"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (Mat. 7:7)

My answer to the question, "Why are you Catholic?" is pretty simple - Real Presence.

I chose the quote from the Gospel of Matthew above for my title because that is basically the story of how my spiritual journey began. I was raised as a non practicing Christian. My mom was raised Presbyterian, but is no longer practicing, and my dad is a fallen away cradle Catholic. Basically we celebrated the major Christian holidays, had a Bible available to read if we wanted to, watched religion based movies if we wanted (such as "The Ten Commandments"), occasionally went to church on Christmas Eve, went to Mass with my cousins occasionally when we were over and they had to go, and that was pretty much my religious upbringing. I knew about Jesus, but all He was really to me most of the time growing up was a very nice man who lived a long time ago. I knew He was the Son of God, but I didn't really understand the concept.

Fast forward to my 14th year... I'm 14, just starting high school, have no social life, bad friends, and am basically miserable. I hate my life and I'm in a deep state of depression. Each night I pray to God to let me die in my sleep, since I didn't have the guts to commit suicide any other way. Perhaps in hindsight I was reaching out to Him for help, comfort, guidance, etc. One night after doing this, I have a dream. I see the crucified Jesus, with a crown of thorns on His head (keep in mind I didn't know enough about the crucifixion at the time to know about the crown of thorns). He looks kind-of ghostly-like and translucent. He says to me something to the effect of, "You are very special. I haven't forgotten you." So I took that as meaning, "You may not know and/or remember me, but I know and remember you." I woke up, didn't want to die anymore, and had an irresistible urge to read the Bible more and look into becoming a practicing Christian of some kind (didn't know the denomination yet).

I think what ultimately drew me to the Catholic Church was when I saw the miniseries "Jesus of Nazareth" (which BTW I highly recommend) for the first time, and it was the Last Supper scene. Jesus says, "This is my Body" and "This is my Blood". That struck a chord with me in my search for a church and I thought, "I need to get some of this stuff".

I finally officially joined the Catholic Church at the age of 21, Easter Vigil, 1998. I was Baptized, Confirmed, and received His most Precious Body and Blood for the first time. Some may be skeptical, but there was one time I received the Blessed Sacrament, and as I returned to my seat to enjoy being in full communion with Him, the taste of wine disappeared totally and was replaced with the taste of blood. I swear on a stack of Bibles that happened. Real Presence? I think so.

God Bless you and thanks for reading my story.

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