Jim Anderson grew up with a Methodist background, became a Lutheran when he was 19 and was still trying to determine, in his early adult life, which Christian denomination professed the truth. As many Protestants believe that the Catholic Church had strayed from its proper course over time, he turned to the writings of early Christians and came upon a letter by St. Ignatius, written in 107 A.D. to the Church in Smyrna. St. Ignatius had been ordained by St. Peter and was a student of St. John. In his letter, Ignatius proclaimed clearly that the Eucharist is the body of Christ, the same body which was sacrificed for our sins and was raised up by the Father. Anderson also considered passages in the Bible in which Jesus had promised to send the Holy Spirit and to protect His Church. If Ignatius was wrong, then Jesus had to be wrong as well. The Holy Spirit could not have been sent and Jesus could not, within a single generation of His death, have been protecting His Church. If Ignatius was right, then the Catholic Church, which teaches the same thing today about the Holy Eucharist, also had to be right.
When Anderson was 23, he would write in his personal journal:
“In the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist Christ, true God and true man, is present wholly and entirely, in His Body and Blood, under the signs of bread and wine. The presence of Christ does not come about through the faith of the believers, nor through human power, but the power of the Holy Spirit through the Word. … The Eucharist is also the sacrifice of the Church. In it, the Church makes its sacrifice of praise to the Father. At the Eucharist, Christ is re-presented to His Church and the act of the Cross is brought to the present.”*
Six months later, he happened to be in Rome and knelt down in the Blessed Sacrament chapel in St. Peter’s Basilica. He later described the feeling he had as one of being at home. Having previously attended a Protestant seminary, Jim Anderson nonetheless entered the Catholic Faith at the age of 26.
He had found Christ alive and still living among His people. He found a need for the Mass, to be present when the sacrifice on the Cross was remembered and thanksgiving was offered in memory of Christ, as He had wanted it to be. He found his home.
*Grodi, Marcus, editor, Journeys Home (Zanesville, Ohio, CHResources, 2005), p. 67.