About 4 years ago I had lost my nerve. Dealing with the verge of insanity. Failing the struggle to push away base desires. I was a 'Christian', Non-denominational protestant. A Christian atheist. Living as I wished within a few guidelines I barely took to heart.
I was more than half drunk on cheap vodka, looking over bills I could barely pay. I was extremely depressed, my wife was too. During that time in my life I shook her trust more than any woman could or should endure. The barrel of my 9mm stainless steel handgun, with the 147 grain hollow point glinting quietly in the cheap, industrial florescent lighting looked more and more promising as I began the process of closing my business doors as a full time enterprise.
It hadn't always been that way, I remember when my faith was full. My hope renewed with every new sun. Those days died quickly when I was a teenager. I had a few friends but my own social isolation and subsequent ham-handedness killed those relationships quickly enough.
Then around 14 I met a very good friend who looked past my idiosyncrasies. About two years later and I felt the pain of watching him die in front of me. I had been evangelizing him for a period of three or four months, he was un-churched but showed genuine interest. He had just began praying once or twice a week when a suicidal woman decided to end her life via car accident. She's absolutely fine by the way. Our vehicle was crushed, divine intervention prevented me from getting seriously harmed in the crash. But the wheezing rasp of my friend still haunts me.
I withdrew after that. Indulged in every pleasure of the flesh. Overeating, frequent sex with whoever was available, I didn't have friends so the only drugs I could try were over the counter (caffeine, DXM) or stolen (Codeine, Vicodin, Oxys, Alcohol).
You may be asking at this point "so how did I justify all that? Weren't you just evangelizing 3 months ago?" Well, I was raised on the Westminster Shorter Catechism. For those who are not familiar it is a primer to reformed Calvinist theology (AKA once saved always saved, TULIP bullshit). So if I felt the need to escape and do evil things, that must mean I'm not one of the elect, so I might as well enjoy myself since I'm going to hell anyway. It took years, a patient wife, and hitting spiritual rock bottom after bouncing at a strip club to even begin true repentance. To a certain extent I'm not sure my conscience will ever fully come back.
The major change came when I got a new student, a Catholic, by the name of Sam. He was much older than I, but was interested in learning martial arts after I had met him briefly at a Christian themed concert (parents dragged me along with all the other youth kids). I asked him questions and even (Lord forgive me) debated him about Mary's Virginity/sinlessness/hyper-veneration/etc. He was kind but firm on the tenants of the faith. I told him I would look into the information he gave me, but honestly I put it off. I grew up learning about the bible and learning reformed theology, what could he possibly say or give me that would save me from hell?
I decided, in a last ditch effort to NOT find out first-hand what a bullet tastes like, to investigate the Catholic church a little further. I tried, despite it being "idol worship and spiritual whoredom" to pray to Mary. I said one Hail Mary, totally unsure about what to do with it, and CERTAINLY not wanting to pray a full rosary, but I kept one with me in my pocket. That day at work my mental state broke a little (the supervisor put on death metal which kinda triggers me. Pardon the tumblrism.). I have periods of intense rage, to the point where I lose focus. The feeling is so visceral when I come out of it I have to be sure I didn't actually hurt anyone. In any case I began falling into this state when I felt the rosary in my pocket next to the pocket knife I was fondling. I felt the strength to pray a Hail Mary, then another, then another, I had prayed about a decade when the radio shut off mid broadcast (internet radio hooked up to his phone). The supervisor swore at it, but it simply would not work any more. He finally gave up and put on a radio station (On the boom box in the booth we were working), but the local metal station wouldn't come in. He swore again and put it on the Oldies station...which had just started playing "Let it be" by the Beatles. I took this as a sign of Mary's intercession and began more fervent study of the Catholic faith, hoping that I had been wrong about my soul.
Many transgressions, failures, and heresies later I joined full communion after a (very lengthy) confession. My priest is supportive, firm, and exacting. He has shown me the religion, if I may paraphrase Chesterton, that shows me I'm wrong where I think I am right. Little more than a year and a half ago I had an image burned in my brain after some study of Norse mythology and Marian theology (weird combination I know). It was the wolf Fenrir, the world-eater, chained by only a thin cord by Our Lady. Holding onto him not by force and subjugation, but as a woman would guide a trained guard dog to her will. I saw in the wolf all my hatred, malice, and insanity seething at the cord but not breaking it. The message was clear, I was to submit myself to Christ by way of Mary. After only a few weeks of prayer a friend of mine suggesting I read Louis de Montfort's "Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin". When I got to the place where he talks about holy slavery and honouring Mary by wearing a thin chain I knew I had found the missing piece of the puzzle. I founded the Lupi ex Maria, in cooperation with V and Legio Christi.
My hope is their hope. To establish real Catholic community, a real backbone in society, so that others may have the support and the faith I did not have when I needed it most.