Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Best Gift

Yesterday Frank gave me perhaps the best Valentine's gift I could have received, and he didn't even realize it until later.

You see, dear readers, there is something I haven't told you about in all the happiness and excitement over my relationship with Frank. Something has been bothering my heart. A little thing, but enough to cast a dark and persistent shadow over our sunny joy.

Frank isn't Catholic. Or rather, he is a Catholic in what he jokingly calls "very bad standing." Frank was baptized Catholic as an infant but his parents left the faith when he was a toddler. He was raised in a Protestant church.

But Frank is a seeker of truth and a passionate lover of Christ. And as many of us believe, the place where Christ and the Truth intersect is in the Catholic Church.

Before he had even met me, Frank began his journey home. Independently of the rest of his family, Frank left the church of his childhood. He read the early Church Fathers and became Anglican. Before we even started dating, he was reading Catholic authors and conversion stories. His eager mind was seeking the place where his faith in Christ could finally come to rest.

When we first started dating three weeks ago, his mind was not made up. And I was full of hesitation. My faith is so important to me. It's central to who I am as a person. I had always promised myself that I would never marry someone who wasn't Catholic. Was it safe to even date someone who didn't share this most fundamental thing with me?

He too had his hesitations. Can you imagine how hard it would be to get used to Mary and the saints if you didn't know them growing up? And the Real Presence in the Eucharist? What about the supremacy of the Holy Father? It must have bewildering for him. I'm sure it sometimes seems to him as though I'm speaking a strange and foreign language when I talk about my faith. Novena prayers and Tridentine Masses and patron saints and Memorare campaigns - we Catholics live in a whole different religious universe.

But my Frank is as brave as he is smart. He has read and studied and prayed. I have prayed a whole lot too, and beseeched my friends and family members to pray. I asked all the saints in Heaven and especially Matthew for their intercession. And yesterday, he said it. He's made up his mind. It's official. Frank is going to enter the Church.

John Henry Newman, Frank's patron
Readers, I don't even know if I can convey to you the measure of my happiness today. I hoped for this, I prayed for this, but I hardly dared to let myself imagine it. I wanted it so badly but didn't dare assume it would come to pass - and certainly not so quickly. Yet here it is. Before yesterday, it seemed unfair to Frank and me that God would make us so compatible and then separate us because of our religious difference. And now it looks as though that religious difference will be no more.

Of course the process is just beginning. There is a lot that Frank has yet to learn, although he has already covered so much ground - the things he knows and does never fail to impress me. For example, he actually went and bought himself his own Daily Roman Missal, just like mine, so he can learn about the Liturgy and do the daily Mass readings too! But despite his studying, we both know the process will be a long one. He has to make his First Confession and First Communion, and he needs to be confirmed. He might have to go through RCIA. This is all so new. We're not sure yet where to start.

But for now, all I know is that he said it. He desires it. He is willing and eager to return to the Faith. We will be able to go up to Communion together instead of me leaving him in the pew week after week.

I know the road ahead is a long one and there is still a lot he will have to overcome. But readers, all I can think of is that line from the Bible, a line so old, beautiful and true - "I have told you this... so that your joy may be complete." And today, it is.


  1. This love story via the blog world just keeps getting better and better! Thank you for sharing! I AM so excited!

  2. What a beautiful story, Tess. As St. Jerome would say, all things are possible to those who believe.

  3. Congratulations to Frank! I'll be keeping him in my prayers. God bless!

  4. I wrote you once before and told you that I believed your writting and your ability to describe your beliefs and emotions are exceptional. I am writting today on a different subject.
    Over fifty years ago I was a young man who was baptised a Catholic, but had not attended church for over nine years. Then I met this wonderful Catholic woman who was devoted to her religion. Her devotion led me back to the church and made me again know the joy of a belief and love of God. We met in August and married in November. The first of our four children was born just over a year later, and our life together has been one of joy and love. Not an easy life but with two of us going in the same direction and trusting each other we have endured. We now have nine grandchildren and one great grandson. Life is very good. Your story of you and Frank touched me. I wish the best for the two of you. If it works out may you have a wonderful life. The story touches me because you see my name is Frank too.

  5. Wow... What an amazing coincidence! God is good. I'm so grateful you found my blog and thank you so much for sharing your story!