Having had the opportunity to write my first blog post for Catholic Match, I spent some time reading through the comments on my entry. One person, Paul-930069, seemed interested in my story of reversion and it got me to think about how we all journey, sometimes smoothly and sometimes on a rocky road, in our relationship with God.
As a quick recap, I married and then had a reversion back to the Catholic faith. In hindsight, this fact did seem to play a fairly large part in my subsequent divorce. And after much pain and soul-searching, I decided that I could not really blame my ex-husband for his choice to end the marriage. I did indeed change to someone neither of us really recognized: I became a faith filled, practicing Catholic.
Since then, I have come to know and love myself and my faith so much more. And truth be told — as hard as it was to divorce and then complete the annulment process, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I truly see the grace of God in this plan for my life.
I was born and raised in a family who practiced the faith on Sunday and all the holy days of obligation. Faith was not however, part of our daily life. I was encouraged to say my prayers before bed and I attended CCD at my parish. I made all of my sacraments, but as a teenager I became more and more isolated from my faith.
I met my husband when I was in college studying Sociology; more precisely, Feminist Theory. I had long left behind all the patriarchal trappings of the man in Rome.
We married a year after college (in a Catholic Church to respect the traditions of both of our Catholic families) and had two wonderful daughters shortly thereafter. It was this birth of my children which gave me pause.
For so long I believed all that feminist theory business, but this business of mothering children was all new to me. I felt somewhere deep in my soul that this is what I was made for.
I began to have some heated discussions with some of my feminist friends about why feminists didn’t support women who chose to stay at home and raise a family. After all, didn’t we count as women? Why was our choice to stay home less respected than those who put career before family? God was at work in my life already.
Our daughters were baptized Catholic (for the tradition) and my husband, an atheist, let me take the lead in the realm of religion. So, my daughters and I went all over the place as I continued seeking what I didn’t know I had already given up.
The year that my oldest daughter should have been making her First Communion, things got complicated.
First, I didn’t want her to be the only child in an extended family of Catholics not doing these things….then on one September morning, two towers disappeared from the New York City skyline and I was scared. All of a sudden, I began to think very seriously about my responsibilities as a parent. Was I doing right by my daughters?
For the first time in over ten years, I headed to confession. The priest, who had given me my own First Communion so many years before, was kind and thanked God for my return.
My daughters and I began attending daily Mass. And I told my husband that I was not going to be one of those Catholics who told their kids “I don’t know why” when asked questions about the faith.
So, I joined a group at our new Parish and began reading the encyclical “The Christian Family in the Modern World” by my hero Blessed John Paul II.
That was it; I was hooked. And that’s when I began to change. I see now that I probably got a little extreme in my zeal to follow my new-found faith. It took from 2001 until 2005 for my husband to realize that I really had become a whole new person in Christ. Though I prayed many times a day for my husband to join me on this adventure, he chose a different path.
For a long time, years really, I struggled to understand how God would bring me home and then allow my marriage to disintegrate around me. I was hurting and angry. I struggled to pray. I went to adoration so I could stand in the back and pace, ranting silently at God.
I did a number of things that I couldn’t even excuse because as a Catholic I had come to know better. It felt as if I lived in the confessional. I had an incredible spiritual director who called me out on all my craziness and asked me all the hard questions because he knew my story and cared so seriously about my salvation.
During all of this, I began the annulment process, which was the topic of my previous post.
Since then I have come to know and love myself, my faith and even this rocky path on which I continue to walk.
Looking around at the world, I know I’m not walking this rocky path alone: so many, many people are hurting.
If you are struggling in your faith, picking up the pieces after a divorce, or just trying to find your way, I encourage you to check out the healing you can find in our Church: confession, adoration, spiritual direction, parish organizations.
Even when you don’t feel like being Catholic — especially then — God is walking right beside you and He wants to lead you home.