Why I’m Catholic – Eric Nelson


Eric Nelson

I am a Catholic because it is the only way to quench my thirst.

I grew up in a working-class family torn apart by divorce at a young age. I set myself goals that I imagined would guarantee me a happy life. I would get a top notch education, learn foreign languages, become a competent musician, get a high paying job, buy a beautiful house, marry a beautiful wife and have lovely children to raise in a perfect family home. If you’ve ever listened to the Beatles hit song “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” then you’ve got a pretty good picture of what I was looking for, as well as how naive and childish I was. were considering.

And so, I studied and worked hard for many years and over time achieved all that I had planned to accomplish. I reached the top of the mountain. I had no complaints. I had no difficulty. Life was finally stable and secure. And yet there was still this indescribable desire.

I began to read spiritual works, such as Khalil Gibran’s poetry, Tolstoy’s “The Gospel in Brief” and Jefferson’s Bible (Thomas Jefferson’s edition, in which he suppressed all miracles and the supernatural of the Gospels). I avoided Christianity because it seemed too simplistic to me. It was the religion of my childhood, torn to pieces on the rare occasions we went to Sunday school, Bible school, or the Methodist Church in Montrose. Christianity was not for intellectual graduates like me.

Then came kindergarten. All the public schools we applied to for our oldest son said no. We turned to Notre Dame de Grâce because it was on my wife’s way to work and he had some of the best test scores in Minnesota. Miraculously, they still had a spot available when we applied in May, despite the fact that they normally filled up much earlier.

Once our son accepted, we decided to attend mass there to see what he was going to do. We didn’t know when to get up, when to sit or kneel, or what to answer. But once we started reciting the “Our Father”, I choked so much that I couldn’t finish it aloud. Soon we were attending every Sunday Mass and RCIA classes during the week. Our sons have been baptized. My first confession was one of the most transformative experiences of my life. We have been confirmed at the next Easter Vigil.

I no longer have that feeling of discontent that I had before entering the Catholic Church. My old goals in life weren’t bad, but they were misguided. For what good is it for a man to gain the whole world, if he loses his soul? God gave me all the worldly things I wanted, and I discovered that man cannot live on bread alone. What I am striving for now is to serve the Lord instead of myself. My life is centered on Jesus Christ. I am nourished by his word and by his body and his blood, and I am fulfilled.

Since 2008, Nelson, 54, and his wife, Mee Lee, have been members of Our Lady of Grace in Edina, where he is a cantor and chorister, she is an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion and their sons are altar servers. Nelson is also a lawyer and amateur juggler.

Key words: Beatles, Eric Nelson, Ob-La-Da, Ob-La-Di

Category: Why am I Catholic

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