To say that the journey of faith is an interesting and challenging journey is perhaps one of the greatest understatements that can be made by anyone. How can it be anything but interesting and challenging? It is, after all, a journey into the heart and mind of God.
It’s a journey that begins with the premise that trusting in God’s ability takes precedence over any ability that I may possess. It’s a journey that takes into graceful consideration my own inability and fallibility. It is a journey of continual discovery, of continual conversion. Then, one eventual day, the journey as we now know and understand it concludes on the same note that it began with.
Then, even and especially then, what seems to be the conclusion of life is only a beginning, a brilliant and new beginning of consummate union and fulfillment in the Very Source of our being. This ultimate union and fulfillment is, I believe, the hope and goal of all believers in Christ regardless of their denominational affiliation.
It’s really a shame, considering that the whole of Christendom shares in this single hope and goal, that so many wedges pry Christ’s Body apart. A lot of wedges have been cast since the Reformation. Not just wedges that separate Protestants from Catholics, but also wedges that separate Protestants from Protestants.
Christian people have their differences of opinions about certain matters of faith and doctrine. Maintaining and furthering differences of opinions has a way of necessitating the forging of larger and heavier wedges. It’s wise to remember that the deeper a wedge is driven into a block of wood the harder it is to remove it. Even if it is removed it always has a way of leaving behind a gaping scar.
Hammering wedges is not on my list of intentions. Christ’s Church is already badly fractured and scarred enough. But, at the same time, I cannot but speak and write objectively and with integrity about my own personal faith journey, one that was for a lot of years deeply involved in the Protestant faith realm before my conversion to Catholicism.
This was a conversion that did not happen in an instant. It wasn’t a change made in haste. It came only after years of study, prayer, and discernment. It came only after a long season of “counting the cost.”
I owe a lot to my former life as a Protestant and I give credit to every teacher and mentor that I had along the way. I consider, at this point in my faith journey, that the sum of the various parts of my Protestant experience were preparatory for the day when I, with my Baptist background wife beside me, would be confirmed in the Latin Rite.
This journey of faith, in many respects, has only just begun. It’s a journey replete with all the inherent aspects of a life-long love affair. It’s not a fickle romance based on infatuation and changing emotions. It’s deep, soul and marrow deep. It involves the intellect but transcends the capacities of intellect to anticipate and enter into Divine Mystery where faith becomes unclouded sight, where I am better able to “see as I am seen” and “know as I am known.”
So here’s a toast to all the miles and memories that reach back to the days of my earliest memories. And, looking ahead at the miles that are hidden within the misty Cloud of Unknowing, I follow the toast with a prayer looking forward to God’s continued grace and guidance.