[Free Friday] The man from U.N.C.L.E. and a concern about "bait and switch" [Serious]

I converted, as I've mentioned, last Easter. I delayed it for a while, in large part because I wanted the exact same thing you're talking about here. I wanted to be the wisdom of Pope Benedict, the strength of Maximilian and Moses.

In essence, I didn't want to let the Church down. I didn't want to let Jesus down. My thought process was, "Hey, I'm a totally shitty Christian, but that's okay, because someday I will be Catholic and that will fix everything." So I delayed and postponed (and sinned more and more), while paradoxically awaiting that magic moment when I'd be immaculately sanctified and "worthy" and "ready" to answer the Church.

Even reading that now, I can't believe how dumb I was. Adult converts are great and wonderful, but the normal way to enter the Church is as a soft-headed tiny being who poops themselves and can't do much of anything - in short, most Catholics become Catholics as babies. Innocent and beautiful, yes, but not really having much to "offer."

Saints are made, nay, are forged. They don't just happen. And the Church is the armory that prepares you for that forging. The Church is Christ's Bride, absolutely, but we forget that Christ was a carpenter that walked everywhere and ate with the poor and prostitutes. If the Husband is going to be grungy and dirty (physically, though of course not morally or spiritually), then why do we expect the wife to be any different?

I came to realize that I was missing the point of the Church. "The Church is a hospital for sinners, not a gallery of saints." It's kind of pithy and trite because it is repeated so often, but really think about that and meditate on it. Waiting for your cancer to pass to go to the hospital? Really? Waiting for the War to be won before reporting for duty? That doesn't make any sense.

At the end of the day, what held me back, and is probably holding you back, is pride. If you come into the Church but still sin, then that means you aren't "good." You're not a saint. You have a long way to go. And that isn't comfortable to admit. The world rebels against Christ because most people in the world don't want to admit it. There are various crises in the Church because even Catholics don't want to admit it.

I think Calvinists get one thing right, though they take it too far. We are not "good". At least, certainly, not compared to God. If you wait around to be "good", you will die outside of the Church. You will die waiting.

To return, in conclusion, to myself. After entering the Church, I was downright saint-like. My prayers were focused, my joy was palpable and infectious, my life became so organized and on track. It was a special grace, it really was. For about 6 or 7 months after baptism, I was doing great.

And then, of course, being human, I fell again. And again. And again. I'm hitting up Confession later, because I've fallen over and over again in an embarrassing amount of different ways.

But as Saint Paul writes, where there is sin, grace abounds. And in my weakness, I am strong. I love my sins, now. Not for what they are, or the pain the bring to my life, and others', but because of how the glory of Christ is made manifest in their forgiveness. Christ waits on the Tabernacle for you, because He doesn't want to make you wait one fraction of a second for him. Remember that you're not perfect, and flee into the loving arms of the One who is.

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