April 28, 2006

Love of God, sacraments lead apologist Rosalind Moss to Catholic faith

By Mary Ann Wyand

Catholic Answers staff apologist Rosalind Moss reverently picked up the heavy metal crucifix and kissed the golden corpus.

Then the internationally known radio talk show host, author and motivational speaker from El Cajon, Calif., told 375 women attending the third annual Treasuring Womanhood conference on April 22 about her love for God and the sacraments of the Catholic Church.

During two presentations, she skillfully entertained and catechized the participants at “Journey in Trust, Called to Trust, Courage to Trust,” the archdiocesan women’s conference at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.

With humorous anecdotes, Moss shared her life story of growing up Jewish in Brooklyn, N.Y., and becoming friends with 12 Jews for Jesus as a young adult in California, then joining an evangelical Christian denomination for 18 years before God called her to Catholicism.

She mixed Jewish beliefs from the Torah with other New Testament passages and Gospel teachings while weaving her story of conversion to the “one, true Church” that Christ founded more than 2,000 years ago.

“Peter was the first Jewish pope,” she said. “Don’t you forget that! The first pope was Jewish.”

Moss also talked at length about the Blessed Mother’s role in her life and the life of the Church.

“Mary was a Jewish mother,” Moss reminded the women, who laughed as she added, “and you know what that means. … Don’t ever be afraid to talk to people about Mary. … She has a one-track mind—straight to Jesus. She’ll say, ‘Do I have someone for you.’ ”

Moss said she struggled with feelings of emptiness and loneliness throughout her life until she was introduced to Christianity in 1976 then joined the Catholic Church during the Easter Vigil in 1995.

Her conversion to Christianity began with a religious flyer that jolted her with the message, “If being born hasn’t given you much satisfaction, try being born again.”

That message “shined right through my heart,” she said. “I had everything this world could offer, and when I came to California … I had a good salary, a great social life, I lacked nothing this world could give. I only had one problem, and I’d had it since I was about 10 years old, and that is that no matter what I had—love, money, success—by the world’s standards, no matter what, nothing and no one had … ever filled the deep sense of emptiness, loneliness, meaninglessness and purposelessness that I lived with my entire life.”

Her friends told her that Christ died on the cross for all of our sins and that she could come to know Jesus as a friend. Their conversation changed her life.

“I realized that night that God can become man,” Moss said. “It took a couple of months more for me to work through the pride and fear and whatever baggage I had, and give my life to God, which I did in 1976. I remember waking up the next morning, and for the first time in my life I said, ‘Good morning, Lord,’ and I knew he was God, and I knew I would never be alone again. The pain in my heart was gone.”

As an evangelical Christian, she had been taught that the Catholic Church was a cult. Her older brother, David Moss, shocked her when he joined the Catholic Church in 1979 in New York.

“I told my friends that ‘I thought he was Christian,’ ” she said, “ ‘but he’s Catholic.’ ”

In 1990, her brother gave her a copy of This Rock, a magazine published by Catholic Answers, a nonprofit organization, which helped open her eyes to the truths of the faith. She also read books by former Presbyterian minister Scott Hahn, who joined the Church, and other Catholic authors for four and a half years.

“I knew that if I did not look into the Catholic Church,” she said, “I’d be turning away from God. It was the most agonizing journey of my life.”

She said Father James T. O’Connor’s book, The Hidden Manna—A Theology of the Eucharist, taught her about the sacraments, “the intimacy of total self-giving love that is unique to the Eucharist,” and that 2,000 years of Christ’s love is brought to the altar “through him, with him and in him” during every Mass.

“Now I have all things,” Moss said, “the communion of saints, a mother—and not just a mother, but a Jewish mother—and … [the grace of] God, who not only gave himself for us on Calvary, but gives himself to us as our daily food.”

Now she teaches Catholics how to defend their faith and explain the grace of the sacraments to others as a full-time employee of Catholic Answers.

“Catholic apologetics doesn’t mean ‘I apologize for being Catholic,’ ” she said. “It’s a reasoned explanation of the faith—not just what we believe, but why we believe what we believe. The answer to the world’s salvation is the Church that Christ established 2,000 years ago.”

Moss also said she believes that the answer to society’s problems begins with healing families because “the family is God’s plan for humanity.”

To accomplish that, she said, parents must prioritize time with their children at home and plan family activities.

Barbara Whitman, a member of Visitation Parish in Elmhurst, Ill., attended the conference with her friend, Our Lady of Lourdes parishioner Susan McAllister of Indianapolis, to hear Moss discuss her faith journey.

“I was an evangelical Protestant, very strong in my faith,” Whitman said. “Rosalind Moss played a real instrumental part in me becoming Catholic. I joined the Church four years ago during the Easter Vigil.”

(Next week: Catholic musician Annie Karto shares her faith journey.)


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