My reversion back to the Catholic Church was very slow and subtle with many little turning points. One that stands out in my mind happened at Passover dinner. This was before I was even dating my Jewish husband.
At that time I was searching for something to believe in. I was very curious about Sufi Islam and had a good friend who had converted. He gave me all these audiotapes of beautiful mystical prayers said in Tamil (his sheik was from Sri Lanka) with English translations. They were gorgeous prayers and I used to walk around the city listening to them.
As I investigated Islam further I came, of course, to read about Mohammad. Mohammad is no Jesus! Jesus is so beautiful and wise, so loving, so ethereal and down to earth at the same time. Mohammad’s life, that he actually fought and killed people over some tribal quarrel, that he had ten wives, just seemed so pallid to me. So while I found the prayers beautiful, emphasizing the glory of God (Allah), the actual religion didn’t ring true to me.
I also remember going to an Anglican church with a friend and going by myself to a Lutheran Church. I remember thinking if Christianity is the real deal then I think I’d be Catholic. Both Anglicanism and Lutheranism seemed like washed out versions of Catholicism to me.
Then a friend from school unexpectedly invited me to her Passover dinner. Her father had told her to invite a couple of friends for the first night of Passover. I happened to be in the right place at the right time. I was delighted to go. I had never celebrated Passover, but I had gone through an intense Judeophile period, spurred by reading “The Diary of Anne Frank” and other holocaust books as well as Isaac Bashevis Singer stories. So I went.
Seder prayers, humor and prizes
It was a delightful evening. Her family was warm and friendly. They kindly explained everything to me, they prayed reverently and yet there was so much humor and wit. I enjoyed all the food. When it came time to hunt for the afikomen, I was the one who found it (and won two tickets to see the Baltimore Orioles play!).
During the Seder prayers and meal, it suddenly occurred to me that it reminded me of the Catholic Mass! And then suddenly I had a whole new respect for the Church. This institution had protected, cherished and passed down Passover, that is, the Last Supper, and it was still intact and recognizable 2000 years later.
I had been in the habit of constantly knocking the Church. It could never do anything right in my mind, and now suddenly I couldn’t think like that anymore. I do think that realization was a definite turning point, a definite shift in my attitude.
Faith Roberts is a longtime homeschooling mom of 5 children now down to homeschooling the youngest two for high school. She blogs at Household Diary.