A funny thing happened to me on my way to post an article over at George’s first Saturday New Evangelization link up. A reader asked me about my ‘reversion’ experience and the terminology of conversion. I recommended him to George’s page on convert stories and then got hooked reading some amazing testimonies. It’s just breath-taking how the Holy Spirit works, He makes me weep. If you are ever doubtful of the Spirit’s promptings, or wonder if your prayers for conversion work, I’d recommend you read a few of those. The third person of the Trinity is thriving well and blowing winds of miracles across the lives of many, many souls.
My reversion story isn’t nearly as movie-worthy as those that I’ve read, but in case you’re a tad curious about my reversion experience, let me turn back the clock and bring the wheels of time to a stop to an era when Johnny Hates Jazz was on the Billboard Top 40, the scent of Drakkar Noir was floating in the air, and your feet tried to use socks as a buffer for brick-hard Birkenstocks…
I was a boy-crazy Catholic schoolgirl of 16 when a classmate I’d bullied *Anne invited my closest friend, Rose, to a Catholic Charismatic prayer meeting. Note that I wasn’t invited, only Rose was. But since Rose and I were inseparable as the Olson twins, I tagged along. Also note: Rose didn’t need to twist my arm to go since I knew there’d be a band and potential prom dates there.
Anne later admitted to me she cringed at my presence. In fact, now that I think about it, her curls shot straight up when she saw me sauntering in as the drummers and guitarists were tuning up. Anyway, a whole weekend of praise and worship (no organs yay!) and skits about Jesus dying for me and young persons testifying to the power of the Holy Spirit just did it. I gave my life to Jesus, became BFF with my former victim (Hi Anne!) and began reading the Bible.
Please don’t believe the bad rep Charismatics get because that movement inspired by Holy Spirit is singularly responsible for my renewal of the faith, my wake up call --when I realized Church is not about rules and regulations but a deep personal relationship with Jesus. (And sure, I will be sending my children to the Stuebenville 'charismatic' youth conferences when they are of age.) Sadly, though I never left the Catholic Church, I was more interested in Ally Mc Beal and the stalls of Nine West than I was in the pursuit of holiness and staying committed to the Charismatic community. To be honest, my lukewarm Catholic life could be summed up as misery staring blankly into emptiness.
One restless night, I dreamed that I was back in the happiest memory of my spiritual life: dab smack in the middle of praise and worship. The Holy Spirit woke me up in tears because I knew that despite the motions of Sunday Mass and the outward appearance of ambition wrapped in style, I hadn’t become the woman that the 16-year old girl who pledged her life to Jesus, was proud of.
I leafed through the Bible again. With God’s grace, I retraced my steps to the Charismatics, found spiritual direction, went on pilgrimage to Banneaux Belgium and grew into a devotion for daily Mass and love for Our Lady. Most people find Jesus through Mary. I found Mary because Jesus led me to imitate His holy Mother. Though I have been away from the Charismatics for a decade now, it is the Blessed Mother and her spouse the Holy Spirit who are guiding me along the continuing road to sanctification. Because that is what conversions/reversions are supposed to do –make of us saints.
My friends, I’m curious. What was the highlight of your conversion/reversion stories? If you’ve written about it, would you kindly send me the link of how the Holy Spirit woke you up?
*Anne is not my BFF’s real name, and needs to start blogging. She is a talented writer.
P.S. Just in case you hadn’t heard, Pope Francis' message to the Catholic Charismatics in gist is: "Tell them I love them very much. I was responsible for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Argentina..."