by Scott Lucado
A few people have asked me how it's possible that at the age of fifty, I could become active in religion, especially in Catholicism. It's not an easy question to answer; and while my story isn't particularly complex, it is long.
So to simplify it somewhat, let me answer that it is a combination of events, big and small, that have left me with no doubt. Here's a condensed version of my story.
All my life I have been on a path to some sort of faith. I was baptized Catholic but was raised Methodist in a wishy-washy way that I drifted away from as a teenager.
I moved to the emptiness of various philosophies, which I'll admit I didn't study closely because none that I encountered ever held up in even the dimmest light of my observed reality. Then came individualistic spirituality from Tolstoy to Nietzsche–talk about extremes! Then came the dry ice of atheism. Or more succinctly, I say that "I worshiped at the altar of self-indulgence."For me, there was always something missing–something that at the core could speak to both my sense of the immediate and the eternal–without treating me like an idiot, for lack of a better term.
A former co-worker, a fan of a particular TV preacher, attempted to convert me. She gave me transcripts of several of his sermons. I read them carefully, and in all honesty, I couldn't figure out what the hell he was talking about. He seemed to take some scriptural passage and wrap some vague message around it in a way that was neither informative, inspirational or to my mind, even remotely related to the meaning of the text. For example, he thought the story of the Prodigal Son was a divine endorsement of eating veal.
Along the way, I wrote a book, Never Too Busy For You, a series of dialogues between God and a man who has died and gone to heaven. It was a way for me to work out some ideas of divinity and the meaning of life. It got some pretty good reviews but never really sold well. Now and then, as recently as last week, I hear from a reader who has some nice things to say.
The greatest kind of majesty
When I married a Catholic girl, who was a kind of Easter-and-Christmas-Mass type, it opened a door to a real majesty of faith. Not just in the grandeur of Catholic churches or the solemnity of the Mass, which, let's face it, are awe-inspiring, but in the greatest kind of majesty, the sort that shines from certain individuals.
In this case, the best example was my mother-in-law, a woman who had endured unspeakable horrors. She was a Polish farm girl who was made a slave-laborer by the Nazis. She later married and had 12 children, moved her whole family to America, and survived traumas the likes of which would crush most other people I know. Her faith never wavered despite all that happened to her. It caused me to wonder what sort of religion could instill such courage and loyalty.
During the first few years of my marriage, I learned a little more about Catholicism, but nothing really made a serious impression on me until I read a book by Pope Benedict XVI, God and the World. I had read a couple of books by Saint John Paul II, and they convinced me of his piety, mysticism and greatness as a man, but I never quite saw how that could reach me personally.
God and the Word
But reading God and the World changed my life. When I first picked it up, I expected a rather dour glimpse of a stern, dogmatic German, about as lively and engaging as a hike through Death Valley. However, I could not have been more wrong. From the very first, I was riveted by the man's intellect, candor, wisdom, insights and above all, his abiding faith.
For the first time, I saw how a person could be both devout and a lively intellectual. Well-educated Catholics will laugh at my naiveté but I was raised with the typical secular view of Catholicism as repressive, medieval and anti-intellectual. To say that this book piqued my curiosity is a vast understatement. I felt as though I had tripped over the entrance to a spiritual treasure trove. I truly felt touched by the hand of God, and I fell in love with Catholicism.
Since reading God and the World in November of 2008, I have probably read two or three hundred books on Catholicism. Right now I'm reading The Rule of Benedict. Each book fills in a piece of a huge, complex jigsaw puzzle.
I started attending Mass in early 2009 at St. Rita's in Fort Worth, TX, made first Eucharist and Confirmation, joined the Knights of Columbus, later becoming Grand Knight of my Council, and joined the RCIA team in my parish.
I am quite gratified that several people, “converts” to cradle Catholics, have told me that they've learned a lot about the faith because of me. Of course, it's the Holy Spirit's work.
I'm not sure where this will lead, but I am trusting God that it will work out. And many, many thanks to my wife for her support in this endeavor. It's not easy to have your spouse become a "religious nut." We've been married for 18 years and are still crazy in love. Love like that can only be a gift from God.
Scott Lucado was born and raised in the Midwest, moving to Texas in 1985. He has designed, developed and delivered corporate instructional material for companies such as DARPA, American Airlines, Dallas Semiconductor, the University of Utah Medical Center and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.
He has published Never Too Busy For You and many technical works. Scott is active in his parish, St. Rita's in Fort Worth, TX, where he helps out with RCIA, Sunday School and the Knights of Columbus. He is very happily married and thanks God every day for his wonderful wife.