Tag Archives: Catholic

How NFP Made Me Catholic

28 Jul

In my last post, I talked about why I love NFP. Here, I’d like to recount the story of its role in my becoming Catholic.

A little bit of background: I grew up going to Protestant churches. First, a Baptist church, later a non-denominational church. They were both lead by and filled with loving, genuine Christians who wanted to know God on a deeply intimate level. I knew no Catholics. After going off to college and meeting people from all over the country, I befriended several Catholics and some people in the process of becoming Catholic. One in particular stands out, because I ended up marrying him.

Charles and I both love to discuss theology, and in the early days of our dating, we would sometimes spend hours debating Catholics/Protestant issues. I was always able to respond to his questions with verses from the Bible that left me satisfied with my Protestantism, until he brought up the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel. I don’t have space here to write about how that chapter affected my faith, but suffice it to say that it did cause me to reconsider several misconceptions I had about Catholicism.

At that point, I was beginning to think that perhaps my interpretation of the Bible was off here and there, but I wasn’t drawn to the Catholicism in a major way.

Enter the Church’s teaching on contraception.

Charles sent me home with a copy of Dr. Janet E. Smith‘s talk Contraception: Why Not. I had never considered that there might be anything wrong with using contraception, so I was very skeptical about what Dr. Smith would say in her talk. Over the course of an hour, I was convinced that there were serious problems with the use of contraception, especially in a Christian marriage. I absolutely can’t do justice here to her talk, so I would encourage everyone to get ahold of it if you’re interested in what Dr. Smith has to say. (I’m happy to share my copy!)

As I became more and more convinced of the rightness of the Church’s teaching, I realized an important thing: The Catholic Church is the only Church that maintains its teaching against contraception. The only one. All Protestant churches, prior to the 1930’s taught against it, but one by one they made concessions after the Anglicans allowed it in special circumstances. Fast forward to today, and you will rarely, if ever, hear it spoken of in Protestant churches.

But the beautiful thing about the Church’s teaching is that it’s not just a “no” to contraception, it’s a resounding “YES!” to NFP–to full, free, faithful, and fruitful love between a husband and wife.

By the grace of God, I was able to see the beauty of NFP, to recognize that the Catholic church is the sole keeper of its truth, and to seek and receive full communion with her.

-Erica

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Gratitude

9 Jun

The strangest thing has been happening to me lately at the most unlikely times. After I’ve been frustrated to my limits, I’ve found myself grateful. Several nights ago, Natalie, usually a great night-time sleeper, just had the hardest time getting settled at the end of the day. I spent forever calming her down until she drifted off, setting her down oh so gently, only to have her burst into tears (real ones!) and screams moments later. This went on for hours. Hours. I was exhausted. Charles and I had been switching on and off, and I was barely able to pull myself together when it was my turn. But, sitting in the glider with (my) tear stained cheeks, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I was just SO happy about the life that’s mine. Certainly, our current situation is not ideal, nor where I hope it will be in a few years. I could go on and on about the changes we are trying to make, but in the midst of all that, I am so thankful for moments when grace breaks through and I am able to be thankful.

Thank God For Priests

27 Nov

Seriously. Thank you, Jesus, for giving us men who so generously answered your call to donate their whole selves to you and your Church.

A priest at our parish rocked my world today at confession. It had been a little longer than usual since I had been, and that added to the malaise I usually feel before coming before God to admit the times I’ve said “no” to his love for me in the past few weeks. The kindness and joy that greeted me on the other side of the confessional caught me off guard for some reason, and I left with such a renewed trust in God, his mercy, and his providence. Thank you, Father O., for being Christ for me in that moment.

A certain priest that I’m sure many of you also know has been instrumental in my faith formation and the spiritual lives so many of my friends. He gives until he’s spent and then gives some more. He is generous with his life. Thank you, Father B., for your generousity.

And thank you also to my friends in seminary, discerning their vocations. I hope you’re growing in God’s grace and becoming more like Christ. If this is your vocation, I can’t wait to attend your first Mass.

I hope that one day, if any of my boys have a priestly vocation, that they too will be able to say yes to God’s call.

Happy first Sunday of Advent, y’all!

-Erica

Offering it up.

11 Nov

I’ve had pain and suffering on my mind a lot lately. Don’t worry, it isn’t S.A.D.-induced depression; it’s the birth classes Charles and I have been attending. The first half of each class generally involves learning a new relaxation technique, which usually translates into Charles (aka- my birth coach!) giving me a massage for a half hour or so. That part’s great. But the second half of class–that’s the frightening part. That’s when we watch birth videos. Natural birth videos. Videos of naked, sweaty, primal, pregnant women moaning in agony as they progress through labor. It’s like something out of National Geographic.

Ironically, watching these terrifying videos is supposed to help us prepare for and confidently approach our own natural childbirth. The verdict is still out on that front. However, I’m growing more and more attached to the idea of being able to offer up my sufferings for the intentions of others.

The teaching of “redemptive suffering” is one of my favorite parts of Catholicism. It basically says that we who suffer are able to offer up our sufferings in union with Christ’s passion and death, and that our suffering can bring about grace for whomever we’re offering our sufferings for. It is a way of imitating Christ, because he himself offered up his suffering to the Father, for the sake of humanity.

It is carrying the cross.

It is love and suffering intertwined.

So, the next time you find yourself in the midst of suffering, whether it be a migraine headache, a frustrating day at work, or a colicky baby at home, remember that your suffering is a gift. It is a chance to become more like Christ, and to seek the good of those around you. I pray that I might be able to deny myself a little more and to unite my sufferings to Christ.

Love,

Erica