As a child, my parents sacrificed that I might go to Catholic School from 1st-12th Grade. Even if we were away on a camping trip we would drive 50 miles to go to Mass on the weekend. They would quiz me on the readings on the drive home. Yes, I dreaded that.
Then suddenly as a teenager in College I was free to go to Mass when I chose. Unfortunately I chose to go less often, and then at some point stopped altogether. After a couple years, I started to miss God.
I saw a commercial once for a free video of Jesus. I quick wrote down the number, and had no idea who the "Latter Day Saints" were. They were never a topic of discussion, and I had only heard the term Mormons before in passing. So yes, I started getting some visitors to my home. Although I really liked all the people that I met, I listened to their message with many questions, and a critical ear.
When they came to the point where they told me I needed to get baptized, I proclaimed, ' No I don't, I've already been baptized." "Your baptism was invalid, " they told me. Ok, we definitely have a problem Houston. Of course by this point in time, I was already dating one of them.
I continued to date the Mormon, and pray for God to show me the truth. I was a bit confused, and my feelings for the man I was dating wasn't making it any easier. However, I was still determined to follow the truth. I prayed to God, if you show me the truth, I will surely follow. I even fasted. (which for a 22 year old, not during lent, was extreme for me) For weeks, he tried to convince me that Mormonism was the true way. I know my parents were very nervous, and probably prayed ALOT during this time.
So on Christmas Eve, at Midnight, I was visiting my boyfriend, to celebrate Christmas. For some reason, he turned the TV on to the Pope saying Mass, and promptly fell asleep right there on the floor. Well, it was probably his biggest mistake, but aided in my salvation. God's plan is perfect!
Here was the Pope, in St. Peter's Basilica saying mass over St. Peter's Tomb. I cried through the whole mass. I listened with new ears. The mass was so perfect and complete. Firstly we acknowledge our sin, and ask for Mercy. Then we listen to the readings, and Gospel. Then the Homily, where the priest can inspire based on the scriptures. Then our offering to God and his Church. Our petitions are presented to God, and then we are fed by Him that we may be filled with Grace. The mass contains all the essentials to our healthy relationship with Him in a tight little package called the MASS. We are really wrapping up so much in a mass it's hard to believe. There are so many elements that make our relationship with God stronger within the mass.
Well, needless to say, when my boyfriend woke up, he didn't get a very good Christmas present. I promptly proclaimed that I knew what the truth was, and he was going to need to convert to Catholicism or we were all done. I was resolute and never looked back. Ok, looking back it seems a little harsh, but I had a very clear path in front of me, and I needed to get started. The Catholic Church was founded 2000 years ago, and we have had successive Popes since that time. The Saints, the miracles, the Marian appearances, Eucharistic miracles, and incorruptibles, all opened up to me. I began to study apologetics. I knew that if I was going to be questioned on my faith that I better know the answers.
I knew that the Church and its members had been tested all along. I didn't have to come up with new answers, it had been well studied, and explained. I just needed schooling. I wish I had learned apologetics in my Catholic High School. We read a lot of great books in high school, but I was not prepared to answer questions about my faith on a deeper level. I had the privilege of attending apologetics classes given by Tim Staples, Jessie Romero, and others. I started reading books by Patrick Madrid, and Scott Hahn. The Church became very exciting for me, like an onion, I discovered more with every layer. I studied all the Marian visions of the past, and present. I went on pilgrimages, prayed and fasted. We were called RE-Verts. We weren't converts, because we were already Catholic. As Reverts we had the zeal of a Convert who is just discovering the faith. The people who were most grateful were the patients I cared for. They were in a position of pain and/or fear, and I was acting as a pseudo chaplain as they had their biopsy or tests. Eventually I met my husband on Catholicsingles.com. He of course was grateful that I was revert, because he was a late comer to the faith, being confirmed in college.
Our story is in unique in that I had 3 Christian screening questions for my dates. Pretty much, 98% of the population in my dating pool didn't have the right answers. I tried to pick a time very close to the beginning of meeting someone to get those questions out of the way so I wouldn't wasted my time. Before I had a chance to even ask my future husband my 3 screening questions, he emailed me the very same 3 screening questions! Yes...he Beat me to my own test. I couldn't believe it. I knew we had a good starting place of common morals, and faith, and that was the beginning of our story.
Copyright 2013 Marya Jauregui
About the Author
Marya Hayes is mother to 3 active teens and is a military spouse. Her days consist of running the household and her mini business, and driving her teens daily all over the planet. Her favorite saints include St Francis de Sales, Saint Benedict, Padre Pio, and JPII. Marya enjoys cooking, hiking, and spending time with the family outdoors. Pray, hope, and don’t worry!