I came back to the Roman Catholic Church in March 2017. My return to the Catholic Church was a miracle. One day, I was sitting on my meditation cushion when, in despair over my search for truth and enlightenment, I screamed internally, “Help!” Suddenly, I felt someone walk into the room noiselessly and sit next to me. I knew that it was Jesus Christ. How did I know? I just KNEW. It was such a strong, physical presence. That was most powerful spiritual experience of my life.
The very same day, I began looking for Catholic websites that would help me come back to the Faith. The next day, I began praying the Rosary and I have prayed the Rosary every day without fail. The Rosary saved my life and my soul. Without the help of Our Lady, my return to the Church would have been more difficult and confused.
Background: I was baptised as a Catholic and went to a private Catholic girls’ school run by Belgian nuns from third grade and through high school. Our school’s patron saint was Saint Teresa of Avila. I went to Confession every Friday at school and went to Mass every Sunday. I said the Rosary with my grandmother, my mother and my aunts at home. After high school, we emigrated to the United States. I fell away from the Faith, and that was the end of my Catholic life. I have lived in many other countries since then, but stayed away from the Catholic Church until March 2017.
Delving into Buddhism: I began attending Buddhist meditation classes and joined a Buddhist sangha in 2001. Why did I explore Buddhism? Because I was desperately unhappy. I had reached the pinnacle of my professional life. I earned a very good salary. I had a kind, supportive husband. I asked: “Why am I so unhappy when I have acquired all of the things that society told me would make me happy?” Buddhism provided some of the answers at that time. Buddhist meditation calmed my mind and brought me some measure of peace. I began to have pleasant, peaceful feelings. The despair was gone. I had become more patient with people and more cognisant of my own failings and my need for reform. But, somehow, I still felt a deep emptiness that could not be filled in by reading the Buddhist sutras, attending silent Buddhist retreats or meditating for hours in silence. Something was missing . . . During my unhappy period and my Buddhist period, it never even occurred to me to consider coming back to the Catholic Church. If you had told me, seconds before feeling the presence of Christ while sitting on my meditation cushion, that I would be back in the Catholic Church, I would have told you that you were mad!
Miraculous return to the Catholic Church: Miracles don’t always involve Hollywood-style special effects. Most miracles go by unnoticed because they involve a quiet interior metamorphosis. What happened to me is a miracle. For decades, I had led a very sinful life. I was a very materialistic, greedy person. I cared only for myself. I partied and had a lot of boyfriends. I was a vain woman and I was obsessed about my outward appearance: designer clothes and shoes, and expensive cosmetics. Now, when I look back on my life, I am filled with revulsion. My previous Buddhist practice started the profound changes. I was disgusted by my hedonistic former life and my selfishness. But it was only on the day when I felt the presence of Our Lord, that I understood the full import of my mortal sins. I am happy to say that I have gone to Confession and received Communion many times since that day, and I continue to pray fervently every day, especially the Rosary.
Special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary: I am ashamed to say that after I fell away from the Faith, I made fun of people who prayed to Our Lady and who went on pilgrimages to Fatima and Lourdes. Now, I pray to Our Lady all the time. I talk to her during the course of my day. I ask her to be with me every minute of my day to make sure I don’t fall into error. I beg her to lead me to heaven. I ask her especially to intercede with her Son on my behalf because I have led such a sinful life. I pray the Rosary every day. I can’t do without the Rosary. It’s a lifeline for me.
Why pray in Latin: A few days after I decided to come back to the Catholic Church, I felt a very strong desire to memorise and say my prayers in Latin: the Pater Noster, Ave Maria, Salve Regina, the Angelus, the Rosary. This is the special effort I have decided to make to please Our Lady and Our Lord. Yes, I know, Our Lady and Our Lord spoke Aramaic during their earthly life, but the language of the Catholic Church is Latin. The saints prayed in Latin. The Catholic Church has sacred traditions that have lasted through the centuries, and Latin prayers are part of that tradition. I want to preserve it and make it alive. Latin is a beautiful language and it is the basis of a language I learned and love to speak (and write) – French.
Why I am a traditionalist: I love the sanctity of Latin Mass and the beauty of Latin prayers. I find modern Masses (with guitars and weird stuff going on) quite sacrilegious. Give me the pre-1955 Missal any day! I love Gregorian chant and Baroque music. Liturgy that has survived and thrived for 1500 years contains profound truth and wisdom that liturgy invented in the swinging ’60s does not. In my search for Catholic websites, I have discovered that the ones that have deepened my faith, are those that respect and promote tradition (see the Blogs I Follow section).
Why I am writing this blog: To help others who are considering a return to the Catholic Faith; to express my opinions about what’s going on in the world and in the Church from a traditional Catholic point of view; to review books that have helped deepen my faith; to discuss other issues worth talking about.