new friends- the saints, and the beautiful devotions of Catholic life have truly been life-changing and wonderful.
We have both felt closer to the Lord and have had a desire to share Him with others in a way that we had never experienced as Protestant Christians. As our first pope exhorted the early Church, we too have been more empowered to  "sanctify the Lord Christ in our hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh us a reason of that hope which is in us."  
    Our growing devotion and love for the saints, especially  the one "who all generations will call blessed" has not diminished our love for God, but quite the contrary. Discovering the immeasurable congregation of righteous people interceding for us to run the race with virtue and holiness has been priceless. Studying the lives of those who loved God with all their heart, mind and soul has been such a great joy.
    We are so thankful for the recent opportunity to take a pilgrimage to Italy to pray at the tombs of Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Saint Catherine of Siena, Saint Pio, Saint Francis of Assisi and the newest saints- John the 23rd and Pope John Paul 2. Being in Rome and walking in the steps of so many saints and sinners was overwhelming and affirming at the same time. Seeing the physical and historical evidence of the Church started by Christ himself was truly amazing for us. Learning more about our salvation history by reading almost 2000 years of the writings of the Church fathers, saints, popes, theologians and mystics has helped us develop a profound respect and awe for this Church built upon the one who received the keys from the Lord himself.
   Yet, the journey over the past ten years has not been without its difficulties and disappointments. I still grieve over the loss of close friends who simply disappeared "off the radar" of our lives upon hearing of our return to the Church or those who stayed in touch  to condemn and criticize us.  I am saddened to discover those Catholics within the Church who are essentially still "protestant", criticizing the popes and magisterium sowing discord and distrust in this very Church who Christ promised to always lead in all truth. (This applies to "progressives" as well as to some, not all, of those who would call themselves "traditional Catholics.")
   Would I ever go back across the Tiber? No, I would not, I could not.  In the words of my much better half:  "I could not live without the Sacraments....because they bring me Jesus."

4 Comments:

Anonymous Nancy said...

I could say almost the exact same thing myself. Congratulations and God bless you.

April 30, 2014 8:07 AM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

thanks Nancy! God bless you as well!

April 30, 2014 8:36 AM  
Blogger Supertradmum said...

Congratulations to you both and God bless.

April 30, 2014 9:43 PM  
Blogger owen swain said...

Dear Russ, I am sorry I missed this post on the day-off. God bless you.

"The graces we have experienced through the sacraments, the intercessions of our new friends- the saints, and the beautiful devotions of Catholic life have truly been life-changing and wonderful."

This adult convert, of 8 years, agrees. That's it. Would we, could we ever go back across the Tiber? No, we couldn't either. As I sometimes say, being a Christian ruined me for anything else and our Eucharistic Lord has ruined me for being anything other than a Catholic Christians; tbtG.

I shared your beautiful song, Mary Untier of Knots with a family member and then later online. It was just the balm. Thanks for all you do, seen and unseen. God bless you and Deborah.

May 01, 2014 4:11 PM  

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