Saturday 15th December 2018

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Conversions To The Catholic Faith — A Gift From God

August 9, 2017 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By JAMES MONTI

Many Wanderer readers, I am sure, would concur with me in saying that there are few things more inspiring to read in Catholic literature than accounts of conversion to the faith. The spiritual journey of a convert has a miraculous wonder about it — that in many cases against seemingly impossible odds a man or woman of another religion or devoid of any religion at all should discover the path to truth and eternal bliss, perceiving the gentle invitations of God in the pages of a book, or in the grandeurs of nature, or in the beauty of fine art or music.
Most often a convert’s journey to the Catholic faith begins with an intellectual realization that the Catholic Church offers realistic answers to questions that their own religion fails to answer. Such was the experience of George Hare Patterson, a convert from Unitarianism:
“. . .My work as a missionary led me among the very poorest and distressed and vicious of mankind, and, in spite of many prepossessions and of deeply rooted convictions, I was made, after a while, to feel the absolute necessity of dogma. How to help poor struggling humanity in face of all the terrible problems of pain, sin, and death, without setting forth some objective truth, seemed to me to be a question pressing for solution” (G.H. Patterson, in Roads to Rome, being Personal Records of Some of the More Recent Converts to the Catholic Faith, London, Longmans, Green, and Co., 1901, pp. 185-186).
The completion of the divine work of Patterson’s conversion was wrought by the mysterious magnetic power that the Blessed Sacrament exercises even over those of other faiths who happen to step into a Catholic church:
“. . . I had a little daughter who, strange to relate, had received the grace of Catholic baptism. After four brief but very happy years, she was taken from me. After that — I could not have given a reason why — I often wandered into Catholic churches, for it seemed to me as though I was nearer to her there than in any other place on earth, and that He too was nearer to me there as the Father of consolation and of comfort. A deep sense of peace, the significance of which I could not then comprehend, at such times stole into my inmost soul” (ibid., p. 190).
Another convert tells how after he had gone from being a Fundamentalist Irish Protestant to being for a time a zealously anti-religious secularist, his life took a dramatic turn when as he was passing Brompton Oratory in London one Easter Monday he decided out of curiosity to stop into the church with his wife and his son:
“I had barely opened the door when I seemed to have entered the spiritual world. I felt myself encompassed by the Unseen, and an awful feeling took possession of me. . . . Then did I realize what was meant by the power of the Spirit, and I remained under its influence about an hour, unconsciously communing with that One Whom I had all my life rejected and despised . . . here at last was Peace” (anonymous account, in ibid., p. 173).
Having come to doubt the claims of Anglicanism, the famed English martyrologist Fr. Bede Camm, OSB (1864-1942) had informed himself of all the essential arguments in favor of the Catholic Church as the one true Church and had judged them to be valid, yet he still could not bring himself to overcome his anxieties about taking the final step into the Church. The moment of decision finally came when on vacation he knelt to pray in a monastic chapel:
“. . . I heard the brethren chant those words of the Credo: ‘Et unam sanctam Catholicam et Apostolicam Ecclesiam.’ And as they sang them the clouds rolled away from off my soul, and the light of faith shone on it once for all” (Fr. Bede Camm, in ibid., p. 32).
Looking back upon this experience, Fr. Camm reiterates what other converts have affirmed, that in the end arguments alone will not suffice — there must also be the action of God: “A conversion, then, is, and must always be, the work of God. No amount of reading, no amount of controversy, will ever bring to a soul the Divine light of faith. It is dark till God illuminate it” (ibid., pp. 32-33).
A book, a painting, a work of music or a magnificent sunset may be the instrument for a change of heart, but this raw “firewood” must be kindled by what God does unseen. And this is where prayer on the part of faithful Catholics can make all the difference.
Many of us can attest to the experience of praying for someone to have a change of heart only to find after doing so repeatedly and over an extended period of time that nothing seems to have changed.
But prayer does change things. Often enough God keeps His dealings with individual souls quite private. And we must also bear in mind that no matter how stubborn a person may be in adhering to a life of sin or in refusing to see the light of truth, God holds the key to the innermost depths of every man’s heart. There is no deadbolt lock strong enough to keep Him from entering whenever and however He wills.
God can suddenly enlighten the heart at any time and in any place. The convert William Lambert Brant recalls the day that he was standing on a street corner in New York City waiting for a trolley car as he wrestled in his mind with the one remaining Catholic doctrine that he was still hesitating to accept — the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist.
He had already been properly instructed by two priests in the tenets of the faith, including the Eucharist, but in this final battle he knew that there was nothing further a priest could say to him to get him past this hurdle — what he needed now was the handiwork of God within his soul. When the trolley car arrived, he boarded it and paid his fare. It was simply after taking his seat that suddenly, inexplicably, all his doubts cleared away and he was at peace: “Faith, the gift of God had been, shall I say, poured into my soul” (W.L. Brant, in Fr. John A. O’Brien, ed., The Way to Emmaus: The Intimate Personal Stories of Converts to the Catholic Faith, New York, McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1953, p. 315).
Four days later Brant was received into the Catholic Church.
Many converts have found themselves asked by their former co-religionists whether after becoming Catholic they have remained content with their decision. Their testimonies in this regard stand as a lesson to all of us as to the pearl of great price we have been given as children of the Church.
Thomas Scott Preston (1824-1891) was an Episcopalian minister from New England who after his conversion to the Catholic faith at the age of twenty-five was ordained a priest and later served as a vicar general in the Archdiocese of New York, also founding a new religious congregation, the Sisters of the Divine Compassion.
In an essay published in 1888, Msgr. Preston tells of his serenity in his newfound faith:
“There were some worldly sacrifices, but although they sobered my face a little, they did not drive the sunshine from my heart. At last I was in my Father’s house, and never from that moment have I had one doubt of the truth of the Catholic religion. . . .
“I found the supernatural without any loss of the natural. I had no sacrifice of liberty to complain of; for when once the divine voice speaks, it is not only the duty but the happiness of man to obey it. . . . Great natural gifts, learning, culture, such as I had not seen before, were all around me. . . ..I have seen heroic virtue in every class, in the learned and the unlettered, and a unity of all in a faith which was as strong as if it were part of one’s being” (“My Religious Experience,” The Forum, volume 4, February 1888, pp. 632-633).
Recounting his post-conversion experiences, the English convert, author, and publisher Charles Kegan Paul (1828-1902) observes:
“All human relationships become holier, all human friends dearer, because they are explained and sanctified by the relationships and the friendships of another life. Sorrows have come to me in abundance since God gave me grace to enter His Church, but I can bear them better than of old, and the blessing He has given me outweighs them all. May He forgive me that I so long resisted Him, and lead those I love unto the fair land wherein He has brought me to dwell!” (C.K. Paul, in Roads to Rome, p. 205).

A Single Canticle Of Praise

Has the Church changed her mind about converting the nations, the peoples, all peoples, to the Catholic faith? Of course not. In the Collect for the memorial of the recently canonized virgin St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the Church prays that “when all are gathered into your Church from every nation, tribe and tongue, they may magnify you in a single canticle of praise” (The Roman Missal: English translation according to the third typical edition, 2011 — © 2010 International Commission on English in the Liturgy).
Such a prayer as this and two thousand years of carrying out what Christ Himself has commanded in this regard do not allow of exceptions.
When it comes to evangelization, the Church’s efforts to invite the entire world to the fullness of faith within her fold, it is impossible to sound the retreat. Christ’s command to “make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19) is irreformable. Of course the particular means for evangelization must be prudent — clearly it is wrong to force others to convert or to resort to methods that are aggressive or intimidating, such as is seen in the methods of certain evangelical Protestant sects.
But we all need to be on the watch for opportunities to invite others into the Catholic Church.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Fr. Weinandy: "What we have learned is that what Pope Francis says has little meaning in and of itself. The real Pope Francis is only seen within his actions, and his actions often are in conflict with his words."

Edward Pentin on Twitter

“Father Weinandy's full remarks on the chances of #PopeFrancis including the issue of homosexuality in the discussions of the February meeting o...

twitter.com

Load More...

President Trump’s Decision to Defund Planned Parenthood of $50-60 Million Likely to Win in Court

President Donald Trump appears likely to win a court battle against the abortion giant Planned Parenthood. At issue are new guidelines for Title X grants, which fund family planning programs across the country. In February, the U.S. Department of Health and…Continue Reading

Pro-LGBT priest promotes ‘rainbow’ rosary with prayers for ‘full acceptance’ of gay couples

December 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-LGBT Jesuit priest Fr. James Martin is promoting on social media a rosary with “rainbow” beads for one of the decades which are to be used, the rosary’s creators say, to pray for the “full…Continue Reading

Archbishop Viganò denies claims he defrauded his brother

ROME, December 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò today has denied claims he defrauded his brother, and has sought to clarify an October court ruling ordering him to pay his brother €1.8 million in inheritance. Many believe the ruling is being…Continue Reading

Vatican’s former doctrine chief: ‘LGBT’ has ‘no place’ in Church documents

VATICAN CITY, November 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An influential cardinal says that pro-homosexual terminology such as “LGBT” has no place in the documents of the Roman Catholic Church. In a recent interview with LifeSiteNews, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, formerly the Prefect of the…Continue Reading

$25 MILLION PAPAL FOUNDATION GRANT TO VATICAN REMAINS UNACCOUNTED FOR

PHILADELPHIA (ChurchMilitant.com) – After Cdl. Donald Wuerl spearheaded a $25 million grant to the Vatican earlier this year through the Papal Foundation, sources confirm the money remains unaccounted for, the Rome hospital designated as beneficiary apparently never having received the grant. Sources also confirm Wuerl…Continue Reading

Cardinal guilty of covering up sex abuse addresses US bishops’ conference

BALTIMORE, November 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A cardinal barred from public ministry since 2013 as a result of his systematic cover-up of sex abuse spoke at the U.S. Bishops’ General Assembly in Baltimore Tuesday, telling the bishops they “need to lead by witness.” In…Continue Reading

US bishops consider asking Pope Francis to release McCarrick documents

BALTIMORE, Maryland, November 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will consider officially asking Pope Francis to release any documents related to alleged serial sexual abuser Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. The motion was made from the…Continue Reading

U.S. Catholic Bishops Meet in the Shadow, Still, of Clergy Sex Abuse

This weekend, the Catholic bishops of the United States gather in Baltimore ahead of their three-day annual general assembly, which opens Monday. By coincidence, it will be 16 years exactly since their session in 2002, when they met to amend…Continue Reading

The Synodal Church

Antonio Spadaro, SJ – Carlos Galli Forty years ago, Jesuit Father Arij Roest Crollius wrote: “What is so new about inculturation?”[1] His reflection was a milestone in the understanding of that word and in welcoming a concept at the heart of…Continue Reading

National network of Catholic church leaders told to preserve all communications

The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has asked the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to preserve all electronic and paper documents in case other federal prosecutors need to look into accusations of sexual assault against current…Continue Reading

Cdl. Burke ‘strongly’ endorses new virtue education program for young people

October 26, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the Church’s most outspoken defenders of life, marriage, and family, has “strongly” endorsed a new virtue education program for children. “Alive to the World” is a continuous, story-based virtues/values program. Much…Continue Reading

Pittsburgh wants to revoke Chick-fil-A’s sponsorship of kids event over Christian marriage views

PITTSBURGH, October 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – America’s most successful Christian food chain may be driven out of a children’s community event in Pittsburgh over the owners’ Christian-based view of marriage and homosexuality, if the Pittsburgh City Council has its way.…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Help Us Break The Silence!

Vatican seized by Silence

The bishops have proven once again that they are unable to address the current crisis facing the Church. It is time for the laity to step up. We are asking you to help us flood the Vatican with this appeal to the Pope for answers. Tell your friends, your family, and your pastor: Encourage all concerned Catholics to sign our petition (see below) to the Holy Father. Please share on your Facebook and Twitter accounts.…Continue Reading

Cdl. Burke: ‘Synodality’ suggests some kind of ‘new church’ where pope’s authority is destroyed

LIMERICK, Ireland, (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke has come out criticizing the concept of “synodality” that was barely discussed during the recently concluded “Youth Synod,” but, nevertheless, found its way into the final document, surprising many of the Synod Fathers. “It’s become like a slogan, meant to suggest some kind of new church which is democratic and in which the authority of the Roman Pontiff is relativized and diminished—if not destroyed,” said Card

Facebook unblocks image of Santa kneeling before Baby Jesus after LifeSite report goes viral

December 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Facebook is no longer censoring an image of Santa Claus kneeling before the Baby Jesus that it had deemed “violent or graphic content” after a report on LifeSiteNews about the matter went viral yesterday. Facebook had obscured the picture, explaining that the “photo was automatically covered so you can decide if you want to se

Pro-LGBT Catholic prof: Many German bishops don’t believe homosexual acts are wrong

December 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic German ethics professor calls Cardinal Müller’s recent remarks on homosexuality “unbearable” and claims that, just as the Church’s teaching on the death penalty has changed, the teaching on homosexuality is also open to change. Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), has been under constant sharp criticism since his 21 November interview with LifeSiteNews, in whi

Cardinal accuses EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo of attacking Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY, December 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier has come out swinging against EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo, accusing him of reporting “negatively” on as well as “attack[ing]” Pope Francis. The former Archbishop of Durban tweeted last night that Arroyo was like a “throwback” to Northern Ireland’s most notorious anti-Catholic “Ian Paisley & his ilk.” “The World Over” hosted by Raymond A

Advertisement(2)

I Saw An Angel

By DEREK BECHER I saw an angel on the sill, The dawn of Christmas Day; It gazed upon my little crèche And pressed its hands to pray… Her whispered words were weaving Into frost upon the pane; It printed pretty lyrics That the seraph would proclaim. And then she strummed a little harp, So smoothly,…Continue Reading

Federal District Court… Halts HHS Mandate For Six Christian Organizations

DENVER — A federal district court issued an order Tuesday, December 11 that permanently prevents the federal government from enforcing the Affordable Care Act’s abortion-pill mandate against six Christian organizations represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). The order also declares that the mandate violates the organizations’ rights protected by the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic . . . The AAUP: Defender Of Sham Scholarship In The Interest Of Ideology

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

A Book Review… Witnessing To Christ In China

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY Blood of the Martyrs: Trappist Monks in Communist China by Theresa Marie Moreau; 187 pages, available on Kindle and limited hardcover at Amazon.com. Blood of the Martyrs details the persecution of a group of Cistercian monks following the establishment of the postwar Communist government in China, a government determined to destroy…Continue Reading

When Can Americans Be Arrested In Retaliation For What They Say?

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate distributes his column. All rights reserved.) + + + It may be a prudent policy to always be polite to the police, but does that mean Americans must give up the right to be rude? A question similar to…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Supernatural Faith

By DON FIER A brief and enigmatic scriptural definition of the theological virtue we began to consider last week, faith, is set forth in the Letter to the Hebrews: “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). Its fundamental importance with regard to man’s attainment of salvation is underscored just a few…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Regarding a recent reply to a person struggling with unholy and impure thoughts during Mass or when reading Scripture or praying the rosary, we quoted a priest as recommending four things: guard your senses, pick a good time to pray, focus on your prayers, and open yourself to God’s grace through the sacraments. One of our readers, an…Continue Reading

Gender Ideology — A Radical Attack On The Family

By FR. SHENAN J. BOQUET (Editor’s Note: This article is reprinted with permission of Human Laife International, www.hli.org. It first appeared at www.hli.org on December 3. Fr. Boquet is the president of HLI.) + + + “Gender theory is an error of the human mind that leads to so much confusion” — Pope Francis. + + + The speed with…Continue Reading

The Lord Is Near

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Third Sunday Of Advent (YR C) Readings: Zeph. 3:14-18a Phil. 4:4-7 Luke 3:10-18 In the first reading today the Lord instructs Zion to shout for joy, Israel is to be joyful, and Jerusalem is to be glad and exalt. The reasons for this rejoicing are threefold: Israel’s judgment has been removed, God has turned their enemies…Continue Reading

ADD Represents D.C. Church… Atheists’ Lawsuit Would Force Churches To File Tax Returns

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing a church in Washington, D.C. — The New Macedonia Baptist Church — have filed a motion in federal court to intervene in an atheist group’s lawsuit. The lawsuit, filed by Freedom From Religion Foundation attorneys on behalf of Nonbelief Relief, Inc., seeks to more greatly entangle the government with religion by unconstitutionally…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes … Servant Of God Walter Ciszek

By CAROLE BRESLIN Part 1 Unless people are faced with no choice in hardship, they will never know just how much pain and suffering they are able to endure, especially with the help of God’s grace. The concentration camps of World War II, the flotillas of Vietnamese boat people escaping a repressive regime, and the horrors of fighting in armed…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Blessed Maria Virgo

By CAROLE BRESLIN When I visited my aunt in St. Louis, Mo., we would visit the basilicas, the museums, and other places of interest. She had many sites near her that were particularly special to her, such as her parish, The Little Flower, in Richmond Heights. In addition, she described a place where she frequently went for eucharistic adoration at…Continue Reading