How is it possible that someone who grew up Catholic, went to Catholic school all her life, was educated by strict nuns, read the Catechism of Pope Pius X last year after returning to the Church, and has been doing a LOT of spiritual reading in order to deepen her faith, has on at least two occasions totally blew it when it came to trying to convert (gently) her non-Catholic husband? It would be utterly tragic if it weren’t so funny.
In my defense, the chances I’ve had of evangelising and converting came in the form of a series of ambushes (accompanied by heavy artillery) from the my significant other.
(1) ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) with nuclear warhead: the Trinity
This query about the Trinity came in the form of an ICBM, least appropriately, over a lunch of ramen noodles in tiny, hot noodle bar. The question posed to me by Dear Husband (DH) was about the Trinity.
“What’s the deal with the Trinity? If the Son came from the Father, why didn’t the Father just speak as if he were the Son? Why did the Son talk about His Father when HE is HE, that is, they are the same?” DH asked.
I explained that indeed they are one essence although they are not one person, but three persons – not like three human persons, although one of them has a human nature. I explained further: the Holy Ghost hovered like a dove over Our Lord at his baptism and came to the Apostles, the Virgin Mary and the disciples at Pentecost.
Second ICBM lobbed at me by DH: “Why if he is the Son of God, or God himself did He get baptised by a mere human, St. John the Baptist?” My answer: “Ehhhh . . . ” followed by loud slurping of noodles . . . “Ehhh because He well . . . wanted to set an example.”) Disaster. Floundering on the sea of ignorance, me, cradle Catholic. Very embarrassed. Our Lord has a right to expect better from me and I just failed.
Result: When I got home, I opened “The Catechism Explained by Fr. Spirago” and read about the Trinity, and I’m better informed, but I still cannot explain it in a way that will satisfy DH or anyone who is deeply skeptical about the existence of God in the first place, as is DH.
(2) Short range missile: did the Blessed Virgin Mary ever get baptised?
Oh dear, that’s a good one. I never even thought of that. This short-range missile was fired by DH from the other side of a table at a French restaurant as we were enjoying a main course of beef cheek simmered in red wine. We had already gone through half a bottle of very good Burgundy. I’m a lightweight when it comes to alcohol, so I was tipsy when I was attempting to plumb the depths of my memory about the BVM’s baptism: no, I don’t recall there ever having been any mention of the BVM’s baptism, but I do know why she didn’t have to be baptised. Let me see . . . why exactly is that? My memory fails me. I just know. Clock is ticking. DH is staring at me, smiling, “Gotcha!”is going through his head.
So this is what I said: “Well, there is a Baptism of Desire . . . ” I knew the second after these words came out of my mouth that it was a big FAIL. DH laughed heartily. I could see from his expression and discern from his laughter that he thinks Catholicism is totally wacky.
I’m suddenly plunged into a deep sorrow, while savouring the beef cheek stewed in red wine. My glass is starting to empty and DH fills it with more wine. There won’t be any more discussions about the BVM (or indeed the Trinity) tonight!
Only later (once the alcohol has worn off) did I remember that the BVM was born without original sin, hence, no need for baptism. Hey, why didn’t the fine bottle of Burgundy insert that answer into my head at the moment the short range missile was fired at me?
On both occasions, my Jewish husband got terrible answers from me and as a result, I don’t think he is any closer to converting to Catholicism. However, he does love the old beautiful churches of Rome, the works of Michelangelo and Fra Angelico and Massacio, Gregorian chant, Baroque music, especially the cantatas of Bach, Matthaeus Passion, Weihnachtsoratorium, . . . there is hope!
I do pray for his conversion everyday, and I try to live my life as an example of a good Catholic. Hopefully, he will convert.