y girlfriend Sara is all class. She’s got a mouth like a rap star. She drinks Pepsi out of a wine glass. But she also has the cutest kids ever, so my whole family loves to spend time with hers. When we first met she told me that she never graduated from high school, so I offered to help her study for her GED. One night after we were done studying she announced, “You know, I’ve always wanted to be Catholic.”
I remember that moment and thinking how ordinary it felt, being there in her liv
ing room with the kids’ toys scattered on the floor, but I knew one thing for sure: the whole rest of my life hinged on this moment.
In the past, if a friend really backed me into a corner I would speak up for my faith, but I didn’t like doing it. Now I had to decide: I either speak now and be open about my Faith for the rest of my life, or keep quiet. If I talk, everyone is going to know I’m teaching her religious stuff and think I’m weird. My mind was made up that I would fluff her off…but instead I spoke.
I offered to watch her kids while she went to RCIA classes. I can only imagine their reaction to her: This chick wants to become Catholic? I was mortified when the sister running the program told her she needed to attend a retreat and Sara laughed and said, “Oh, no, I don’t think so.” I smirked to myself that they had to suffer too.
I was thinking to myself one Sunday night that when she makes her Confirmation, they are going to ask me if she is ready. My initial thought was, “Well, I’ll just lie and say she’s ready. Everyone else is going to.” Then I realized what I was saying: I’m going to lie to God in a church full of witnesses. I kn
ew they weren’t teaching her everything she needed to know in the RCIA classes, but why should I tell her all the hard stuff? She’ll get that information somewhere in the future.
Then it dawned on me: if I don’t tell her the hard stuff, no one will. But the Faith is hard for me to follow and I had a lifetime of Catholic upbringing. For her, it will be impossible! But I decided that God doesn’t ask us to do impossible things. I’m going to tell her everything, and if she breaks my heart and rejects it, at least she came by her faith honestly.
I’m glad I had my mind made up to be strong, because the first rude shock she sprang on me was that she had been married before. She was currently living with her boyfriend. I told her the truth: as far as God was concerned, she was still married and she needed an annulment. I cried that following Christmas when she called me to say she got a letter from Pope Benedict the “whatever” (she can’t read Roman numerals) telling her that her annulment was granted and she was free to marry the father of her children.
I told her that it is wrong to have sex outside of marriage and she didn’t believe me! She quickly grabbed her RCIA book to see if such a ludicrous thing could be true! Like everything else I tried to teach her, I proved to her that she already knew in her heart what I was telling her. She had gone to RCIA classes before she met me, but quit when she became pregnant with her third child. What’s wrong with being pregnant, I asked? I was embarrassed because I wasn’t married, she grudgingly admitted.
Sara and I went through all the RCIA rituals, but she had to wait for her annulment, so she didn’t make her sacraments that Easter. But after the annulment was granted, when the priest said she had to receive all her sacraments, including marriage, all at once, everything came to a screeching halt. No, no, that’s too much at once, she said. All my hard work and agony, and she’s not going through with it because it’s “too much at once”?!!
Even now she continues to stick knives in my heart: “I don’t believe in hell.” “I’m not getting married – If it ain’t broke why fix it?” “EWTN is boring.” When I encourage her to say even three Hail Marys a day, she says, ug, maybe just one, and she probably doesn’t even do that.
But she still surprises me with her childlike embrace of the Faith. Once at a wedding mass, Sara told her girlfriend, “Wait, don’t go to communion. You have mortal sins on your soul. But probably didn’t know that, so it’s not your fault, but you still need to go to confession first.” When we were looking for Catholic schools for her kids, we walked into the chapel at one of the schools and Sara immediately exclaimed, “Where’s Jesus?!” When the student
guide showed us where the tabernacle was hidden and said this is where they keep the bread, Sara kindly explained to her, that’s not bread, that’s Jesus. Even her boyfriend still trusts me because, when their son asked if soldiers who kill people go to heaven, he said, “Better call C!”Sara didn’t ask to become Catholic because she was sick, or dying, or suffering. She’s attracted to Mary and Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. She just knows it’s where she belongs, that she needs Him. She’s spiritually lazy and that’s something she has to want to change. My whole life is different because of her. Is God going to allow her to be lost, despite my efforts? I guess this is the time to trust. I’ll pray and sacrifice for her until the day I die. I know she still wants to be Catholic.