Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The end is the beginning

1990 marked the end of the Bowling Green years, as I finally graduated from college after taking the six year route. It was the end of the FCS years for me. FCS was the center of my spiritual life for a couple of years, and I loved the people. 1990 also marked the end of my relationship with many of them, as we all scattered to the four winds, never to be as close again as we once were.

My parents had gotten heavily involved in the charismatic movement in the Catholic Church. Part of that involvement included attending a large conference at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, and I benefitted from the "conference high" that usually settles in after such highly emotional events, as they offered to pay my way to a young adults conference later in the summer.

For students at the school, Franciscan University is the center of the Catholic universe. The school has positioned itself as a beacon of light, a standard of orthodoxy in troubled times, the picture of what dynamic, living Catholicism should look like. I attended the conference with Karl Keating and Scott Hahn's defense of Catholicism fresh in my mind, and the need for a fresh spiritual vision to plant itself in my soul.

I'm a cradle Catholic, OK? I've been through confirmation, first Communion, boring Masses, guitar Masses, and hours and hours of catechism and religion classes. Anyone who is actually reading this blog knows that I have seen it all. But I wasn't expecting the Masses at this conference to have such an effect on me. You've heard the stereotype that Catholics can't sing? Someone forgot to tell Steubenville. The singing was rich and hearty, the devotion was heartfelt and ran deep. My experience at Mass was everything my heart knew it could be but my experience knew it never would be. I may not be able to see God, but I could sure see the ripples in the pond as he stuck his finger in the water.

When I returned to Bowling Green after the conference, I came back with a conviction. Biblical Christianity? Catholic Church. Case closed.


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