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Nov 02, 2020 303 Stephen and Nicole King,
Encounter

The Long Journey

You can be instrumental in bringing your life partner closer to God! The story of STEPHEN KING, and his journey into Catholicism is sure to inspire you.

When Stephen King grew up as a Protestant in Northern Ireland, he never imagined that he would one day cross the divide and become a Catholic. The Troubles between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland turned Stephen and his family away from the idea of religion. Although he occasionally went to Sunday School in his early youth, after his father’s death when he was 11, the family stopped going to Church altogether.

He developed a cynical, materialistic outlook on life, expecting Science to have the answer for everything. He felt no need for God and that religion only caused people trouble, so he’d stay away from it. “Being a materialist or a scientific type of guy is a terrible handicap to faith. It gives you an arrogance that is very hard to get rid of.”

After finishing his Geology studies, he worked for a company based at Trinity College, Dublin. Although the significance of the name escaped him, the Lord hadn’t abandoned him. His work frequently took him overseas and he was asked to base himself in Brisbane, Australia. He came to Australia, not really knowing anyone or having much support, but, in His providence, Our Lord took a hand.

Love Is in the Air

On the train to work, he had noticed another regular passenger—a beautiful, young lady who stood head and shoulders above all the other women and many of the men. Nicole Davies felt a strong attraction to this tall, dapper, young man—one of the few who could outmatch her in height.

After six months of admiring him from afar, her sister dared her to ask him out. “That very day, we were the only people on the platform, then we were the only people in the railway carriage, but I still couldn’t speak to him. But when we got out of the carriage and I saw him walking away, I remembered my sister’s words, ‘Don’t ever mention that man again if you don’t ask him out.’” So she finally gathered her courage, ran after him and asked him out. He refused initially, but she persisted.

They soon found an affinity with one another to such an extent that Nicole was already talking about marriage. Stephen was in love, but didn’t feel ready for that. However, Nicole was clear that if their relationship wasn’t headed toward marriage in 18 months, she’d be looking elsewhere. So, after a year of dating, he invited her to join him on a trip to Europe to meet his family, go skiing and do some sightseeing.

A Major Revelation

Nicole was a lapsed Catholic, but her mother had recently experienced a reconversion. Just before they left for Europe, Nicole accompanied her mother to a talk by a Catholic visionary. Something incredible happened to her that night. She experienced a major revelation from Our Lord. Simply hearing that Jesus loved her, changed how she thought about everything. All of a sudden, it all made sense to her and it overwhelmed her. From that time, she was driven in her faith to be an absolutely committed Catholic. While it was very good news for her, it was the start of a difficult period in their relationship.

The movie, “The Case for Christ” depicted a very similar ordeal in the relationship of the atheist journalist and his wife after she experienced a conversion. His feelings of anger, annoyance and inconvenience mirrored Stephen’s. He was not happy that Nicole’s mother had taken her to this meeting and changed everything. Their trip to Europe turned into a complete disaster. “Nicole wanted to see every church we went near, and there’s a lot of churches in Europe.” Every day there were arguments and every evening ended in tears at the dinner table, “I think all the waiters wanted to kill me.” Eventually, she returned to Australia early.

Stephen thought that they were finished. How could they possibly continue together after this? But although personal conversion was far from his thoughts, he still loved Nicole and didn’t know what to do without her. He sought her out again on his return, made up with her and made it work. Within seven months, they were married. “Although we were at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of Religion, I loved this woman and we were morally quite aligned, which I think is very important in relationships.”

There were terrible difficulties for Nicole because none of their friends were religious at all. In any discussion, Nicole would be alone with everyone else piled on against her. Somehow, she found the strength to maintain her faith. Because Nicole’s faith journey had begun from a visionary’s testimony, it felt very foreign to Stephen. He didn’t think that any of these visions or miracles could be true. She was caught up in the fervor of the revert, alongside her mother. He didn’t warm to some of the people she was meeting in the Catholic Church, who, while professing faith, didn’t seem to be nice people. So, it didn’t attract him.

A Favor Done

Over time, Nicole became more reflective and after trying a number of different parishes, she started going to the Latin Mass. The priest was Father Gregory Jordan SJ. He became a big part of their lives and a good friend. One day, he took Stephen aside and said, “Nicole is really struggling with the children at Mass. Would you do me a favor? Would you come along to Mass on a Sunday and just sit there helping her look after the kids, not making any commitment to the faith or doing anything. It would make life so much easier for her.” That seemed reasonable, so, he started going along with her to Mass every week and would absorb things that were going on. He enjoyed spending this time with his children, then chatting with friends afterwards.

“It turned out to be no big imposition for me. Some people can be really intimidated by how regimented the Latin Mass, but I was really struck by the reverence. That attracted me. One day a friend gave me a book, “Has Science Buried God?” by Professor John Lennox who teaches Mathematics at Cambridge. I read this book and it opened my eyes to the possibility of faith. It asked questions that Science couldn’t answer. Our Lord’s amazing universe is much more complex than any of us could realize. How you could think it came from nothing is incomprehensible to me now.

Having sat in the Catholic Church for quite a while, it became very clear to me that the One, True Church was the real answer. I moved very slowly on my way on that journey of faith. The Lord gave me a kick in the pants when I had a heart attack in 2015 and that really changed things for me. It changed my timeframe. I realized that I wasn’t going to live forever. I had better work out what’s real and what’s important pretty quickly. The Lord had been speaking to me all that time, but He had to hit me over the head with a sledgehammer for me to hear it. I’m a bad listener.”

While he was recovering, with three months off work to sit and think, he read the Bible. As he thought about it and prayed about it, he gradually came to realize that he would have to make a decision. “I had no great revelation, but it became clear that it was the right thing to do, the right way to live my life and the right way to be a good father to my children and a husband to my wife.”

Three months later, he was accepted into the Catholic Church. It was a very emotional day for everybody; especially his family, seeing him come into the Church after all these years. Receiving Holy Communion for the first time, he realized how much he needed the Lord’s help. “I’d always been very self-contained and thought that I had everything I needed to keep myself going. In that first Holy Communion, I realized that He was what I needed.”

“When Nicole became a Catholic initially, it was very annoying. She brought something into our lives that I didn’t want. It didn’t attract me at all. The progression came when I met Catholics that I actually admired and liked and could see what good people they were. Father Jordan was a big part of that. Without him I don’t think I would have ever ended up where I am.”

“I rely on Our Lord’s support and sanctuary and guidance now, trying to live my life a different way, in the way that someone who follows Christ should live it. I say the Rosary with the family now and I try to read the Bible every day, reflecting on the graces I’ve been given. I go to Mass in a different way. I am mystified by that sacrifice He made for us. It’s changed my life forever. Even though there may be difficulties, I’ll be a Catholic for the rest of my life.”

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Stephen and Nicole King

©Stephen and Nicole King have been married for 27 years and have 8 children. They live in Brisbane and attend the Oratory parish at Mary Immaculate, Annerley. This article is based on Stephen’s interview on Shalom World TV program, Jesus My Savior https://www.shalomworld.org/episode/why-should-i-believe-stephen-king-jesus-my-saviour

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