Today is the Feast Day of St. Augustine, and while I don’t normally pay too close attention to Feast Days of Saints, other than my favorite Saints, I came across this clever blog post from Father Mark M Osa:
I like St. Augustine because his story of conversion is nothing short of amazing. And I have a fondness for his mother, St. Monica, who prayed unceasingly for his repentence and conversion. I know what it’s like to see the people you love continue to make poor decision after poor decision, and her patience and confidence in the faith to help turn her wayward husband and son around is an example.
I chuckled at #2, but it was #5 on the list that really spoke to my heart:
As Augustine matures, so does his perspective on God, Faith & the Church. I believe that many young people claim agnosticism without realizing this is part of maturation. I think they are turned away by Catholics who have had an easier time at their faith, not realizing that this Negative Way is part of Spiritual Maturation.
I was born a lapsed Catholic and made it through my First Communion, but gave up on the whole thing before I was Confirmed. I was too sophisticated and smart as a teenager to believe in the hooey of the Church, and I saw religion in general as the root of the world’s problems. People were too judgmental and hypocritical. The rules were too confining and arbitrary. So I decided one day that I was an agnostic. Not an atheist–I was hedging my bets in case there really was a God.
Years later, after trying on the mantle of Southern Baptist (talk about judgmental–I left that particular church when I was informed that my AIR FORCE ISSUED UNIFORM SKIRT was too revealing.) and United Methodist, and after suffering through several traumatic experiences, I found myself seeking out the base chaplain, a priest, and it was through his compassion that I found the peace and comfort I had been looking for.
So I became Catholic again.
It was a few more years before I was Confirmed finally in the Church, and that day is still at the top of my list of highlights of my life. Had I not had my doubts when I was younger, and had I not allowed myself to seek what I was looking for (and what the Catholic Church eventually provided me), I don’t know that I would be as stalwart and faithful a Catholic and Christian as I am today. Don’t get me wrong–I’m not perfect. Just take a drive with me and you’ll see that. But I feel that my struggles with the faith–and faith in general–made it possible for me to truly discover what I know the Truth to be in my life. I found my way home, just as Augustine did. I just had to get lost along the way first to realize where home truly was.