Search for the Truth…

I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. Proverbs 8:17

At the back of our property, I usually left the car parked and unlocked because we lived in a safe neighborhood.  One day, I opened the door of my car and there on the front seat was a pamphlet that read “The Whore of Babylon” and it went on to read all sorts of accusations against the Catholic church.  My first reaction was shock!  Continue reading

Scripture of the Day: Psalm 65:1

  Lent 4 (284x177)

Scripture of the Day:  Psalm 65:1
O God in Zion, we wait before you in silent praise, and thus fulfill our vow.  And because you answer prayer, all mankind will come to you with their requests.

Some people  know God answers prayer…others are skeptical, perhaps because their prayers seem to go unanswered.  Some have never read the Bible to know how God has answered and will answer prayers, and still others have never heard you share about your answered prayers. Continue reading

A word… Can it be an obstacle for understanding something?

We decided to host a foreign exchange student in our home the year that our daughter was a senior.   Kristine, from Norway, came to live with us. While driving to the lake, on our first short trip together, I had prepared some brownies to eat in the car.  I asked Kristine if she would like a brownie…she held up her finger indicating, “wait just a moment”, she looked in her translation book and then had a funny look on her face.  She said, “You want to give me a camera?”  (for those that are younger…there once was a camera named “Brownie”)  We all laughed and realized there are different meanings for the same word.  Kristina was happy the brownie I offered meant a sweet dessert!

A word could be an obstacle for understanding something!  We can get lost in the meaning of words.  I found that when I heard a term/word used, and I applied my understanding of that word based on what I had understood it to mean, I would be offended.  For example, the word “Conversion”.  As I understood the word…  My conversion to Christ happened at a very young age…so when someone Catholic would say to me about being converted to Catholicism… I thought…”I am already converted to Christ.”  Conversion has many aspects to its meaning.   Yes, we can get bogged down with the meaning of a word if we don’t know where a person is coming from… just like the English language… a word can mean opposites.. i.e.

dust: 1 to remove dust. 2 to cover with dust.

hysterical: 1 frightened and out of control. 2 funny.

fast: 1 moving quickly. 2 solid and unable to move.

con·vert – dictionary definition…

1.  to change (something) into a different form or properties; transmute; transform.
2.  to cause to adopt a different religion, political doctrine, opinion, etc.: to convert the heathen etc.   
What is true conversion? Is it merely “professing Christ as Lord and Savior”?  It depends on how you use the word… so if you are not Catholic, don’t get offended  if someone talks to you about conversion into the Catholic Church.
Yes, a word could be an obstacle for understanding…  I got over being offended when I realized what  the Catholic church meant regarding conversion.  Conversion is one of those words that holds several meanings.  So as I wrote before, don’t get bogged down when it comes to some words used… keep an open mind and find out.  I will say here that not all Catholics understand the churches meaning behind some words used, so if you talk to someone who seems confused…ask them directly what the church teaches, not what they think it teaches.  Aren’t we all like that…we make assumptions on here say, rather on finding out the truth from a reliable source.  I know I am.    The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes the various facets of conversion and I will share with you some of those points in a future post.  I will leave you with a verse today…
2 Timothy 2:14

 Remind them of this, and warn them before God that they are to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening.
No wrangling allowed….

Intro to Catholicism 101…. or 101 reasons I wouldn’t become a Catholic

Interesting title.. wouldn’t you agree.  If you are not a Catholic…the second title is probably the one you would pick.  Me too…before I became a Catholic.  I became a Catholic over three years ago.  I wrote three short chapters about events in my life that led me to join the Catholic church which is under my blog heading…”The Catholic Way”.  There were so many other stories I could have included about my journey…God incidences that led me on this journey and perhaps along the way you will hear more about those “God incidences”.

I have already stated that I am not scholar, or a professional writer…but what I am and know that many of you are as well … “Christian”.  We all hold that in common and love God.   Right up front, please forgive me if I offend you with anything I write… that is not my purpose.  But as I said in an early blog…”When you find something so precious – so life changing, you want others to experience it too”…this is where my heart is coming from.  So we may agree to disagree…but in the bond of Christian love we must try to understand.

There are many books written about these topics that will go more in-depth and I will list some for your reading “pleasure” as we go along.

So are you still with me???  I won’t list the 101 reasons I wouldn’t become Catholic as you already may have your own list… but I will tell you in Catholicism 101 what I did learn in my search for truth.

If you are curious about this..then read on to the next post called:

A word… Can it be an obstacle for understanding something?

Why I became Catholic…Final Chapter Three

A new priest had just come to the parish (Father Rick Heilman).   If I shut my eyes, I could have sworn that he was a protestant minister (and I mean this in a very good way).  He talked about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  He was inspiring and on fire for God and this really appealed to my heart.

While attending our lake church and hearing the good news, I wondered why there was such a separation between Christians.  I never studied church history, so I decided it was time to read about it and try to understand why there is such a big division between Catholics and Protestants.  I spent over a year researching and reading and surprised how little I knew of Church history. There had been some nagging questions on my heart over the years that just hadn’t been answered in my faith background.  Some things that just didn’t make sense to me and I would often read scripture and then ponder how that related to what my Protestant church had taught me.

Ever since the start of the Protestant Reformation around 1517,  the LINE was drawn and both sides claiming right about their way of believing…forever creating a division in Christ’s church.   What happened in the past to cause this division?  For a long time, Christians were all of one accord….  They were Christ followers…not without their own problems.  “We are right, you are wrong.”   It is a shame that Martin Luther’s challenge to some of the Catholic Church beliefs soon took on a life of its own…far from what I suspect he intended.   We will probably never know all that happened back then—but the devil, our enemy, loves when we become divided.  In division, there is weakness.  However, what the devil doesn’t’ understand is that God’s love and his Church will never fail.

So as I started to seek material to read…from both sides, the more I questioned what I believed about the Catholic Church.  I was beginning to realize I had many misunderstandings about the Catholic Church that has been passed down through hearsay by well meaning Christians.

My search intensified.  Some of the main questions I wanted answers to:

Saved by faith alone vs. Saved by faith and works

Communion as a remembrance of Christ vs. the Real presence of Christ in the Eucharist (Communion)

Why Catholics don’t allow Christians outside the Church to take communion in the Church?

Praying to Jesus alone for forgiveness of sins vs. Praying to Jesus and confession to a priest

The role or Mary, Saints, Pope, icons, relics and many other things…that were not a part of my Protestant upbringing…

During my search, I suddenly found myself needing a knee replacement. You are asking… what does that have to do with my search?  Good question!  While I was in the hospital recovering, our priest came to visit and pray for me.  All the sudden, I felt the need to tell Father Heilman that I was not a Catholic.  (On this particular day, I was hurting and on pain medication, so I blame my confession on the drugs! But I know it was the Holy Spirit working in my hospital room that day.)   I confessed that I had been married before my current marriage.   I told him how Holy Spirit had led me to apply for  an annulment of my first marriage two years after I had remarried, and how I still had the annulment approval papers in my file cabinet after some 30 years.

He said, “After your annulment, did you renew your vows in the Church?”  With a funny look on my face I said, “I don’t remember that we did.”  He replied that he could take care of that and we could meet after I recovered from knee surgery to start the process.  Then I told him that I had been taking communion all these years due to the guidance of a priest before our marriage (which by Catholic teaching is wrong).  He told me that he knew I was a Christian but that he would prefer that I stop taking communion until I became a Catholic. You may wonder why the Catholic Church doesn’t offer communion to all Christians.  If you are really interested in understanding this…you will do some research as I did.  Anyway, I was very sad about not receiving communion, but I respected our priest so much I did as he requested. From that point on, I did not receive communion, which meant I had to stay seated while others went forward to receive communion.  Staying seated in the pew when Communion is served meant one or two things: you are not Catholic or you have not confessed your sins.   Putting aside what others may think of my staying in my seat…I started to miss taking communion and I knew a decision had to be made in the near future.  You see taking communion meant a lot to me, although I didn’t believe in the real presence of Christ at that time, I still felt close to Christ.   So either I needed to go to a Protestant church for communion or join the Catholic Church.

At the end of our conversation, while I was in the hospital, Father Rick asked me if I liked to watch DVD’s.  I said sure…I would be having a lot of time to watch while recovering from knee surgery.  He just happened to own a series of DVD’s on the Catholic Catechism and wondered if I would like to view them.  I said yes.   Well…God stirred my heart and although some questions were answered, now I had new ones.  I knew until I answered these questions, I wouldn’t be taking communion soon.   After watching 48 hours of catechism explanations, I then decided to go through the RICA program at church.  This is a program for those looking to join the Catholic Church.  My dear instructor, Marie, was very kind and patient with all my questions in class and via email but I was still not ready to join.  What was left?

I had told my priest that out of respect for my mother, I would not join the Catholic Church as long as she was living.  Not that she would be displeased or reject me…just that my mother was a wonderful Christian and she and dad gave me a wonderful Christian heritage and I wanted to honor them.  My mother passed away two years later and now I had no excuse for not joining.

Another question I wanted answered, what did it mean to pray to Mary?  Ask and you will receive…as I was sitting in our family room, I picked up a brochure that had a portrait of Mary on the cover.  As clear as day, I heard the Holy Spirit’s voice say, “It is ok.  You are coming home.”  I then knew it was OK to have questions.  These questions would be answered in time.  God spoke clearly to my heart while I was seeking an answer.

Then, in June, one Corpus Christi Sunday, our priest gave a homily on the Eucharist (Communion)…and as I sat there listening to him, I developed a huge lump in my throat. I desired to have communion (Eucharist) so much that my heart ached and tears streamed down my face. I knew that the Eucharist was the Real Presence of Christ.   It was at this point I knew I would join the Catholic Church but when?

That same month, the doctor told me that I had uterine cancer.  And that I would need to have surgery.  In reflection, I decided I didn’t know what the Holy Spirits words “coming home” meant when I had looked at the brochure with Mary’s picture on the cover.   Did it mean that I was going to die from cancer?  Was I “Coming Home” to heaven, my new home?  Or, did it mean that I was “Coming Home” to the Catholic Church.  Since I didn’t know the outcome of my cancer surgery… I decided that I should join the Church before surgery… then “Coming Home” would be covered either way.

That week, we invited our priest over for dinner and during dinner I surprised my husband and our priest and announced that I wanted to become a Catholic.  Since I had already gone through the RCIA program and had been baptized as a young adult, there were just a couple things I needed before I entered the Catholic Church and our wonderful priest said that he would help me take care of those things and agreed to take me into the Church before I had surgery. (see posts about my Cancer Journey)

I thank God for this journey of faith starting from a small child to today.  Never did I think he would lead me to join the Catholic Church, but I am glad that this is where my journey has taken me.

Many are on a journey of faith…one that we are on throughout our life.   The learning never stops, unless we stop it.

I was blessed with a wonderful foundation of faith and now I had found a new love for  the Catholic Church.  In my face book site and blog, The Catholic Way, I will share with those who are seeking the explanations of misunderstandings Protestants, like me, had/have about the Catholic Church in hopes of bringing unity in the body of Christ.

There were so many other things that happened along this journey…to many to write… I love my new Church… the reverence, the beauty, and the truth that it holds.  I want you to know I love my Christians friends…both Catholic and Protestant…they have all taught me so many things.  We can agree to disagree about doctrine…but the one thing we have in common is our love for The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit… God, three persons manifested in one.  We must come together to share God’s blessings, to encourage one another, and to build up the body of Christ.

Now is the time we come together… honoring and obeying our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  We are accountable for what we learn and the insight we are given. Thank you for reading “Why I became Catholic”.  I hope this inspires you to find answers to your questions.

I welcome you to return to my blog… I am in the midst of placing all  my posts in categories so it will be easier for you to find what you want to read be it Spiritual Encouragement, My Cancer Journey, My Mother’s Journey or The Catholic Way, etc.  I will also be testing out some new designs for this blog as well… so please leave your comments about how each one appeals to you and the ease of use.

Why I became Catholic…Chapter Two

So you ask, what took me so long, or perhaps you wonder why now?  Good questions… God’s timing is always perfect.  One of the things I have learned is never give up praying for someone.   What do I mean by this?   Well, there are a lot of God stories on my faith journey that brought me to this point in my life. 

My husband, being raised Catholic,  is a faithful practicing Catholic, but he would admit that he didn’t have a personal walk with God until we moved to Wisconsin 15 years ago.  That is when his faith became alive. Before we moved, He faithfully attended Mass each week but didn’t pray much or read the Bible.  He did what he thought he should do…and he use to say, “He went to get his ticket to heaven punched”.

Back in the 80’s, the Catholic Church we attended held classes called “Renew”.  The classes were held in private homes.  Renew taught exactly what I had known for so many years, how to experience a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  This appealed to me so much that I volunteered to guide our small study group. 

When Vatican II happened, many things changed that made me feel at home in the Catholic Church.  Since I didn’t understand Latin…I didn’t like Mass before.   Now everything was in English.   Along with that, the Renew study encouraged Catholics to read their Bibles, which I was accustom to do since a child.  So in incremental ways…I started to feel more accepting of the Catholic faith, even though I still did not understand some of the things that the Catholic Church teaches.

I would go to Mass occasionally with my husband and to satisfy my longing for fellowship with other Christians, God provided opportunities for me to serve him through non-denominational Bible studies, Youth for Christ, even as a leader of a Christian Women’s Fellowship at a local church.  All these things were able to satisfy my need for what I was familiar with from my upbringing.  

When we moved to Wisconsin in 1999, we attended a small country church near our home.  The priest didn’t present good (sermons) homilies.  The homilies were weak in substance and always started out with a joke.  That did it; I rebelled and wouldn’t go to church there again.   However, we attended church near our lake home during the summer months.  A new priest had just come to the parish (Father Rick Heilman).   If shut my eyes, I could have sworn that he was a protestant minister (and I mean this in a very good way).  He talked about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  He was inspiring and on fire for God and this really appealed to my heart.

Next Chapter will describe why I chose to join the Catholic Church and what God incidences happened to bring this about….