Always Be Prepared

I was fortunate enough to have been raised with some very loving Christians in my life. They did, and still do, exemplify the Lord’s command to love God and love neighbor. I didn’t know it at the time, but we were Pentecostals, and my grandpa was the Pastor at the church we attended. There were periods of unbelief, and not living up to the directives of the faith, but for the majority of my life I would have considered myself a Protestant. Though, there was a verse that stopped me in my tracks during my first readthrough of the Bible that caused me to question if Catholicism was true. It was John 20:23 where Jesus is telling the apostles that whoever’s sins they forgive are forgiven, and whoever’s sins they retain are retained, but I put that on the backburner for a while.

Around two years ago I started getting really into Christian apologetics, and was taking seriously the precept to “Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). I was at work learning how to prove my own beliefs, and disprove others; such as atheists, Mormons, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. This was also around the time that Justice Amy Coney Barrett was nominated to the Supreme Court, and the media constantly bashing her for being a phrase I had never heard of; a “Charismatic Catholic.” Certainly Catholics were much too formal to have any charismatics? As I investigated, I learned that there were indeed Catholics exhibiting the same gifts of the Holy Spirit as I saw in Pentecostal Protestant communities. Not only could they not be the anti-Christ or whore of Babylon, they must actually be favored by God! This notion contradicted some of the anti-Catholic sentiments I had heard growing up, so I knew I must look deeper into it.

The rest is really history. One by one the Protestant doctrines I held that contradicted Catholicism fell. I found out about Catholic specific miracles I had never heard of before (Marian apparitions, Eucharistic miracles, incorrupt Saints, etc.), and saw that they make a very strong case for the Catholic faith in and of themselves. I also had a few supernatural experiences myself regarding Mary. I began looking into the early church fathers, and seeing all of the very Catholic things they said on apostolic succession, Mary, the Eucharist, and baptismal regeneration. In the Bible I began to see Catholicism more and more. Jesus establishes Peter as the rock in Matthew 16, paralleling the prime minister to watch over the kingdom while the king is away in Isaiah 22:22. John 6 seemed to undeniably affirm the real presence. Mary was found in Revelation 12 as the Queen of Heaven, and as the new ark of the covenant in the beginning of Luke’s Gospel. I knew I had to follow the evidence where it led, and started RCIA shortly after. 

— Joshua Davis

St. James, Missouri