Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Jumping the bandwagon

Didn't we do this already last year? I thought we did, only I couldn't find the post anymore...

Ten Things I've Done That You Probably Haven't

01) Made myself into a nuisance to the late great Freddie Mercury by calling him on his home phone number one summer -- and even if I only called him maybe 5 or 6 times before he shamed me into leaving him alone, and it was years ago (I was about 14 at the time), I still remember the number!

02) Prepared a huge pot of 'hutspot' for the NYC homeless at one of the city's many church run shelters

03) Spent some time as a glorified office dogsbody at the UN headquarters in NYC

04) Worked my way around Italy going from excavation to excavation (Ostia, Satricum, Paestum, Pompeii)

05) Worked on emergency excavations on the West Bank (Israel)

06) Published dreadfully boring articles on utilitarian architecture (dikes, sluices, powerhouses) in Dutch civil engineering mags

07) Spent some time in retreat in a Greek-Orthodox monastery in Belgium

08) Converted to Catholicism at age 32

09) Won medals as a champion fencer (on épée)

10) Having torn most of the tendons in my right thigh and groin 3 days into my holiday, carried on (and even climbed a mountain in that condition) for another 10 days before seeing a doctor.



Feb. 24th, 2005 08:22 am (UTC)
In 1991, I became seriously ill with a brain tumour. I told myself that if I could overcome this, I could find the courage to face sceptical priests; and so in the summer of 1994, I presented myself to another parish priest, a friend of a former reformist bishop I knew. I'd been going to his church quietly for several months, and one Sunday the text being read out, about the True Vine (John 15: 1-6) resonated with me like it had never done before. I remember I was looking at the crucifix overhead, and I heard that phrase, "He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit"...and it seemed to me that here was the promise of an interpersonal relationship where the believer is in Christ and Christ in us; and it all suddenly made sense. I believed I had found the answer I'd been looking for for 16 years, gathered all my courage and asked for an interview. Which he granted me a couple of days later.

And boy, was he sceptical at first! But we spoke for several hours and he couldn't detact the slightest bit of hesitation on my part -- and he also could see that it had nothing to do with a passing fancy, a bedazzlement with the pomp and circumstance of the Church; or with a flight from the real world, or a fear that the world might soon come to an end and I wanted to be among the elect when it did. And we had several more meetings over the next couple of weeks, until after a while he agreed to have me instructed in the faith. He laughed and said I probably could teach his instructor a thing or two. And I did. On a theological level, I ran rings around this person. I argued like a Jesuit, while trying to remain humble like a Franciscan. And it worked! My instructor wrote a favourable report to the bishop of my diocese, and I received the necessary dispensation. Baptisms are usually arranged for Easter, but I was such a special case, my church arranged for me to be baptised and do my First Communion in an ordinary Sunday Mass in October.

My best friend is a Protestant vicar. I've had many conversations with her, long into the night, about my choosing the Catholic faith over any other. She respects it totally, and helps keep me on my toes. In addition to giving instruction to Catholic young adults who want to know more about the religion they've been brought up in in my own church, I often sit in on her courses with her parishioners who want to know more about what it means to be a Protestant in this day and age; and participate in ecumenical services, sometimes even performing a liturgical service.

Phew!. That got quite long...but did it answer your question some?
Feb. 24th, 2005 08:32 am (UTC)
Of course, over the years, I've come across many people who have taken me to task for becoming/remaining a Catholic when there is so much that is wrong with the Church. The conservatism of the present Pope; the scandals and court cases in America; the suppression of Leonardo Boff and other Liberation Theologists in South America; the ordination of women...

But to me, that is not what Catholicism is. Popes and politics...and priests that abuse their position and can't keep their hands to themselves, they are not the Church, they are not the religion itself. The message remains the same: "Love thy neighbour as thyself; and God above all".

JMHO, mind.