I looked in the mirror and splashed my face with water. I could barely recognize who I was. I was tired to the soul. There was no nap in the world or energy shot that would cure it. I needed a change. No, I had been through plenty of change. I needed something more permanent, I needed roots.
I’ve been on a journey worthy of disobedient Israelites. I was baptised Catholic when I was a baby. I was raised in a mixed home. My Father was a non-practicing Catholic, my Mother was Protestant and her mother believed in a mish-mash of beliefs that are very Deist and New Age. Later on, my Dad’s Mom who was a Catholic convert and according to her, was Jewish came to live with us. I loved culture and religions and I had a smorgasbord in my own home to choose from. My parents didn’t often attend church, they were busy supporting me, my sister, and my grandmothers. They worked hard and very varied shifts. So, I would go exploring churches in my free time.
As a young kid with two parents who didn’t have transportation, it was easy to jump on the bus to the Protestant churches that would send a bus or van around. They had fun things to do like Vacation Bible School, trips to water and amusement parks, Christian concerts, and Bible studies. So, I’d go there and then find myself at the Catholic church when I wanted reverence and to find a bit of peace in my spirit. When the Protestants would get after me for the music I listened to or the clothes I wore, I’d go to the Catholic church more…until there was another fun event. In the Catholic church I attended, I felt invisible. No one talked to me and the priest wasn’t welcoming like the one I remembered when I was a kid who visited me in the hospital when I was four. He read me a children’s version of the book of Job and gave it to me as a present. Each of the churches I attended insisted they had the absolute truth and I began to wonder what truth was. So, like a Hobbit, I went on an adventure.
I volleyed between New Age beliefs (where I could be my own god) and making the circuit of visiting many different denominations (Messianic Judaism, Mormon, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Seventh Day Adventism). I had internalised some of the teaching of the Protestants and actually began avoiding the Catholic church after being told they were the “Whore of Babylon” (and would bring forth the Anti-Christ), and that Catholics were Anti-Semitic. I rejected Papal Authority, the need to confess my sins to a priest as unnecessary, transubstantiation as false, and I saw the veneration of Mary and the Saints as idolatry.
My journey back to the church began through a Protestant by the name of Mark Virkler. He had a video series stating that you could hear the voice of God. I knew I could use that, so I watched it. Oddly enough, though Protestant, his journey began with the Jesuit priests. I took to YouTube for videos on God. It was the middle of the night, my body ached from the worst flu I could remember and I couldn’t sleep when YouTube suggested Father Mike Schmitz. I marathoned everything posted up there by him. I watched every objection I had to the church fall away.
The Holy Spirit used Father Mike to show me that the issue wasn’t with the Church, it was with my heart. I had an issue with the one thing that the Catholic church has that no other does. It comes down to authority. Jesus established one church. He has a kingdom here and he is the only one with the authority to set it up. Father Mike pointed out that all the other denominations that have broken off from the main “ship” have parts of us. Anything you could want in a church you’ll find it with us.
This one comment lead me on a research spree. The Catholic church is much different than it was twenty years ago. I was amazed to see Vacation Bible School advertised in the bulletins, Zumba classes, retreats, and activities similar to some of the Protestant churches. I’ll be honest, that’s not my main draw anymore (even though they are a nice perk). I love going to Mass and knowing that I get to be intimately acquainted with the Lord on His terms. My faith is no longer based on what I want, but what He desires for me.
Written by Guest Blogger: Michele A. Perez
Michele is a freelance writer and social media specialist. She holds a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations Criminal Justice and Religion. She has been married to the love of her life, Miguel since 2007. Her hobbies include writing, research, natural medicine, minimalistic living, gaming, and confounding her parents. Her passion is Jesus Christ, His Truth, and help the broken find their way back “home”.