It was another hot Sunday, and I was sitting in the pew at my contemporary Methodist church. The kind of church that had a rocking band, big screens, few religious images, and dynamic preaching. The pastor was preaching on, hmm, you know, I can’t remember. Conflict resolution, maybe? I’m not entirely sure. What I do remember are the words he told us to say to ourselves: “you know, I could be wrong.”
I do remember he said it in the context of debating/arguing with another. Since I liked to win debates and arguments, to the point of continuing to argue even after I’d realized I was wrong and yet unwilling to admit that, hearing that it was okay to admit to being wrong was huge for me, and something I vowed to put into practice.
The main thing that flashed through my mind upon hearing that line, though, was remembering a couple of conversations from college the previous semester. One of the girls who lived down the hall from me was a practicing Catholic and we would occasionally have conversations about our beliefs. I remember her saying something about going to Adoration, or something else about the Eucharist. I can’t remember the full conversation, but I do remember that I was unwilling to entertain the possibility of being wrong in my beliefs on the Eucharist, and I talked to my roommate later that day. I was scared that I was wrong, and wanted my roommate to agree with me (she did) so that I could just say I was right and forget about it. But I never forgot about it, and it came rushing back when I heard my pastor instruct us to say, “you know, I could be wrong.”
I still wasn’t ready to wrestle with that possibility, so it just stayed in the back of my head for another few years, when I started dating my now-husband (a devout Catholic) and realized I had to confront Catholic belief. Remembering that earlier conversation from freshman year, and wondering all that time if I could be wrong, I started with looking at the Eucharist. This time, I forced myself to look directly at what the Church said and look at Scripture without prejudice, instead of just looking at anti-Catholic sites (as I was tempted to do so that I could say I was right).
Doing that, it was like looking at Scripture for the first time. I know I’d read John lots of times, yet the import of John 6 had never hit me before. Reading how the Israelites were forbidden from consuming blood because the life was in it, and then seeing Jesus’ words about one only having life if one drank His blood made both verses make sense. Reading the history of Eucharistic belief, and how all the early Christians believed in the Real Presence in the Eucharist sealed it. I knew that if the Eucharist was true (and I’d come to believe it was, after these lengthy, late-night research sessions), then I had to be Catholic.
I know the suddenness of my conversion surprised all those around me. No one, including my then-boyfriend, had any idea I was researching it. In fact, when I told him I wanted to convert, his first response was that he was not asking that of me. I was determined, though, and impatient to be received into the Church. I couldn’t read enough, and God humoured my impatience by allowing me to enter in December after private instruction and a Landings course instead of going through RCIA and waiting for the next Easter. From the time I determined to convert to the time of my Confirmation was all of 7 months. But I knew, and once I knew I longed for the Eucharist, to receive Jesus in that way. I’ve never looked back.
Telling myself “you know, I could be wrong” was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. It’s something I still try to do instead of just assuming the belief or position I hold is the correct one. I’ve never regretted doing this, especially since it has only brought me closer to God. I can’t thank Him enough for that gift, and for speaking to me through the pastor that day so that I could let go of my pride enough to follow God more closely. It’s still a journey, and not always an easy one, but it’s one I’m glad to be on.