The Conversion Story of Patty Patrick Bonds
Patty can be reached on her blog
Abba's Little Girl
audio programs of Patty
see also the CHNetwork version of this story
I was born and raised a Baptist. As a Baptist I enjoyed a close, intimate walk with God. I read His Word and I obeyed Him and He was everything to me. I was willing to follow Him anywhere and serve Him in any capacity. I never dreamed He would lead me far from my upbringing and to a place I would have never chosen to go.
I believed that any Catholic who had genuine faith in Christ and respected the Bible as the Word of God would follow Christ out of the Catholic Church. I honestly believed there were only a few misled Christians in the Catholic Church.
One day I came across the writings of St. Patrick of Ireland. I was looking for historical evidence of his existence, but never dreamed I would discover God's will for my life. What I found in the writings of St. Patrick was evidence of deep devotion to Christ and a spiritual intimacy with Christ that I knew right away was true Christianity. He was my brother. Yet he was also a Catholic Bishop. This birthed in me a desire to understand Church history and when and where the Catholic Church had gone wrong (since my assumption from childhood was that the Catholic Church was apostate).
(See the Catholic Encyclopedia article on St. Patrick of Ireland )
For the next several months I read the writings of those men who had learned the Christian faith from the very mouth of Christ and the Apostles. I began to familiarize myself with the culture and time of the Apostles and realized that Christianity in its earliest days was not Bible centered (indeed most of the NT was not written yet and later was not available for the masses) but Tradition centered. I learned that when the early Christians went to Church their services were not sermon centered but centered around the Eucharist, the Lord's Supper, which was not seen as a symbol but as the actual Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It was guarded and protected as such. Not a crumb was to be lost nor a drop spilt. I was shocked to find that the early Church did not even resemble my own Baptist church.
This led to many more months of earnest study of the Catholic faith. What I discovered is that everything I had been taught about the Catholic Church as a Baptist had been erroneous. Every objection that I had been engrained with since childhood was a falsehood about the Catholic Church and was easily refuted by an honest look at Church history.
By coming to an understanding of the time and culture and beliefs of the Early Church, my Bible began to read very differently. I realized that no document, even the inspired Word of God, can interpret itself. No one comes to Scripture without a grid through which they interpret it. My grid had always been very Protestant and very anti-sacramental. But after investigating the Early Church, I could clearly see that the Bible was a Catholic book; written by Catholics, for Catholics, canonized by the Bishops of the Catholic Church and preserved for Catholics for millennia to come.
I also discovered that I was one of many Christians devoted to Christ and willing to follow Him anywhere even at great personal loss that were reversing the mistakes of the Reformation and flocking back home to the One Church Christ established on this earth. I discovered through a series of books called, Surprised by Truth, that I was one of many that were headed home to Rome. (My story has been included in the third edition if you would like to learn more).
May God grant you the openness to see Him in His Holy Roman Catholic Church.
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