I love conversion stories. They are testimonies to God’s grace, His patience, His love, His mercy. They are stories of people whose lives changed direction when they said, “Yes” to God’s call.
Here is the story of William (Bill) May, a new friend of mine.
By the way, I would love to share YOUR conversion story with others. Send it to me and I will post it to my blog, with links from my various FaceBook accounts.
♫ Here I am, Lord ♫
Until eighteen years ago, my life journey had not included God. I was a sometime Baptist or Methodist, occasional deist, an often agnostic who wasn’t interested in inviting God into my life. After all, life was going pretty good so why complicate things. Oh, I attended Mass sporadically with my wife Frances, and I honored my prenuptial instructions in the Catholic Church by not objecting to her raising the children Catholic. On three different occasions I even started RICA Classes, each time dropping out on some pretense. Additionally, there were a number of other Catholic “distractions” that made it convenient to stay away and not actually inquire.
The devil’s job is easy. If you don’t start your faith journey, he wins, no matter what.
I’m not sure just when I lowered my crossed arms and allowed my journey towards Christ to begin. There wasn’t a huge awakening, where all of a sudden I saw the light fell to my knees and accepted Christ as my Savior—it was subtler than that; a thought here, a question there, all leading towards the realization that something was missing in my life and that I did need help.
My son Will toyed with the idea of Fundamentalism and I witnessed two close friends we respected lay hands upon him as a minister prayed for him. Will stepped back from the edge and dove into Catholic research devouring books and tapes. He and my wife became my spiritual leaders.
One day I realized that I wanted what my brothers and sisters in the Catholic faith had. This time when I started RCIA Classes, I finished. There were still trying moments. I actually said to the class leader, “The only reason I’m attending classes is that it is the price that I have to pay to become a Catholic”. On another occasion my statement was something along the line, “I just want to join the Church; I don’t want to do anything.” I’ll not bore you with my other dumb remarks. Just know, though, God showed great patience with me for sixty-one years and every day in my morning and evening prayers I thank Him.
During late summer of 1997 (the year I joined the Church) I noticed in the Church bulletin a call for an 8th grade Religious Education teacher. It was written that if they didn’t find a person, they would have to cancel the class. My Parish, Saint Paul the Apostle, is very large and I didn’t see how they would have trouble finding a teacher. However, for three straight weeks, the same call was in the bulletin; uh, oh, was God calling me?
In Mass one morning we sang the song, Here I am, Lord, and the words in the refrain go, Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord? I have heard You calling in the night. I will go Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart. For four years I’ve was the 8th grade Religious teacher. It was a labor of love and growth. I don’t know if the classes learned much, but I know that I benefited beyond my wildest imagination.
Cradle Catholics take for granted things that I’m just learning. My faith journey is real, personal, and includes my Lord, my Savior, my Friend, and my Brother, Jesus Christ. I now know that it is through Jesus that I come to God a repentant sinner who tries daily to become a better person. I’m getting better because I have God as my coach and He never lets us down. Never!
When my son told me that I should attend a Cursillo weekend I filled out the application and went. My attitude going was, “What the heck, it won’t hurt me, and perhaps I’ll learn something”. Little did I know what was in store for me? As I look back on my journey to Christ, and now with God, I can now see all of the signs placed along my way for me to know He was there with me. I just wasn’t willing to use my eyes to see or my ears to hear. My Cursillo was a weekend of sign, after sign, after sign. Only this time, I was looking for them.
♫ Is it I, Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart. ♫
With Christ, we are an overwhelming majority!