This has been a hard year for us, financially, physically, and emotionally. It's hit me on more than one occasion how important intellectual conversion is. If my conversion had been purely emotional or spiritual, I think I'd be in a very bad place right now.
Faith and emotional conversion are both important. But if that's all we have, what happens when those are tested? It's easy to be a faithful Catholic when you're filled with love of God, but what about the times when you feel lost and forgotten?
My husband works with a man who attends a Pentecostal church that believes in speaking in tongues, where much emphasis is placed on "being filled with the Spirit." As he tells it, jumping around and speaking in tongues proves that you're living a righteous life. That seems like a lot of pressure to me, especially since they expect public displays.
Like a lot of people, I was converted to Christ emotionally first. I had a personal experience that led me to God. But my conversion to Catholicism specifically was much more intellectual. I've read of people having profound moments before the Eucharist that made them convert, or such things, but it wasn't like that for me. Actually, I was pretty resistant. But in reading early church history and Catholic apologetics, Catholicism seemed the only logical choice to me. I wanted to worship God in His way, not mine. Initially it wasn't what I wanted, but of course I grew to love Christ's Church and went through an emotional conversion later.
I think that "intellectual conversion" can sound cold, but it actually brings me a lot of comfort. When I'm suffering and feel emotionally that God is distant or not there at all, I know intellectually that He is, and that my feelings of abandonment will pass. If my belief rested solely on feeling my heart aflame with passion for Christ, I don't know that I could have made it through things like losing Dominic with my faith intact, because I certainly was not thinking about how swell God was while I was miscarrying.
I'm sure I'll have more thoughts on this later!