A Hungry Faith

By Guest Blogger Debbie Chalik

Faith and Personal Conversion: A Journey of Truth and Promise

When I joined the Catholic Church on November 11, 1984, it was the beginning of a wonderful journey, a journey that began with just one element: a feeling that what I experienced at Mass was somehow very real. To say that I started out with only the most basic of Catholic instruction is certainly true, but the limited scope of my basics was just a beginning. The process of going from instinct to foundation is my conversion story.

The priest who provided my instruction was a man to be admired and appreciated. He was a comical, yet sincere, elderly priest with a delightful Irish accent and a true heart of gold. Nevertheless, I came away with a minimal understanding of the truths of the Catholic Church. Logically, I knew that six weeks was not enough time to learn it all, I knew my path to stronger faith and knowledge was my own responsibility. I was never tempted to blame my teacher. Over time, I genuinely learned to embrace the process and became a true seeker, or should I say a seeker of truth.

Word Lover

As a seeker, I decided to join a Bible study. At that time, my only option was a “non-denominational” study held at a local Protestant church. I fell in love with the Bible, with the thrill of study, and my new found friends in faith, and I took great care to diligently complete my lesson each week. Over time, I began to realize that the study we used included occasional pointed jabs at the Catholic Church. Raised in the Methodist Church, I don’t remember ever hearing condemnation of another religion at home or at church. The comments felt anti-Christian. Since it was all new to me, I quietly listened. 

Deeper Waters

But I didn’t stop there, and thus the journey began. I wanted to find out what the Catholic Church had to say for herself, so I opened my copy of the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” (yes, I did have one but had never cracked the cover). There I found it – the truths of the faith expressed in the wisdom of the authors, in the scripture passages that so poetically describe what we believe, and, most of all, in a concrete and accessible manner. Little did the leader of my group realize that her attempts to drive me away from the Catholic Church drew me instead ever-nearer to her ancient truths and unbelievable beauty. Eventually, I could no longer be a part of the study and face constant objections and misinformation. The objections came from a misguided understanding of Catholicism – I was sad to leave.

Today, there are abundant resources for Catholic seekers: faithful, convert, revert, or cradle Catholic. What we learn in our childhood or as a new Catholic is just the beginning. The reality is that seeking the Catholic truths with adult eyes takes a commitment to learn, to participate, and (most important of all) to constantly pray. But I didn’t (and still don’t) find this journey a difficult road to follow. My heart is convinced this commitment promises great reward. “Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.”  Philippians 3:9

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