Journey to Catholicism by Melissa Poster

Journey to Catholicism by Melissa Poster

Like many people I was completely lost. It was like being in a desert with no compass, no map and no one to give you directions. I didn’t know where I was going, I didn’t have a direction or what felt like any real purpose. I lived each day with a passing glace, every day felt the same, empty. I was content but not filled. 

I met my Fiancée in Kansas where I worked on Fort Riley, he was Active-Duty Army. Cody, the fiancée, is a Cradle Catholic, from Pierz MN. I had not grown up with a defined religious life and had no real connection with God that I could recall. It was not something that was “for me” I wasn’t “into it”. I had attended a Catholic Mass at Christmas with his family but that was about as far as I ever got to a Church. 

Cody had started going to Church again and I would stay home. For several months he had not asked if I wanted to go or said much about me going so everything had continued as normal. Of course, one day he finally asked if I would go with him and I gave him my very stern answer of “No thank you. That stuff isn’t for me”. He did not leave it at that. He tried for many more months to convince me I should go which in my reply became very aggravated until he eventually dropped the whole thing. I was determined to not let him change me or push me to do things I didn’t want to do. 

A few more months had passed, and I decided I would go once a month but I would not do any of the “things”. I was NOT going to kneel, I was NOT going to sign the cross, I was NOT going to pray or do any other gesture. I was going to sit there and mind my own business. So, I did. 

In Kansas we went to the Kansas University Catholic Church- St. Isidore’s. It was a medium sized church, completely overflowing with people and families (pre-covid).  We sat on the left side near the middle of the church and on the back wall above the crucifix where many lights that shined onto the marble wall. The way the lights fixated on the wall made a shadow of a chicken. I thought this to be very humorous because we owned several chickens at the time, and I thought to myself “well maybe this is one of those signs they talk about”. Throughout the entire mass the child behind me was singing her ABCS and the I love Pizza song. I had no idea what was happening during the Mass. When the bells rang, I thought someone’s phone had gone off and when people prayed all I could hear was gibberish. Needless to say I wasn’t having a good time because I had no clue what was happening. Until something happened. I started to cry. No idea why. I just felt my chest tighten up, body tense, tear welling up. No obvious reasoning just started crying. I could feel warmth in my chest and a building pressure. I convinced myself it was heart burn. After Mass Cody asked me what I thought, and I told him it was okay. Truthfully, I felt really good (even though I feel like I missed everything about the Mass) but of course I couldn’t let him be right about something. 

I continued to go each month as I said I would and each time the same thing happened; I would cry. I would feel like my chest was on fire and burst into tears. Masses soon became a bit easier to understand, Cody was often helpful with explaining what certain things meant and why they where important. I still refused to do any of the gestures and kept to myself on the pew where I belonged. 

In early February Cody deployed and Covid-19 was on the rise. The world shut down and everyone had nothing but time. When the world shut down Church took to the internet and began posting daily online streaming of their masses. Everyday at 9:09pm St. Isidore’s was live with the daily Gospel. I don’t know why but I felt very compelled to listen in. For several moths every single day at 9:09 I curled up in bed with my heated blanket and listened in. Now, I didn’t tell Cody! How could I? Him be right?? NEVER!! 

Several more months go by, and even online the Masses still gave me that strange feeling in my chest that would not go away. Slowly but surely, I began to believe what they were saying. But I was not convinced quite yet. 

One night I was in bed listening to the 9:09, with my heated blanket, snug as a bug in rug. Father Gale finishing up the Daily Mass for the night and comes to the end for announcements. Very distinctly he says “Hopefully in August we will be starting up RCIA classes again, just depends on COVID. So, if you are ever interested in learning more or wanting to become Catholic this would be a great opportunity.” Right then and there my entire body felt like it took an electrical shock. Every single hair on my body stood up, I was cold and frozen. Light bulbs were going off in my head like “Yes. I need this”. Immediately I went to Facebook and inquired about the RCIA class and that I want to sign up for it. 

A few days later they contacted me regarding all the things I needed for the class- One of those things was a Sponsor. Well... my secret was about to be known. I had to tell Cody. I let a few weeks go by and one day we were FaceTiming (still deployed) and I said “Well, I have something to tell you. But you might be happy about it. Either way you have to do it.” With the biggest eye roll he’s ever done he says “what now…” at this point in our relationship he is very use to me dragging him into things he doesn’t like to do. For example, Ball Room Dance classes. I can only imagine what he was thinking, what could I possible be dragging him into next! - “I signed up for RCIA and you have to be my sponsor.” – It took him a few moments to register what I had just said and soon his entire face lite up with smiles. It was the happiest I had ever seen him. And of course, he agreed to be my sponsor.

As luck would have it, Cody missed every single RCIA class. By the time he was able to attend one with me, I was on my way to Minnesota. He was getting out of the Military and a job had opened for me in Crosslake. We decided that I should move up first so that I could begin work and settle into our new home. The process of getting to Minnesota was entirely an act of God and I could write an entire book on just the last 6 months of things that happened because of him. 

I was able to finish out my RCIA at St. Francis and Cody was finally able to make it to one class before I was to be confirmed on Easter 2021. It was a long road, but it was forever life changing. For many years I struggled with severe anxiety, depression, insomnia. Since I started believing the Catholic Faith, I have never slept better in my entire life. My anxiety is little to none- and my depression seems like it never existed. I feel happy, I feel like I should spread this joy to everyone I meet and know. It’s something I want to shout out to all the world! Everything in my previous life seems like it was all just a dream. I don’t know how I lived so long in the state I was in and can’t imagine ever going back to the way I was. I am different because of him. I was one way, and I am now I am completely different in the best way possible. I would encourage all hearts to be open and to not be complacent. Keep learning, keep asking questions, keep seeking. Do not become complacent- seek and you will always find. 

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