I lacked any experience of the Catholic Faith growing up as a child and had little until about six years ago. I was introduced to Jesus and the Christian faith by my mother, who had a “born again” experience when I was six. She turned to Christ and told me about it. But there was no mention of the Catholic Church in a positive context. In fact, my grandmother, coming from a Puritan background, once commented that Fulton Sheen was one of those “Catholic wizards.”
As I grew into my teens I had no desire to belong to an antiquated, superstitious, oppressive, and deeply flawed and human institution. That’s how I viewed the Catholic Church.
My father had left and faded away from my awareness while I was just a boy. He and I didn’t speak for almost twenty years, until we reconciled before his death. As I reached adolescence, I felt no need of a man I barely knew, much less a Church that was non-existent in my experience and formation.
I mention my lack of a relationship with these two — my father and the Catholic Church — because it played a significant role in my rebellion as a youth. But I’m grateful to say that, where my father had failed his son, much later God the Father would fill the gap.
If the Catholic Church and heaven were anything like a shining city on a hill, I could not see them. All I knew was that my mother had encountered a man named Jesus in her wilderness. As I scanned the horizon, all I saw was my rebellion and brokenness over a fractured family, and the history of human hurt and suffering. If there’s a God, I thought, He shouldn’t run the world this way.
Read more at Coming Home Network.