Book Notes: Am I Catholic?

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Am I Catholic? A Struggle with Faith, Humility, and Surrendering to God by Kendra Von Esh

Kendra was a cradle Catholic but without understanding or practicing the doctrine or engaging in the sacraments. This gifted, rich party girl, whose career and worldliness controlled her life, had a passion for well-being which led her to go on a diet that cleansed her body as well as her spirit. Following the plan, she went back to Catholicism by attending the nearest Catholic church for Easter Sunday Mass with a hangover and not sure what to do during Mass. She continued to go to Mass while catechizing herself.

She empathizes with others who might want to return to the church, telling them, “Jesus meets you where you are.”

Her description of her confession after 26 years is priceless:

It was as if I was fainting but still upright and coherent. I felt a bit like I was floating, yet I remained on my knees. My whole body radiated with a sense of peace .. like the best drug I have ever had.

Usually I have to warm up to such an exuberant, over-the-top style of super-extroverts as Kendra’s but I was swept away by  her candid humor and no-holds-barred honesty about her feelings and how they radically changed. I admired how Kendra was able to address the readers who are where she was before her conversion experience. She encourages and catechizes the seekers just beginning to hope for the joy she experienced and she promises her readers will find this joy.

Am I Catholic by Kendra von Esh

The facts of Kendra’s story are not unusual. It’s her random insertion of personal observations that makes her story come alive as the Lord guides her from Reconciliation to spiritual direction to Catholic radio. Because she glows with a radiance that arouses the curiosity of her co-workers, she was compelled to share her new-found Catholicity. She was amazed that with all her “yearning and yearning to learn” more about Catholicism every day, she felt God’s grace within her. She describes herself as the least likely person to deserve unconditional love because of her long anti-Catholic lifestyle.

This is a book I wish I’d had when I began my journey from the Protestant to the Catholic Church, especially feeling awkward at Mass yet being drawn to it again and again.

Author Kendra Von Esh.

Author Kendra Von Esh.

Kendra, although not an accredited theologian, fills the role of nudging those hungry for God along their first few steps of curiosity about Catholicism. She educates the reader as she discovers the protocol as well as the richness of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the Eucharist, Adoration, shrines, Bible study, Advent, annulment, Pre-Cana, marriage convalidation, Mary’s role, mortal sins, surrender to God’s will, divine intervention, God-incidences, carrying our cross, Divine Mercy, community, discerning our professional vocation – all with asides about her awakening to the truth.  With humility, honesty and humor she shares the adventure of her return to Catholicism. It becomes a mixed blessing as she boldly encounters non-Catholics who are where she was a few years ago.

I hope to be super confident and armed with the knowledge and conviction to ROAR about Catholicism, knowing that I will have to carry my cross as  there are so many people who are not open to faith and Catholicism in particular. I need to share the peace and joy that I have experienced through the blessings of the sacraments that are offered in the Catholic Faith and how building a relationship with Jesus is paramount to living a fruitful life.

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Copyright 2019 Nancy Ward

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About Author

Nancy Ward authored Sharing Your Catholic Faith Story: Tools, Tips, and Testimonies (and the DVD) and contributed to The Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion. She loves to share her conversion story and give evangelization workshops and retreats equipping others to share their faith. She facilitates the DFW Catholic Writers, Catholic Writers Guild Nonfiction Critique Group, serves on their Board, and speaks at writers’ conferences. Learn more at JoyAlive.net and NancyHCWard.com.

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