What leads people to the Catholic Faith?

There are many reasons people are drawn to Catholicism. Some people are born into the faith, while others embark on a meandering journey which leads to the Church. Some, as in the case of Timo Aytac Guzelmansure, a Turkish national and former Muslim whose conversion story is shared here, are inspired by Catholics they have encountered in their life.

Speaking of his conversion, Timo said: “After my encounter with some Christians, I began to read the Bible, in particular the New Testament. And I was immediately fascinated by the person of Jesus. This fascination, which still overwhelms me, and the surprise (because of the wonder) that Jesus loves me so much as to go up on the cross and give His life for me, are the reasons why I became a Christian. I converted to Christianity because of Christ.”

In the blog about his conversion to Christianity, Timo goes on to explain that his decision to become a Christian did not go over well with some members of his community. His own father treated Timo with what Time describes as “coolness”, and some of his friends rejected him following his conversion. In spite of the adversity Timo faced, the Christians who influenced him and the love of Christ were compelling enough reasons to risk social ostracisation.

Today, Timo lives in Germany and speaking of conversion there, Timo said: “In the Catholic Church in Germany, about 200 persons of Muslim origin are baptised each year. It is not known how many new Christians there are in Protestant circles who come from Islam, because there are no statistics.”

“Persons who leave Islam have different reasons at the time they decide to take this step, which is dangerous. Some of them, say: “Muhammad was too violent a statesman and man of religion,” and this violence is also transmitted in the Quran. Others perceive the Arab communities where Islam is the majority as very backward. Still others have left Islam because they came to live in the West, and here they want to integrate completely.

“But above all there are Muslim persons of profound religious sensibility who are seeking God, who for this reason find in Christianity a God who loves them and offers them peace and acceptance. Thanks to the encounter with Christ they discover an image of God that obviously they cannot find with Islam.”

There are a number of blogs which detail the first-person account of converting to Catholicism. In his account of converting to Catholicism, Tim Stanley talks about the consolation of the sacraments and the idea that he could “go to Confession, take part in Mass and set things right again. Every day is a whole new day. And every day offers the chance for salvation.”

In the telling of his conversion story, Tim goes on to say “with each Eucharist, we relive the sacrifice of Jesus. As a young Protestant, I saw the crucifixion as something historical that only happened once and would never happen again. Now I know that His sacrifice is constant and eternal. For people who live with despair, and that’s almost all of us, this promise is astonishing. One of the hardest things to believe is that someone else could love you unconditionally. We Catholics have proof.”

In browsing through individual conversion stories, the influence of Jesus and the sacrifice He made for us crops up again and again. Others speak at length about the image of God and its reflection in the Catholic faithful. With these accounts in mind, it becomes increasingly important to be aware of the image of God that Catholics reflect into the world. Will your reflection of God be the reason someone comes to the Catholic faith?

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