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Catholic Spiritual Direction

From hatred to hope – one man’s journey into the Catholic Church…

July 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Conversion, Dan Burke

Between beating my mother into the emergency room and firing a handgun in our home, my stepfather attempted to convince me that Catholicism was the one true faith. As you might imagine, his approach wasn’t very effective. Recently I was able to share a short version of my conversion story (on an Evangelical/Protestant radio station of all places) with the audience of Focus on Life Radio in Birmingham Alabama. If you find it interesting and need a speaker for your parish or Catholic group, send me an email at RCSpiritualDirection@gmail.com. Presently I am booked up for most of the next year but I still have a few slots left. Please keep me in your prayers. I will be speaking for a private group in Montana next month. My prayer is that I am nothing and that Christ be exalted.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the founder of Catholic Spiritual Direction, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and author of the award winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God. Beyond his “contagious” love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN’s National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN’s Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Alexandra Campbell

    Hello and God Bless you,

    Can I ask how you got started speaking and giving your testimony regarding entering the Catholic church. I returned to the church in 2006 10 years after a powerful and miraculous conversion to Christ. I am currently unemployed, my 80 year old father whom I was caring for just died on the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene. I do no want to return to the secular world for employment but want to write and get started working for Him alone. If I can get paid that would be great, but He will provide. I just want to work for His glory and to help people come into, or return to, the Catholic church. Any advice?

    • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

      Dear Friend: I am not much for self-promotion so this has been very slow for me. It began with a discussion with someone about my testimony. They suggested that I speak to the men’s group at local parish. Then someone told someone else… then through other circumstances God put me in charge of the most prestigious Catholic Newspaper in the US. I didn’t orchestrate any of this so I probably am not a great source of wisdom. I am sorry about your loss. I will pray for you and for him. One thought. Years ago I began praying that God would allow me to use my work talents in a more direct way for the Kingdom. He did answer. Give it considerable prayer and follow him faithfully. He will show you the way.

      • Guest

        Dan, just a thought that perplexes me.  How come most of the active Evangelizers are recent converts to the Catholic Church?.  Where are my fellow Cradle Catholics???? Surely, most of us can make very good Evangelizers bearing in mind this is the Faith of our Fathers. Generally, no one understands “The Family” better than the kids born and brought up in “The Family”.

        • Rasuquo

          I think recent converts readily have something dramatic to say, for that is what conversion means, a dramatic experience. A cradle catholics faith may not be that dramatic, even if solid, and so may be reluctant to talk about it.

          • Guest

            I agree with you, Rasuquo, that recent converts are exuberant when testifying about their conversion experiences.  However, the truth is that we, Cradle Catholics – like our old Catholic Church Herself – walk by “Faith not by Sight”.  Our awesome and tangible connection with God when – say – sitting before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, the overwhelming holiness of the Miracle which takes place before us during Consecration and envelops one anew during the Holy Mass, the Mystical Union with Jesus one experiences in Holy Communion is way beyond any emotionally-charged dramatic experiences you mention. These experiences come alive in us and we re-live the overwhelming holiness we experienced as young children during every Holy Mass we assisted in, every Holy Communion we received and every time one stepped inside the Catholic Church and knelt before the Tabernacle for a quiet adoration and Prayer.  Even now, though just two months shy of 73 years, the unexplainable wonder and the sense of holiness comes alive each time I am before the Blessed Sacrament, assisting in the Holy Mass and receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.  The Presence of God pervades one deeply during these very sacred moments. A Cradle Catholic can recognize and feel very vividly, the presence of God and discern His Actions in one’s daily life always and everywhere.  The other unique experience of God’s Presence is during the Sacrament of Reconciliation especially the Peace of Forgiveness which envelopes one at the Final Blessing from the Priest.  These experiences are what I would wish to see my fellow Cradle Catholics bringing out to Respondents in the Catholic Websites.  We have so much daily Spiritual experiences to share with others.

  • Karenniaslova

    I am sorry about your father’s loss and pray the Lord to give you His peace.
    Re your testimony about entering the Church, there is a beautiful weekly program called “The Journey Home” at EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network).  The director of the program is Marcus Grodi.  He converted from a Protestant denomination and now helps people who have “journed to the Church”.  It’s a beautiful show.  There are lots of information and videos in the internet about these programs in case you are interested.  

    God bless you. 

  • Mbtvalli

    God is so good.  Thank you for sharing your story.  Your discussion regarding the example of the saints is wonderful!  A great way to invite others to a deeper relationship with Our Lord.

  • joan

    I wonder if you have read the book “Salvation is From the Jews” by Roy H. Schoeman, which contains about 20 pages on “extraordinary grace in certain Jewish conversions” and his own interesting conversion story.

    • http://www.spiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

      I have not but I have heard good things about it.