In September of 2011 I had purchased a barely used sports car. My Mini Cooper had died on me. I had it towed to the local BMW dealership and traded it in for a sleek, light blue sports car with less than 20,000 miles on it. It was one of three used cars on the lot. The previous owner had purchased it but then decided she wanted a Mini instead and traded it in. She must have prepaid for a couple years of Sirius XM radio, because I had it long after the typical “trial period”.
At the time I didn’t think much of it, but discovering “The Catholic Channel” on Sirius XM would end up become a key player in my spiritual journey. Another small, seemingly trivial moment that carried with it eternal consequences.
I was flipping through the news channels and scrolled a few channels too far. In reality, I landed on just the right station and heard a priest reviewing the news. If I remember if it was Fr. Jonathan Morris, who was a program director for the station. I don’t even remember what they were discussing, but I listened. And listened. And listened. Every moment I was in my car I was listening, analyzing, and wondering why the pope resigned. I would listen on the way to work and while I ran errands and on the way home.
Looking back over my journals, I did not write at all about the start of this journey. I barely mention the resignation. But I will never forget the feeling of embarrassment I felt after weeks of listening to the radio.
In between the announcement and the actual resignation, I realized that a lot of the Protestant myths surrounding Catholics were incorrect. I do not believe these myths were necessarily taught by Catholic hating heathens who wished to do harm (though I have encountered a few people like that), but I had a feeling that much of what was passed along to me had been merely passed along by the previous teacher, and to them by their teacher. Maybe intellectual laziness prevented people from really diving into the information they had been given. I know I swallowed it whole, without any outside research, and I proudly proclaimed it as fact.
And now, this radio station was destroying my world view. Each day I heard scripture read, the Gospel proclaimed, and Jesus glorified. My previous understanding had been that Catholics really only care about Mary and the Saints and that they never read the Bible and that they only care about their traditions and institutions, putting their ritual above all else. What I found was quite the opposite!
The truth was unnerving. It is a horrible feeling to realize that you have strongly believed something so grossly incorrect. My mind raced to my few Catholic friends – how sad I was to have misunderstood their faith. And how patient and graceful they had been with me.
This experience did not immediately lead me into the Church – the discovery of the Catholic’s love of Jesus and Scripture did not instantly negate the misunderstandings I had about Mary, the Saints, and the Pope among other things. But it began a quest to correct my misunderstandings.