November 19, 2012

advice for a convert

Last night I was tickled pink to get an email from my old Eureka College friend, Beth.  We were English majors together and, though she was infinately more sophisticated and cool than I was, we bonded over Wilco and books and became friends.  I was thrilled - thrilled, I tell you! - when she told me that tonight she begins RCIA classes to convert to Catholicism. 

Beth asked if I would pray for her and if I had any advice to share.  I responded with five bits o' wisdom and a promise to carry her as an intention, but I wondered if you good folk would join me.

Would you also, please, say a prayer for Beth?

And what advice would you give her?  You can read my list below, but what would you add? 

1 - Ask questions if you don't understand and rely on the Catechism. Sometimes well intentioned Catholics don't understand the faith well or sometimes we just can't explain it well. If we give you an answer that seems kind of wonky look it up in the Catechism for clarification.
2 - Attend Adoration - even if it's just for 5 minutes. Our belief in the Eucharist is THE most important part of our faith - make sure you embrace it AND have a real love for Christ.
3 - Embrace the Church's teachings on sexuality - and therefore NFP (natural family planning) - if you haven't already. It can be a real sonofabitch but if you understand what the Church teaches about sex then you'll understand what it teaches about marriage, masturbation, procreation, divorce, etc. But don't just "understand" it - embrace it, live it out with charity and joy.
4 - Know that satan is very real and he will try to attack you during your conversion and probably soon after. A lot of converts lose faith shortly after Easter Vigil and I'm certain it's because of satan. Be prepared for that. I will pray for you.
5 - Lastly, take advantage of the Church's teaching on redemptive suffering. I swear, I don't know how people who aren't Catholic handle the bad stuff in life without it. Redemptive Suffering makes so much sense and it truly makes the yoke easy, the burden light.

Now it's your turn!  Head to the comment box to congratulate and welcome Beth and then share a bit of advice with her!

And don't forget to pray for her!  Thanks, friends!

And Beth, this is for you:


  1. Ask our Lord to show you the patron saint of your journey. The communion of saints are incredible but there are definitely ones that have leading roles in our lives! Prayers your way, Beth! Take heart and gird your loin-ettes! ;)

  2. Can I just agree with #4? Mentors will betray you. Parish groups will exclude you. You will definitely feel like you are being "tested". Yes go to Adoration when you can and get a daily devotional of some kind to strengthen you every single day!

  3. I can personally attest to #4 during my "re-version."

    I whole-heartedly agree with #2, but I would recommend starting with just a little time, and/or bringing some reading material in with you. I've heard from many people that it can be intimidating when you first start spending time with the Blessed Sacrament.

    I would also recommend reading -- saints, Matthew Kelly has some good introductions into Catholicism, Scott Hahn is very accessible. I personally love Letters to a Young Catholic by George Wiegel. Any books explaining salvation history (right now I can only think of the Great Adventure Bible studies). And of course, the Bible! The more I read, the more I understood the depth of the Truth.

    Prayers for you, Beth!

  4. This may not pertain to everyone, but I think for many converts and reverts it does. Don't let the guilt, regret, anger, and sadness of your past keep you from your future. Allow God's mercy to wash over you, seep into you, and fill you with love and grace. Look forward to your new life in Him! Also, pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy!

  5. I thought about this question a lot today. Not sure why, but (not being) a convert or re-vert, I still relate to your "steps" and can relate to this journey of being a faithful Christian/Catholic. It's what we do- all of us. Continue on, keep pressing ahead, fail and pick ourselves back up again. Because we acknowledge truth in our decision to stay and truth in our decision to fall in love (with the Lord and His Church) no matter what ailments come our way (see #4).

    I would say the biggest piece of advice for anyone coming into the Church or remaining in the to have a relationship with Jesus' Mother. I know this is a tricky one for many people. It was even tricky for me being a cradle Catholic during my college days. Truth be told though, many of the people I've talked to (and worked with) through the years have been completely changed in their faith and in their relationship with our Lord through the support of Mama Mary. There's a lot of comfort and support in her graces. ALSO, there are so many sweet and simple voices of information out there that allow her to be seen as she should be: beautiful, holy and full of desire to bring you to her Son. much to say on this topic. So many resources!!! All in all, that's my biggest foreign and difficult as it may be at first.

  6. Your list is really good, Bonnie. I would also encourage Beth to not shy away from sharing her knowledge, regardless of the faith tradition developed. For example, I became a better Catholic when a former evangelical colleague pressed and questioned me, sometimes even challenged our practices and teachings. She knew her stuff, particularly when it came to Scripture, and she planted seeds in my heart, too. Fast forward several years, I had a similar experience as you. My former colleague sent an email to tell me she was in RCIA! Looking back, her questions weren't to poke holes in Catholicism; she was on her journey Home! I pray Beth will lead others Home as well.

  7. Such a good post and good comments - wish I had this when I was in the RCIA process. I guess I would reiterate that it's important to learn about the Faith through accurate sources - my RCIA director and my priest told me birth control is okay! I would suggest praying to Mary. And I would suggest attending daily Mass. I was blessed to meet a small group of little old men and women who attend nearly daily. They were so welcoming, they answered questions I had, offered encouragement, prayed for me and my family, and have celebrated at every important event for our family. They threw a surprise party when my husband and I married in the church, things like that. They are definitely served (and currently serve) as St Michael's warriors! I'll be praying for Beth!

  8. My husband and I converted to Catholicism in college after many years as Evangelicals, and the thing that really cemented my decision to become Catholic was reading Humane Vitae--it was such an eye opener to me and is so relevant, even after 50+ years. I also second the advice to read as many edifying Catholic authors and blogs (especially this one!) as possible. Attempting to live as a faithful Catholic can be very isolating at times, and it is so nice to be reminded that you aren't crazy and you arent alone.