Why I am a Catholic: An interesting and informative conversion story.

I’ve often told my friends that although I lived for a long time on the outside of the sacramental life, my conversion to the Catholic Church began when I was about seven years old. I was raised in an old Presbyterian establishment. I was blessed in this upbringing, and I learned many things that have stood me in good stead.

But as Chesterton puts it, all children everywhere are born wanting to be Catholics; their natural tactile and imaginative impulses, which ought to be molded into the fruition of integrated worship in the Mass, have to be trained out of them by means of deliberate restraint in Protestant households. I think it’s true; thuribles and light streaming through stained glass, and kindly images like family photographs, and the solemn genuflection before the Presence are just the sorts of things that children think are terribly important.

And, as is often the case with children, natural impulses for liturgical worship and the material means of grace reflect the kind of profound truth that Aquinas carefully explains in his Summa Theologiae: the human person’s faith is united to his body; thus, Christ’s provision of the material sacraments is the greatest sort of gift for our faith. Humanity acquires intellectual knowledge through the senses; therefore, sensible signs are aptly used to signify spiritual things.

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