There is recent news out of Malaysia that the crown prince of Selangor has converted and become a Catholic. The prince, who had all the money and power one could ask for, was known for his hedonistic lifestyle. His conversion came when he met and fell in love with a Spanish model who is Catholic. Let’s pray that his conversion is real and the couple finds the grace and strength they will need to grow up in marriage together.
There is good cause for our hope. The Catholic faith is a long line of sinners who gave up their sinful lives through the grace of God. From the woman at the well, to St. Monica who prayed unceasingly for the conversion of her pagan son St. Augustine, to Oscar Wilde (who converted on his deathbed), to Norma McCorvey – aka Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade, the light our faith can reach the darkest places.
In one sense, this is all of our stories. We all know Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. We are all sinners and conversion to Christianity is a great gift from God. It is the great grace to know you are broken, feeble and can’t make it on your own but that there is a solution, an answer in the person of Jesus Christ.
At the same time this occurred to me I was having a Facebook debate with a protestant pastor friend of mine about the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. It was a long exchange and I brought out all the evidence. However, despite showing it to him ½ a dozen different proofs from scripture, despite quoting to him the writings of the first Christians who learned from the Apostles, despite linking videos showing Eucharist miracles, despite all the evidence – more evidence than would be necessary to prove it in court – he couldn’t see it. He couldn’t believe it. I wrote this to him, “The OT foreshadowed it, the NT teaches it, the first Christians testified to it, the miracles show it, and we (your brothers & sisters in Christ) have experienced it. It’s like God is saying, “WHAT ELSE do I have to do!”
Then it dawned on me how lucky I am to be Catholic. For whatever reason God took pity on me and has shown me His greatest mercy. He didn’t just convert me to Christianity, He let me be Catholic. We have the Eucharist, the real presence of Jesus Christ under the form of bread and wine. What kind of sinner would I be if he hadn’t given me this grace? I can see myself in this protestant pastor. I study, I read, I learn, and I’m pretty confident once I make a decision. What if I had met an on fire evangelical a few years before my faith really deepened? Would I have become convinced of a different truth? Would I have ever been humble enough to open my heart and mind to the overwhelming evidence of the fullness of revelation or would pride have proceeded my fall? Again I realized it is not exactly us who figure these things out. In some mysterious way it is God who empowers us to be open to his Truth. Remember what Jesus told Peter when Peter declared Jesus to be the Christ, “Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 16:17
So be happy and be joyful and be grateful that you are Catholic. You don’t have to be and it is a gift from God if you are. It is the most intimate personal relationship with Jesus a person can have this side of Heaven. Study and learn what is taught and why. And above all go to Mass and go to Communion for it is the food that saves souls.