I’ve begun writing and speaking about my faith story. I’m reliving some key moments such as when I gave my life to Jesus at a Protestant youth retreat. In my staunch faith I never dreamed that five years later I would marry in the Catholic Church. The only way God could ever get me to convert to Catholicism was to arrange for me to fall in love with a devout Catholic. My official conversion didn’t happen until almost three years later when I realized I belonged in the Catholic Church.
Later there’s the story of my renewal, an event that took me from Sunday Catholicism to full-time. It plunged me deep into covenant community 40 years ago. These highlights provide the backdrop of how I arrived where I am today but don’t tell the understory of why I remain Catholic and a Catholic writer. Why I created a Catholic blog and write incessantly about my faith. Why my career as a writer and speaker winds around my faith. Why l adore the Eucharist. Why I evangelize.
The Anchoress, Elizabeth Scalia, posed the question on her Patheos blog, “Why do you remain Catholic?” to Catholic writers and all media persons in this post. #WhyRemainCatholic is going wild. This conversation is timely for all of us at the Catholic Writers Guild because we know what we write matters. We write from who we are as Catholics, whether overtly sharing our experiences and relationships or covertly expressing them in fictional characters. Our Catholicity is our reality. Whatever we write reflects our faith and in whatever we reveal from our journals, scribblings, rants or tomes, we share a piece of our hearts. And our hearts are Catholic. We can’t NOT write Catholic, hopefully letting the Holy Spirit look over our shoulder and inspire us.
It’s a fact that I feel God’s presence in my beautiful marriage, parishioners and my covenant community. These relationships provide me with spiritual nourishment daily. How could I ever do without these intricate parts of my life? However, remaining Catholic doesn’t depend on any earthly structures or relationships, no matter how indispensable they seem right now.
It matters that I am a Catholic writer because it’s who I am, a beloved child of God, best friends with Jesus and a channel of grace and charisms of the Holy Spirit. Expressing who I am doesn’t depend on whom I’m with or where I worship but on a deep, unshakable conviction that I belong in the Catholic Church where I find the Real Presence of Jesus. He’s my life, my inspiration and my fulfillment. With or without these supportive relationships in my life, he stands alone as my destiny. I was created for him, for Truth. I was meant to be Catholic. There’s no going back from where I belong.
“Why are you a Catholic writer and why does it matter?”
(© 2015 Nancy HC Ward)