Think of falling in love. You begin by finding this girl's eyes or laugh or kindness attractive, and perhaps not much more attractive than another's, but as you get to know her and share some parts of your lives, one day you realize that you find her attractive in a way you cannot reduce to a liking for the different aspects of her appearance, personality, and character. She changes (to take my own case) from a girl with a heart-melting shy smile and gorgeous blue eyes sitting up front in the choir to Hope.
What you now think of her begins to affect how you see her, especially the aspects of her personality or character that are or might be flaws. What you had taken for impatience you now know to be enthusiasm, and what had seemed a self-centered disregard for others' feelings you now see as single-mindedness.
What really are flaws you understand as the blemishes one invariably has in a fallen world, but you believe that they are, so to speak, accidents and not substance. In this you are not giving her the benefit of the doubt, as if the reality were disputable, but seeing her with a charity that lets you see her real beauty, marred but not erased or covered by her flaws. (If you are blessed, she sees you in the same way.)
But in the middle of this romantic movement from attraction to love, you ask many questions and even offer many objections: Do we agree on the fundamental things? Does she share my commitment to Christ and His Church? Would I care for her if she didn't have that heart-melting smile? Why does she do this? Why in the world does she think that? How could she possibly believe those things?
This is the same movement of mind and heart the average convert experiences on his way into the Catholic Church. People find themselves drawn to the Catholic Church because something in her attracts them, like the order of the liturgy or the depth of the theology. When the romance begins to feel as if it might develop into commitment, they begin to ask questions and pose objections. If they persevere, they come to love the Church, and the way they ask the questions, and the questions they ask, change. They move from debating the Church to discovering the Church.
This description may be of some value to those given the chance to respond to people drawn to the Church. Catholics, and even some converts themselves, do not always understand this movement. They respond as if conversion were a matter of intellectual conviction, and emphasize the superiority of the Catholic case to the Protestant or the secular. The Church does have the better case, but they would often do better to emphasize The Thing itself, rather than what it is not.
There's quite a bit more and it's so well worth your time.
I'm coming to understand more about how I'm drawn, not so much to getting folks converted though there's lots of appeal personally in that but making people aware of what I'm finding attractive about the Church. I'm also coming to understand that I'm not particularly good at it but, thank God, I'm finding others that are.
My prayer is that in some small way, I can be a match-maker of sorts, matching folks to the beauty, the mystery, the allure, the security, the comfort, the challenge, that is the Catholic Church.
Some small way Lord. Some small way.