Conversion story

For the longest, I was indifferent to the reality of God. I never talked about Him, thought about Him, or prayed. By the time I was in the sixth grade, I believed to be an atheist was to face reality. I had not heard a more compelling or convincing argument to many existential questions I already had nor did I have a credible Christian witness around me to make me a believer.

Finally the real moment came. I don’t know precisely when I “converted.” Perhaps it was when I started to show up daily to Mass, or though not a Catholic, I was coordinating 24 hour Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, going to Bible Study every week with a priest-theologian, and explicitly had a Catholic spiritual director. I am not certain. I like to think of conversion as a moment of surrender when you stop fighting. I simply let go of all the moral and existential questions that were tormenting me and distancing me from God. I did not feel that I needed to know the answers to those questions, even though I desperately wanted to. God knew the answers and that was the point.

The real mystery of conversion, I think, is beyond the scope of psychology for one reason: the key ingredient is God’s divine providence. It is not simply a human change. We do not lift ourselves up, but are lifted up if we give a free and genuine “yes” to God’s invitation. No one can change for the greater good except by the grace of God. In the case of my own conversion, I think this theory is remarkably true. The providence, in fact, is a clear and impossible miracle.

I was conveniently ignorant of a multitude of things about the Church, even while surrounded by Catholics and even regularly asking priests and professors questions, I never thought to bring up or address these matters. Had I asked certain questions and gotten an orthodox response, I might have been confused, hurt, or even angered. More than likely, I would have not proceeded to become Catholic. This is the miracle of Divine Providence: mysteriously the arrangement of my free decisions and God’s activity in the world acted in unbelievable concert, as arbitrary my decisions seem at times as well those of others—others who both influence me and whom God is attempting to save in the same way. All this somehow played out magnificently, even if it is not noticeable at first glance. Complicated, I know. Let me explain further.

Today, I am easily an advocate of John Paul II’s “new feminism.” Previously, I was a “liberal feminist.” If I had known during my process of conversion, the Church’s stance on the ordination of women, that it not only was declared, but was, in fact, infallible and irreversible, and the fact that it was based largely on gender—being ignorant of metaphysics, ontology, sacramentality, and the nature of which our Lord instituted the priesthood—I would have likely dismissed such a teaching as “hypocritical doctrine” or some “injustice in the name of God.” The Lord knows what I would have called it and what it meant for my conversion, I cannot say would have been good.

Read more here (American Catholic website).