Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The tale continues . . .

So, to pick up where I left off in my last post (which, incidentally, was also my first post), as I started out at Harvard in the fall of 2003 I was looking forward to deepening my Christian faith in a decidedly non-Catholic context. When my parents dropped me off at school, they visited the Harvard Catholic Student Center and reported back to me that it was very nice. They also gave me several fliers they had picked up about the Catholic Student Association, which I quickly made a point of losing.

I decided to try out Christian Impact (Harvard's chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ) basically because they were the first Christian group I saw at the Freshman Activities Fair and because they hosted a barbecue, which seemed promising. After a few Bible studies and a large group meeting, however, I didn't really feel like I fit in there, and so I quietly stopped attending and slipped into a semester-long period of total spiritual apathy. I didn't go to church, I didn't really pray, and I sometimes had to actually speak or write the words "I AM A CHRISTIAN" just to try to reassure myself.

I am firmly convinced that God came to my rescue at the beginning of my second semester of college by leading me to audition for Under Construction, Harvard's Christian a cappella group, which really ended up defining my college career. In UC, I found a loving and dynamic group of incredibly faithful, thoughtful, intelligent Christians for whom the call to follow Christ was a constant reality. My time in UC strengthened my faith and my desire to spend my life serving God more than any other single experience in my life thus far.

Through the members of UC, I was also introduced to the Harvard-Radcliffe Christian Fellowship and Highrock Church, both of which helped me to grow in love and knowledge of God.

Between UC, HRCF, and Highrock, I was fairly well entrenched in the Evangelical Protestant Christian culture and mindset. I attended Catholic Mass only very rarely, and I wouldn't have identified myself as really a Catholic if you had asked me. And yet I never totally disbelieved many of the Catholic teachings that Protestants traditionally reject. With respect to Christ's Real Presence in the Eucharist, for instance, I could say to myself, Why couldn't He be there if He wanted to be? Though I still didn't come close to fully understanding many Catholic teachings, I never rejected them outright.

Nor, for some reason, was I ever able to formally renounce my Catholicism. While some of my friends were becoming members of Highrock, a church that I loved, something inside of me always held me back, telling me not to give up my Catholic identity so easily. Though at the time this little voice seemed to be nothing but a nuisance, today I am deeply grateful that it was there.

It wasn't until the spring of my senior year that I felt any serious tug back towards the Catholic Church. I don't remember precisely when it started, but God tugged hard! All of a sudden, I felt strongly convicted that the Catholic Church was where I belonged. I started going to Mass on weekday mornings, stopping in St. Paul's Catholic Church in the afternoons to pray, listening to Catholic radio, and reading Catholic books. During Lent I made my first confession since the eighth grade. I was back in full force, as they say.

I suppose this is still just the beginning of my story. Ever since God pulled me firmly back into the Catholic Church, I've had a strong desire to help others to experience the incredible depths of truth and beauty that I've found here. Perhaps that's what this blog is about. I'm quite sure that's what my life is about, and it's just getting started.

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