Apr 26, 2017

A Case for Patience and Praise

When my husband and I were first married, we attended RCIA classes.  I had been poorly catechized growing up and he was Southern Baptist and wondered WHY we had to go to my church every Sunday.  I didn’t know the answers, and thus…we took the classes.  For me it was GREAT!!  It opened my eyes to why I was claiming to be Catholic and reaffirmed my belief that I needed to be in “my” church every Sunday, not every OTHER Sunday.  At the end of the classes, he had not been swayed to convert, but appreciated the fact that I felt more convicted than ever to practice my Catholic faith.

One image I’ve always taken from that class was a married couple in their 70’s.  He was finally converting after all those years.  She didn’t seem exceptionally excited, but sat there quiet and calm.  I recognize it now as divine trust.  She just KNEW he would end up coming to the Faith one day, you could just tell.

Fast-forward a few years for us…babies coming and the journey of parenthood has begun.  We were in a town where the local Catholic church was not a good one.  My husband, used to the preacher feeding you spiritually with his words, was starving.  In desperation, I reluctantly agreed to attend church services twice on Sundays, one at the Catholic church and one at the Baptist church (which happened to be across the street from each other).  It wasn’t easy.  Church in general isn't easy when you have two little boys and you’re a new mother.  You have expectations of church behavior that just isn’t possible for a toddler and a baby.  The Baptist church had a nursery, but I hated leaving my baby with someone I didn’t know.  You couldn’t bring them into the main sanctuary because as soon as they made one little peep, the “why isn't that baby in the nursery” stares started boring through you.

That set-up didn’t last long.

Suffice it to say that we’ve been through a rocky spiritual journey in our almost-18 years of marriage.  I’ve been pushy with the Catholic faith in the past, but I learned better.  He’s never been one to be public and forthcoming with his spiritual journey, and that’s been difficult for me. (I LOVE talking religion!). I’ve fought resentment as I believed the father is *supposed* to be the spiritual head of the household.  He’s endured spiritual deserts as he accompanied me and the children week after week and year after year to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days.

He didn’t have the Eucharist to fall back on, you see.  For my husband, it was more about the man giving the homily, and most of the Catholic priests were NOOOO Baptist preacher!

As the years went by, we moved to a town and finally found a Catholic parish where there was reverence for the Holy Mass and Eucharist, the priest is a wonderful homilist, and the people automatically feel like family.  This past year, my husband’s job changed, and he worked a “normal” 8-5 M-F schedule.  We had never had this luxury for most of our marriage, and it allowed him to commit to attending Mass with us every Sunday.  I suggested that he just go to the RCIA classes while we were in Sunday school.  No pressure.  Promise.  

All through the year, I hadn’t asked him more than “How was your class?”  Sometimes he would open up and talk about the people in his class, the questions they had and even some questions he had.  I didn’t prod too much.  It wasn’t until the week before the Rite of Election that I asked him, “What’s the deal??  Are you going to do this or not?  Because it’s next weekend when you stand up before the Bishop and ask him to accept you, and you haven't told me anything yet.  And I have things on the calendar already for Saturday that I’ll need to change if you’re going to do it, so are you going to do it?”  (All that came out in about 3.2 seconds.)

“I am.  I am going to do it.”

**Cue tears and hugs from wife.**

Years ago I gave his conversion over to the Holy Spirit.  I knew that it would never be able to come from me or anything I said or pushed.  It was going to come more from how I lived my faith than anything else. (No pressure!)

If you are struggling with a similar issue, I beg you to be patient, trust in God, and leave it up to His time.

Because He is all-wise and all-good.

Please welcome Bryan Anderson…Home.  And all Glory be to God!

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