By: Becky Carter
It should have been the happiest day of my life. And, it was — until I made the phone call home. It started with the excitement of, “I am engaged! I am getting married!” and ended heavily with, “Do you denounce the Catholic Church? You know you are giving up your rights to heaven?”
I was born into a Catholic family. We went to Mass every Sunday and most Holy Days of Obligation. I received all my Sacraments, went to Catholic school from kindergarten through 12th grade, but I just didn’t get it. And to be honest, by the time I graduated from high school, I couldn’t care less. I was far more interested in parties, friends, and fun. I saw no place for the Church and its rules in my life. I truly did not know what it meant to be a child of God, and I was looking for God’s love in all the wrong places. I was raised in the times when catechesis was … well … somewhat less than on point. I was a “cultural Catholic” who had not allowed Jesus to change my heart. My parents had given me the Faith, sent me to Catholic schools and did all the other things they knew how to do. They really gave me the best gift possible by keeping me in the sacraments, but I definitely didn’t understand the value of that gift.
While I was distancing myself from the Faith in high school, my parents were having a deep conversion back to it. My dad attended a life-changing retreat called Cursillo and suddenly wanted our family to say the Rosary together on a daily basis. My brother and I were weirded out and begged him, “Just don’t become a deacon.” Well, we must have had the gift of prophecy, because guess what happened about eight years later? He became a deacon! God does have a sense of humor.
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