Monthly Archives: February 2013

Why I Became Catholic

The short answer to that question is merely, “Because I was supposed to.” That’s really the best answer I have. Until I was 18, I faithfully attended a Baptist church, but as I entered adulthood, I had been burned and while I said I was open to finding a new church, I certainly wasn’t looking. No, no, instead, I was out looking for love in all the worst places, as if I were trying to prepare the most scandalous confession ever. At this time I was very curious about other denominations, but there was one I was definitely not going anywhere near: the Catholic Church. At the same time, I was undeniably drawn to the beauty of the Church. Not the inner beauty, mind you, the outer beauty, but I certainly wouldn’t admit to it.

IMG_8985When I was 23, I moved to Norman, OK to start a new life for myself. I was still in my wilderness years, but I had taken my wild behavior down a notch or twenty, and while I prayed a 30 second prayer every night, I made no move to find a church or really do anything. That’s right: I was the dreaded “more spiritual than religious.”

Things started to change on April 2, 2005, the day that Bl. John Paul II passed from this world. I had been in Norman for a month, and was still in training at my new job at a call center. I was getting some coffee in the break room when one of my trainers walked in. I immediately went into shameless flirting mode.

Me: He-eey: How are you doing? *big, flirty smile*

Mr. Hottie: *obviously down in the dumps* Oh, I’m alright. It’s my birthday.

Me: Oh? Well, Happy Birthday! You have any big plans? *please say you want to go out and celebrate tonight but you have no one to go with you*

Mr. Hottie: Nah, it just sucks because the pope died today.

Me: *slightly horrified* Oh… Well… Are you Catholic or something?

Mr. Hottie: No,… but,… you know. It’s the pope.

At which point he walked off, downtrodden. I was so confused. I had seen in the news that Pope John Paul II had passed away, but I had pushed the story aside. What did it matter to me or the rest of the world that wasn’t Catholic?

Two years and five days later, April 7, 2007, Mr. Hottie (who is better known as Mr. Scottie-too-hottie, my darling husband) and I were confirmed in the Catholic Church at the Easter vigil.

How did that happen?

Scott’s sister had converted a year or two before, and her husband is a cradle Catholic. Through his sister, Scott had been to Mass a few times, and a few weeks after we started dating, in November 2005, we attended a Mass together.

My first Mass was awkward of course! I wasn’t sure what I was doing–sit, stand, sit, stand, kneel! I was absolutely enthralled. The Creed, the choir, the columns–I had never seen anything like it before. If I had been asked to explain it, I would have said it was a conversation between God and His people. I didn’t know any of the words, but I longed to recite the Creed, and sing the Gloria. There was one part of the Mass I was able to participate in, however, and that was kneeling during the Liturgy of the Eucharist. It was so good and so right to kneel before Almighty God. Of course, I didn’t believe in the true presence and I wouldn’t for for some time, but my soul felt it and was at rest. I don’t know how to convince someone to accept Catholicism, because I didn’t convert to an argument or a theory or a dogma. I converted to 10 minutes a week where I could kneel before God and be at peace, and at home.

As we were leaving, an older woman stopped Scott and I as we were leaving and exclaimed, “I just love a Mass!” I smiled at her and nodded, barely acknowledging her, but in my heart, I couldn’t have agreed with her more! That day, I knew I’d come home. It would take a lot of time for me to be able to admit to it, though!

For the next year, Scott and I went to Mass off and on, but neither of us was comfortable with admitting our love for the Church. We also attended services at a Baptist church and a Methodist church, but we weren’t ready to commit to anything just yet. After we got engaged the following August, we realized we would have to become members of a church  so that we would have a place to get married. After a heartfelt one-on-one, we agreed that we were both the most comfortable with the Methodist church. Scott’s parents are Methodist, as is his mother’s entire family, and my grandmother was, too, so it felt like the most logical route. Just like that, our decision was made: we were going to be Methodist.

A few weeks later, we started RCIA at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church without any further discussion.

I know, I know. That has got to be the worst conversion story ever. No fanfare, no big moral dilemma that came down to the wire. There was this little tug inside me, and once I got a taste of the Mass, it pulled me the rest of the way. Don’t get me wrong, I had some major issues; all the usual Protestant fare: Mary, the Saints, the Eucharist, and such, but none of my qualms were any match for the longing I felt for the Mass. To be perfectly honest, blind faith is not like me at all, and I have the unfortunate heart of a skeptic. However, I was given this gift of grace through my conversion that pulled me through for the simple reason that this is where I was meant to be. For that, I am literally eternally grateful.

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Categories: Chasing After God, On a personal note... | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol 20


Yes, I’m running awfully late on this–it’s been a heck of a week!

1: Behind the Times

I use Chrome web browser at work because our work computers are currently still on Windows XP (nope, not joking). If you’re familiar with Chrome, you know that it gives you little mini screen-shots of your favorite pages so you can easily point to the one you want to visit next. What’s wrong with that. Well, the WordPress screen shot is from February 1, as evidenced by Simcha’s post in my feed. Pinterest updated yesterday, Facebook updated yesterday, based on the low number of digits on my checking account, I’d say that was week before last, around Tuesday, and Amazon offered to let me watch Downton Abbey for $Too.much about 2 or 3 weeks ago. OpenHouse OK and Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible don’t really update their home pages, so they’re all pretty current. Except Google. There in the upper left corner is Google, with a screen shot from HALLOWEEN!!! HALLOWEEN!!!! It was a haunted house interactive animation, and it was just as cute as it could be, but it’s LENT!!! Good grief, even Valentine’s has passed! HALLLOWEEN!!!! It’s been driving me crazy since the week before Thanksgiving!

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#firstworldproblems

2: Mmmmm, mmmmmm, LENT!

I was absolutely delighted to see this pop up on Pinterest a few days ago.

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Ever since we converted, my eyes have been opened to the “silent Lent” marketing campaigns that crop up everywhere this time of year. Well, either they’re catering to Catholics or they just happened to bring out a limited-time-only fish sandwich just in time for Lent. It’s nice to see an old ad where they just come out and say it: We want you to buy this because it’s Lent!

The pea soup is wonderful, by the by.

3: Andy is Dandy!

This week, I have discovered that I love and adore Andy Warhol! After seeing that wonderful Lent ad for Campbell’s Soup, I started looking for more, and, of course, Andy’s paintings of soup cans came up. I’ve seen them a million times before, but never gave them much thought before. After looking at some of the paintings, I Googled something along the lines of “What was up with Andy Warhol and all the soup paintings?” and discovered that there are several different tales as to why he painted soup cans over and over again. The one I believe is the simplest: he ate soup for lunch every day and had the cans laying around, so he started sketching and then painting them. I love it!

One more word about this topic and I’ll move onto something more irrational: If you haven’t read Bad Catholic’s piece on Andy Warhol, you need to go read it right meow!

4: I Keep Getting Crazier

I’ve been seeing a lot of knitting stuff on Pinterest lately, and knitting in general does not bother me. It’s “arm knitting” that’s driving me crazy. Maybe it’s part of my claustrophobia, but the thought…*gasp*…..of tying yarn around my arms….*gasp*….and trying….*gasp*….no, no, no, no, NO!!!!!!! Don’t get me wrong, the finished products look great, but, but,….I just can’t.

5: How is Lent Going?23ksubb

BAD. I’m not freaking out about swapping my smartphone out for a flip phone. Really not at all. It’s such a minor inconvenience, I’m upset with myself for feeling like I need a smartphone to begin with. Other than that…well, I’ve been saying my rosary almost every night. However, I’ve hit some major interference, which is certainly to be expected. Ash Wednesday, I was flying high, and spent the entire evening in prayer and study. A week later, I was as low as the dust and spent the entire evening sobbing and crying and praying that God would send me to a hermitage, anything to take me away from the constant attacks that were suddenly coming at me from every angle.

I was ready to give up altogether, but then I remembered something from Sunday’s Gospel Reading:

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil.  

–Luke 4:1

Jesus was led into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Not to tie-dye Easter eggs or work on His novel. Not for quiet reflection and meditation. To be tempted, to struggle, and to overcome. The same thing happens to us. If I’m downtrodden, it’s time to get on my knees. That’s been hard to do when all I want to do is curl up in bed, for, oh, FOREVER, but quitting won’t get you anywhere.

I fully intend to dive much deeper into this topic in a later post. Stay tuned. Worried about the quality of such a post? Share your thoughts in the comments or email me at patronsaintofindecisiveness@gmail.com and give me a hand!

6: Pintastic!

I’ve gone a little pin crazy lately. I’ve cleaned our microfiber couches with rubbing alcohol (the slight odor that goes away in 15-20 minutes is suffocating and lasts at least 12 hours, but the couches look great), made homemade “febreze,” which I am obsessed with spraying on the couches, and cleaned all my jewelry with a homemade solution in a foil-lined bowl. Turns out, I don’t need a new crucifix after all! The old one was just covered in Rebecca grease–ew!

7: Vatican II, Actually

For my final take, I’m going to simply link up to Pope Benedict XVI’s intimate and unscripted talk about Vatican II. It’s much better than anything I could say!

If you haven’t made it over to Conversion Diary, please stop by for more (and more timely) quick takes!

Categories: 7 Quick Takes Friday | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Meatless Friday: Bean and Spinach Soup

For Lent, I’ve decided to feature a meatless recipe on my blog once a week. I may continue throughout the rest of the year since we’re doing meatless Friday every week now.

For my first pick, I chose a soup. I absolutely adore soup. It’s the perfect lunch, as far as I’m concerned, and it makes a darn good dinner, too. I originally found a similar recipe on Pinterest, but this is my own version of it. I like to make a large pot, then spoon it up into Ziploc bowls and freeze it so I have it on hand. So much tastier (and healthier) than buying canned soups with all that sodium!

Ingredients

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4 cups chicken broth (I use Wyler’s reduced sodium bouillon)
1 cup water
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can Great Northern beans
1/2 cup cooked rice
1/2 cup finely chopped onion 
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon salt (I use kosher salt because it’s cooler)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
1 teaspoon garlic salt
4 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach 
Finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Now, I used about twice as much rice as that when I made it and ended up with twice as much rice as I wanted. Also, I didn’t measure any of the seasonings, I just sprinkled and tasted until it was good. I suggest you do the same.

So, off we go.

First, you want to cook your onions in just a smidge of olive oil.

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Once that’s done, dump in your beans, tomatoes, and chicken broth. And yes, chicken broth is okay.

Now, for the seasonings.

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This is where it starts to smell just divine! Once you’ve got your seasonings where you want them, let it simmer for about 20 minutes. This would be a good time to cook your rice and chop up your spinach.

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After your soup has had a chance to simmer, stir in your rice and spinach and let it cook for about 5 minutes longer. It’s important not to put the rice in until the very end because it will split and take on a funky texture if it cooks too long!

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Don’t worry if it seems like too much spinach. Once it starts to cook, it shrinks up real fast!

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Now, spoon it up, sprinkle on a little Parmesan cheese and enjoy! This is very similar to a pasta e fagioli without meat, and with rice instead of noodles. Delicious, but not decadent, and a wonderful pick for a Lenten lunch or supper.

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Just remember, it’s Lent: Only one bowl!

 

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7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol 19: 7 Quick Prayers

 

Rosary

“Return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning.”    

–Joel 2:12


I earnestly believe that the most important thing we can do for Lent, especially in light of what is happening in the Church and in the world, is to increase our time in prayer. It is our most powerful weapon, but I think it’s also our most undervalued one as well. So, instead of any more babbling from me, here are 7 quick prayers for Lent days and every day!

 

1: Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host –
by the Divine Power of God –
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.

2: Oh My Jesus (Fatima Prayer)

Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins,
Save us from the fires of Hell
lead all souls to Heaven,
especially those most in need of thy mercy.

3: Divine Mercy Closing Prayer

Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless
and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, 
look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us,
that in difficult moments we might not despair,
nor become despondent, 
but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will,
which is Love and Mercy itself.

4: The Jesus Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, son of God,
have mercy on me, a sinner.

5: Instrument of Peace

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
when there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand,
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

6: The Magnificat

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.

7: Prayer to St. Maximillian Kolbe

Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe, your life of love and labor for souls
was sacrificed amid the horrors of a concentration camp
and hastened to its end by an injection of a deadly drug.
Look with compassion upon ___________________
who is now entrapped in addiction to drugs
and whom we now recommend to your powerful intercession.
Having offered your own life to preserve that of a family man,
we turn to you with trust, confident that you will understand and help.
Obtain for us the grace never to withhold our love and understanding,
nor to fail in persevering prayer that the enslaving bonds of addiction
may be broken and that full health and freedom may be restored to him / her whom we love.
We will never cease to be grateful to God who has helped us
and heard your prayer for us. 

 

There you have it. 6 pretty general prayers and 1 very specific. When I was quitting smoking, St. Maximilian seemed determined to be my patron for addiction, and lately, I’ve just felt that I needed to pass him on to someone else.

Be sure to head over to Conversion Diary for more quick takes!

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St. Michael, Defend Us in Battle

Saturday evening, my sister-in-law and I went to Walmart together, and while we were there, we rummaged through the prayer candles on display. We rolled our eyes at the “Lucky Lotto” candle, and gasped in joy when we found a Fatima candle–then rooted around until we found  another so we could each have one. I ended up with the Fatima candle (I’ve been researching and praying because of my long-time issues with disbelieving apparitions) and the St. Michael candle, just because. Monday, after Pope Benedict’s announcement, and the ensuing press storm, I felt myself praying, “St. Michael, defend us in battle” over and over again and wishing I knew the rest of the prayer by heart.

As part of my research into apparitions, I purchased a Lighthouse CD on Fatima by Fr. Jason Brooks, which I started listening to in the car on Saturday and finished up last night on my way home from the store. At the very end, Fr. Brooks recited the St. Michael prayer, which sent a chill up my spine and reaffirmed that this is a prayer that needs to be said right now!

 

Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel001

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host –
by the Divine Power of God –
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.

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