Hello all! I'm a Candidate in this year's RCIA process and a new member to this community, so I thought I'd introduce myself. I'm actually in the process of writing up my RCIA journey in a very, very, very long entry to be posted in my LJ on Easter, but I'll do my best to summarize here.
I was baptized Catholic as an infant, but was raised non-denominational with a bit of Quaker influence. Especially after my period of spiritual questioning in high school, I was perfectly fine with being a non-denominational Christian. Who am I to decide what the truth is, right? It's the big picture that matters, I thought.
I started attending mass when I met my sweetheart over 6 years ago. That first year, I went through most of the RCIA process and declined. It wasn't the right time, I suppose. Ever since then, he's been lightly encouraging me to reconsider. Last summer, he convinced me to agree to sign up again, and along with encouragement from a church friend (now my sponsor), I actually followed up on that promise (we're in a long-distance relationship, so he couldn't be here to make sure I actually signed up like I said I would).
At first I was pretty sure I was wasting my time and getting others' hopes up for nothing because I wasn't going to convert. My pride in my own personal interpretations of scripture blinded me from looking at God's word with an open mind and open heart. My very first hurdles were sola scriptura and sola fida. My non-denominational upbringing was heavily Protestant-oriented, so I had never questioned those concepts before. Once I began to really think about origins, history, and authority, I was able to open my mind to consider things I had previously rejected off-hand.
What really converted me was Holy Communion. I had read about the Eucharist before, but I had never really got it. One Sunday in October, I started bawling in church because I finally understood what I was witnessing. What a powerful experience and a wonderful gift! I knew then that I wanted to become Catholic, and I can't wait until Easter so that I may become part of it all!
I've come a long way since September, but I still have a long way to go. I've been soaking up information and reading lots of books, so posts like the previous one here with comments are very useful. I'm learning huge amounts of information that I'm actually shocked I spent my whole life as a Christian not knowing. I was never taught any of this stuff, but it's all so important. The more I learn, the more excited I get. Even better, the more I know, the more I'm able to appreciate the beauty in it all. I'm in love with the Church, and I'm pretty sure I'm becoming a theology geek. ;)
When I signed up for RCIA classes in August, I was convinced that I was taking this on at exactly the wrong time because I'm going through a crazy-busy period of my life right now. Now, I'm convinced that this is exactly the right time. It's a huge challenge and a constant struggle, but I can see my life changing as I try to reorient myself to put God and my faith at the center of my life. Prayers help greatly, such as the rosary, which I'm still in the process of learning. Any prayers you wish to offer would be welcomed and appreciated!
Thank you all for giving me a chance to tell my story-in-progress. God bless you all, and have a very joyous Christmas!