In later years, reaching upper classes (high school) I was drumming in a few bands, partying a lot and spending most of my leisure time in sport activities, like most of my friends did as well. I also bought myself a moped, which took me to the nearby Baptist Church a few miles away from where I lived.
From the first visit to this parish, I was attracted by their style of worship, their modern music and all the young people in that parish. Later I joined their bible study group for youngsters. There I found a lot of good friends, who freely shared about their beliefs and their relationship with Jesus. Furthermore, I got involved in the Baptist parish as a substitute guitarist for Sunday services from time to time.
A bit longer way to multifaceted thing called the Roman Catholic Church...
Born and raised in a Christian household, I spent my youth like all the other kids (and later teens) around me: playing a lot of soccer, trying to avoid homework, learning to play the flute … and on Sundays attending Lutheran services, because all of my family is protestant.
After high school, I moved to a student-town a few hundred kilometers away from where I lived. This entailed a few changes. First, I lost regular contact with most of my Christian friends from my Baptist “home-parish” and I couldn’t find any group or parish in my new town that could replace it. Secondly, in my first semester I started studying theology to become a reverend some day. It luckily only took one semester for me to realize that this was not my path to follow.
Learning ancient Greek all day long, studying protestant dogmatic theology and being the only one (of 10 students in my year) who seemingly ever attended a prayer group before, I got bored and more and more disappointed every day. I didn´t want to study the science of religion, but rather something I thought could be called “God”. At the end of this semester, my interest for theology was gone, and with it most of my belief. “It must have been some exceptional parish back in my hometown”, I thought – “maybe it was more about having good friends and singing songs that I like”.
Consequentially, I spent my second semester studying law, because this was one of the biggest faculties, where the best parties took place. Studying law also made sense without believing in God, unlike theology.
To make an (even) longer story short: Amidst tons of new friends, never-ending nights of parties and endless hours in the law faculty library, a friend asked me to play guitar in a band for a night of adoration (Nightfever)… “A night of what?!” I was interested – “… I haven´t played guitar for much too long, so why not”.
Two weeks later, armed with my instrument, I entered a “Service” in a Catholic Church for the first time in my life. It was a very dark, majestic gothic church, but warmly lit by a few hundred candles in front of the altar. Most of the songs we played that night I was familiar with from playing and singing them in that Baptist church years ago. I absolutely did not expect to hear this music in the Catholic Church, especially from what I had heard about the Catholic lifestyle.
Totally by chance, this evening was a new encounter with something that was way bigger than my tiny (and sometimes even depressing) universe of libraries, parties and exams. I strongly felt that God Himself was in the center of this new “something”.
Like the first encounter with an old friend after years of being separated, I was electrified. I started looking for Him (God) within the church wherever I could. Driven by unrest, I attended a Catholic bible study group in that dark, gothic Catholic Church (the priest became a very good friend of mine), attended a huge pilgrimage in France, visited Lourdes and Altötting (where I also met the Community for the first time), and got the courage to ask all the questions a protestant had to ask. Finally, after nearly two years of preparation, I officially joined this joyful, universal and multifaceted thing called the Roman Catholic Church. What followed was of course ups and downs, from time to time even phases of doubting, but never again such a profound loss of orientation and contact with God like I experienced when I started college.
Today, I experience the fruit of community life with other Christians, a spirituality that fits me personally (playing music, adoration, compassion etc.) and the richness of the sacraments, rites and traditions that help us all to find Him.
Eike from Germany