About five years ago, my wife and I were received into the Catholic Church along with our children. It was one of the happiest days of my life and is a moment that people are often curious to hear about. More precisely, they're curious about what exactly happened in the years before to lead us there. I'd love to be able to give a brilliant, intellectual explanation of my thought-process and how I'm super courageous and smart, but instead I tend to furrow my brow and stammer, "It's a long story. It's, uh, hard to explain."
The problem is, my conversion isn't complete yet. Not that I have any doubts. Far from it. But the Church is less an intellectual proposition to be mastered so much as she is a poem to be read. She's less a notion in a book and more a mother for whom my love grows daily. It's so hard to explain what finally convinced me to enter the Church other than to say that the truth I found is in the eyes of my Savior when He gazes upon me, and He hasn't stopped looking at me yet.
Our Lord looks at His Church, also, and loves her. What else can I do than love the Church, too? Even when we don't understand, love never fades. In the meantime, though, I do want to understand!
Catholic culture is so broad and expansive that even though my family and I have jumped into the deep end without hesitation, there's so much to learn about simply living a Catholic-shaped life. Although our faith finds its source and summit in the Mass, it encompasses every moment of every day, and I have so many questions. How does a Catholic behave as a parent? What traditions should we have in our homes? What about the myriad decisions I make every day about how to dress, what television to watch, how to spend my money?
My children have questions, too. What is Jesus' middle name? Why does Mary always wear blue? Was Jesus good at potty training? Now that they've been asked, I want to know the answers to these questions, too.
It may seem overwhelming, to have so many questions, but that's not how I look at it. To me, it means that every day in our lives is an adventure. The happiness and joy of knowing God has no limit. It spills over into our everyday lives in surprising and strange ways, revealing that God has soaked the world with His grace. Every day, we get to uncover just a little bit more.
We all still have a lot of growing up to do. That's good news because it means the future is wide open.
Father Michael Rennier is parochial administrator of Epiphany of Our Lord Parish in St. Louis. A former Anglican priest, he was ordained in 2016 under a pastoral provision for the reception of Anglicans and Episcopalians into full communion with the Catholic Church. He and his wife, Amber, have five children.