Sister St. Aloysius is pouring over her cookie recipes and I finally have time for a visit with you all here.
How is Advent going for everyone? While you mull that over, here's a question from a reader that has been sitting in the queue for some time.
I have a question of sorts. I was raised Church of Christ and my parents are very strong believers. All my friends, except for a couple are Protestant as well and like my parents do not hold the Catholic Church in high regard. This being said, I have been considering RCIA classes lately have felt a very strong pull in my heart to the Catholic Church. I have been to a few RCIA classes and a few masses and I am considering converting but afraid of how my friends and family will take this. I am old enough to make this decision myself, but you know how loved ones can be. Do you have any advice and or possibly a saint that I can call on for intercedence?
Please include the prayer to the saint as I am not Catholic yet.
That's not really a question of sorts. That's a full on question. Of course I have a superb saint for you! And a wonderful prayer!
To some extent you've answered your question yourself. You are old enough to make this decision yourself and you've already made it. The issue is, how difficult is it going to be for you? It sounds like it's not going to be fun. So let's turn to our saint for conversion, the original convert, the first and most famous convert of all time, the one, the only, St. Paul.
I'm hoping you know the story of St. Paul, given that the original Protestant movement was based on his letters and writings in the New Testament. Good old Martin Luther was a huge fan of St. Paul's line of thought and rather beat Paul's words into submission to back up his thesis.
We've all been arguing about it ever since.
The happy news for you is, the whole answer to your question is right in the very thing you asked! A prayer to said saint. Here goes!
Prayer to St. Paul
Patron of Evangelists
O glorious St. Paul, after persecuting the Church you became by God's grace its most zealous Apostle. To carry the knowledge of Jesus, our Divine Savior, to the uttermost parts of the earth
You joyfully endured prison, scourgings, stonings, and shipwreck, as well as all manner of persecutions culminating in the shedding of the last drop of your blood for our Lord Jesus Christ.
Obtain for us the grace to labor strenuously to bring the faith to others and to accept any trials and tribulations that may come our way. Help us to be inspired by your Epistles and to partake of your indomitable love for Jesus, so that after we have finished our course we may join you in praising Him in heaven for all eternity. Amen.
So, as I said, I hope you know the story of St. Paul, a persecutor of Jesus, a man who was holding the coats of the people throwing rocks at the very first martyr, St. Stephen, so their pitching arms would not be hampered, who was knocked from his horse by Jesus who asked "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"
That got his attention. He wandered around blind for a bit, changed his name to Paul and went to work.
The part you may not know, since Protestants don't pay much attention to saints and how they inspire us to have heroic virtue in our lives, is that it wasn't all balloons and giggles for Paul once he made that decision. He was chased and imprisoned (more than once in a no frills 1AD prison), scourged and shipwrecked. I'm sure his family had a few choice words for him, too. Seder that year was probably a bit icy.
So if anyone can guide you through some stony faced family encounters, it will be Paul. And in the prayer, note the words "joyfully endured". Try that on for size.
I'll go a step further for you and suggest that you start a novena. Do you know about those? Basically what you're going to do is say this prayer for nine consecutive days. We like the number nine. Three is the most wonderful number because it's so balanced, three Person in the Holy Trinity. Nine is three, three times. I guess because we are less than perfect, we have to add more threes.
Don't let it worry you. Just say you're prayer for nine days straight and don't give me any guff about forgetting a day. Or when each day you do it. You and St. Paul will make a great team.