To my Protestant brothers and sisters in the One Body of the Lord, I wish you a Happy Reformation Day. We remember today the nailing of the 95 Theses by the Reverend Father Martin Luther on the door of Wittenburg.
Up to this day, I'm still often being asked why I decided to return to the fold of the Roman Catholic Church. It has been my practice, out of respect for the right of conscienable choice of others, to never try to persuade anyone to agree that my choice to return to Rome was correct.
Neither am I proud of having made such a choice. For a Protestant of almost thirty years, such a choice could have been made only with a deep measure of sadness and immeasurable trepidation, but always accompanied by much gratitude to Mother Church who extends her arms patiently without too much of a fanfare. For Mother Church, it was a mere return of an heir of her longlost children, not a victory to celebrate.
My journey of return began with a discontentment towards living a protesting faith as a way of life. Of course, for many in my generation, we do not overtly perceive ourselves as "protestants" in the truest sense of the word - we don't see ourselves as truly protesting against anything, not even the Roman Catholic Church. But this notion logically necessitated me to ask myself, "If I'm no longer protesting like my fathers in the faith did, then why am I not Catholic as the Fathers of the Church say every Christian should be?"
For many, asking oneself the above question would in an instance trigger off a series of internal protests about how Catholics worship idols, have a wrong doctrine on justification, blindly obey the papacy, etc. For me, these were not so much protests as they had been things that I had been taught by various Protestant traditions. They initiated me on a long search to better understand what the Catholic Church, the Christians 1500 years prior to the Protestant Reformation, believed.
Is this process to be held as normative for everyone? Should all Protestants be expected to go through the same journey? I cannot say. Different people have different threshholds of conviction. Some people feel strongly about faith issues, and some do not feel strongly about anything. Nobody can judge, and I assure you the Catholic Church, despite gentle invitations to dialogue, does not judge the salvation of Protestants either.
So for those of you, my brothers and sisters, who have chosen to remain where you are, let us love the Lord Jesus Christ together in the best ways we know how. Happy Reformation Sunday.