What’s a Nice Jewish Girl Like You Doing in the Catholic Church?

Finding fulfillment in the New Testament.
by Barbara Spencer | Source: Good News

“There’s only one way I know out of your misery,” my boyfriend, Kevin, repeated as we were sitting on the sofa, my chin resting on my knees, my arms wrapped tightly around my legs.  “It’s the only way for you to find the love you’re searching for where loneliness and sadness won’t drive your life.”

“How, by accepting Christ into my life?  We’ve been through this before, Kevin, and it only starts us fighting.  You’re a nice Catholic boy and I’m a nice Jewish girl.  Neither of us is practicing our religion so let’s drop it, okay?”

As a Jew I wanted nothing to do with Jesus or the Catholic Church.  I would not betray my people, violating the memory of all the Jews slain over the centuries.  At the same time, however, I did not want to lose the man I loved.

After countless discussions Kevin made one last proposition: “If you make a commitment to spend one hour a day in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament for a year, I promise that at the end your life will be very different.”

I wanted nothing to do with Jesus, but I wanted a solution to my emptiness.  I gave in: “I’ll do it, but I’m not sitting in the chapel with Jesus.  I’ll sit in the area reserved for Our Lady of Guadalupe.”

During those hours, I read about the Eucharist, the biography of St. Maximilian Kolbe, the Catechism, and the Bible (for the first time).  What a surprise to find that Jesus was a Jew, that all the apostles were Jewish, and that Jesus came not to abolish the Jewish law, but to fulfill the promise he gave long ago. 

I was left, however, with a dilemma: Jesus claimed to be God. Either he was mad or he is God.  Either it’s all true or it’s all false.  If Jesus was not the Messiah, why would Christ’s apostles maintain their belief even at the cost of their lives?  If it’s true that the popes can be traced in a direct line of apostolic succession back to the Apostle Peter himself, how could I hold that they are wrong and I am right?  If the New Testament is truly the divinely inspired word of God, there could be only one answer, an answer that I did not want to comprehend: Jesus is God.

It was totally preposterous even to think of embracing Jesus.

Three weeks later, when I was feeling totally overwhelmed, Kevin told me that if I spoke to Jesus Himself he would help me.  I finally took the step into the chapel before the Blessed Sacrament, knelt down with my hands clasped together and prayed, “Jesus, I know you so little and I could care less about you.  I have mocked you all my life and my Jewish friends and family don’t care for you either.  I am crazy with anxiety and doubt.  I have no place for you in my heart much as I have tried to accept you.  Perhaps becoming a Catholic is not my path.  What do you want from me? I need a clear answer!”

He responded deep in my interior, deeper than all my prejudices and cultural concerns: through baptism I would be married to Christ; if I accepted Jesus into my life, He would love, adore and take good care of me for eternity.

Suddenly, all doubts and anxiety vanished; I could feel them flowing out of my body! I accepted Jesus in my heart.  Three weeks later I was baptized and for the first time in my life, I experienced real joy.

Five years later, I continue to spend an hour a day with Our Lord present in the Blessed Sacrament.  Kevin is discerning a possible vocation to the priesthood.

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