My first Christmas as a Catholic was special to me. As I was growing up, I never heard of an Advent season, or an Octave of Christmas. It was the first time I was exposed to Christmas being more than one day and the previous evening. It was wonderful to learn of the entire Christmas season and to celebrate it more fully than I ever had.
My son, Mike, has always been a good artist and likes working with crafts. That year he had taken up beading. I kind of had a feeling that another rosary was in my future. I didn't say anything though. I didn't want to spoil the surprise, or be disappointed if it didn't happen, or make him feel pressured to make me one if I was wrong and he hadn't planned on making one.
Well I didn't have to worry. He did make me one as a Christmas present.
Mike was always a little bit of a manipulator while he was growing up. He still is in ways; but it's not always a bad thing. Mike is a natural leader. He's highly intelligent, much more than I. He and Matthew always beat me in IQ tests, so I stopped trying.
We brought our boys up as good Baptist kids. They both were baptized young, around age six for Mike, four for Matt. Later as they grew older, they realized that they had been too young to really know what baptism was and were rebaptized. I don't remember how old they were that time. (Unfortunately, the older I get, the less I remember. I swear my entire childhood was like it was two grades at school, and two summers long. I have no idea of when anything happened until the summer before high school. And a lot of that is beginning to fade too. That's part of the reason for my blogs---so I don't forget everything.)
When Mike graduated high school, he was planning on becoming an architect. As he was getting ready to go off to college in Dearborn, he announced to me that he was not a Christian, and never had been. When he told me this, I was devastated. I felt that he had been playing us for years just to placate us.
He went off to Lawrence Tech, and I let everyone at church know what had happened and asked for prayer for him. We pray for him communally, and he was added to our weekly prayer list, and I know someone was praying for him every day.
Mike became very lonely at school. Although he had renounced Christ, he was still a very moral young man. As such, he didn't go to the parties. He didn't have a car so he couldn't go anywhere. If he wanted to go anywhere on foot or on his bike, he was very close to some very dangerous territory. Mary and I visited him a few times, once right after that horrible day in 2001, but we couldn't go as often as we have liked. Mike tends to become a little depressed when he's alone, and the isolation at school got to him.
One night, after almost one semester of school, Mike called. He had just gotten off the phone with the associate pastor at our church. After only a few months of intense prayer, Michael had finally accepted the Lord as his savior, and shortly after that told us that he wanted to come back home.
After Mike became a Christian, he had already been equipped with a good Christian education at home and in church, and he went at it whole whole hog. He started reading the Bible which he already knew pretty well, and reading and famous preachers like Jonathan Edwards, and listening to popular speakers like John Piper. He quickly took over leadership roles at church, and he became a challenge to me as I can tend to become complacent.
I found myself actually looking up to both of my sons as they were both on fire for the Lord. Plus at the time I was beginning to question not so much Baptist teaching, but other things that I had felt were sacrosanct, like six literal days of creation vs. long ages of time divided into periods of time called, “days.".
Around 2006 our church decided to rewrite its Constitution and Statement of Faith. This was partly to update things which had to change because of changes in the ways that some missionary agencies work, and to fix spelling, punctuation, and some grammatical errors.
Neither Mike nor I were on this committee, but we both went over it just the same. I had found some things that I had major problems with. Serious enough that if I had to accept this Constitution, I would in all conscience have to resign my membership at the church.
Mike went over the Statement of Faith in more detail than I. He noticed a punctuation error so he went into more detail and looked up every Bible verse listed to make sure that it correctly supported the statement to which it referred.
That was when he first discovered, and showed me for the first time that many of the verses used to support statements, in fact did not support them at all. I began looking at other Baptist statements of faith in print, and online, and found exactly the same thing, using exactly the same verses.
Thus began my journey back to the Catholic Church as further detailed in my testimony available at the link at the top of my blog.
Eventually this also led Mike to leave the church and he drifted for some time. It was hard for him, as he grew up at Grandville Baptist. He met his future wife, Katie, there as kids, and they were married there less than two years ago. For a while I was hoping he would also become a Catholic as it seemed that we were on the same road. However, being a former Catholic, it was easier for me to find my way back after reconciling the things that I had thought were heretical, but I found to be true. Mike went the way of Orthodoxy. I pray that Mike will become Catholic, but if he's not Catholic, Orthodoxy is fine with me.
That was a long way of saying why the rosary that Mike gave me is so special. It represents a very long road of struggle and recovery. Of two prodigals who finally made it home to their Father's welcoming embrace.
© 2010 The Cathoholic - All Rights Reserved.