Inverse reasoning: How corruption in the Catholic Church proves that its claims and teachings are not only valid, but true.

First, in this stage of the process, I think it is helpful to read the stories of other converts.  It helps you feel less alone.  I also think you’ll be struck, as I was struck, at how certain themes recur with uncanny regularity.  In this vein, I highly recommend picking up Blessed John Henry Newman’s Loss and Gain, which is a fictionalized account of Newman’s own conversion to Catholicism in mid-nineteenth century England.  I, at least, was blown away by how the issues confronting the potential Catholic convert in Newman’s day were virtually identical to those of our own.  Some of the conversations and situations recounted in the book could almost have been lifted from experiences Nikki and I had.  It’s also worth checking out books like The Catholic Church and Conversion by G.K. Chesterton, Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberly Hahn, and any of the others we’ve listed on our resource page.

These books, in addition to helping you feel less alone, will also help you feel less like you’re crazy.  This was something I really struggled with myself.  I kept asking myself, “Do I just have some kind of unhealthy need for certainty?  Bunches of people I know and love don’t seem to have any problem with not having great answers to what’s so special about going to worship services on Sunday, what the point of having a minister is, etc.  Maybe I’m just a nutjob.”  Reading all these conversion stories, however, and seeing people struggling (throughout time and space) with the very same issues that I struggled with helped to confirm what I knew deep within me anyway–that it wasn’t “unhealthy” or a weird “psychological tic” to want compelling, non-confusing answers to basic questions about my faith.

Second, I think it’s important to be attuned to what I’ll call the “intangible” signs pointing in the direction of Rome.  We’re not solely intellectual creatures, and I don’t believe that it’s possible to make it all the way to the Church on the basis of pure logic.  For me, as I got closer to the Church, I could look back over the course of my life and identify specific friendships, events, and other circumstances that I had great difficulty explaining as anything other than the workings of God’s grace, leading me Home.  I had a stark choice:  either all of those circumstances were the product of extreme coincidence or God was calling me to the Catholic Church.  And my belief in coincidence only goes so far.

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