Why I became Catholic… Chapter One

It is strange that nobody asked me why I became Catholic.  I say it strange because I have been a Protestant all my life.  Perhaps they just didn’t think twice about it since my husband is Catholic.  Of course it took me 32 years of marriage before I actually joined the Catholic church…so surely it couldn’t have only been because my husband was Catholic.  What changed?  Why now and why has no one asked?   Well, perhaps it doesn’t matter why I haven’t been asked, perhaps my sharing why is what matters…  Thus this is my story of how I became a Catholic.  If you are someone drawn to the Catholic church but have a lot of questions…I was right there where you are..so I encourage you to hang on and read further.  If you are a Christian but not a Catholic… I encourage you to read what truth I have found and I encourage you to do your own research as well. The scripture from Matthew 7:7-8  “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”

When you find something so precious – so life changing, you want others to experience it too. There have been some major milestones on my Journey. The first was when I gave my life to Jesus at a very young age.  I was brought up in a wonderful Christian home.  My parents (are) would be saints, if there was such a thing being a Protestant. Mind you, they were not perfect, and if you study the saints, you will find they were not perfect…but what made them so different? Their obedience to God in their daily lives, praying and serving others. That was my parents for sure and my family is so blessed to be raised by two wonderful obedient Christians. They are now in heaven enjoying the fruits of their labor and  walking and talking with Jesus in person.

To understand where I am coming from, I’ll share a bit of my journey. I attended the Wesleyan Methodist Church and during my teens years we started to attend the Church of the Nazarene. I received wonderful biblical teaching, memorized scripture, and saw first hand at home what it meant to live for God.

My first encounter hearing about Catholics….

As a little girl, while sitting in a little country church at a Wednesday evening prayer meeting, I remember my mother came to the defense of my fraternal grandmother during the service. I don’t remember everything said but I later learned that another relative said something mean to my grandmother out loud in church about having a son that went off and joined the Catholic church. My mother stood up and defended my grandmother.

Funny how I remember that so many years later.  This obviously made a big impression. Although my mom defended my grandmother, when I was as a little girl, she said, “Marilyn, never  marry a Catholic as there are to many differences in how we worship and believe.”  Yet years later, after I married my Catholic husband, my mother told me, “Marilyn, it is better for you  to worship together than part ways to different churches. So if he will not come with you, you should go with him.”  This is not the advice I wanted to hear and surprised that it came from my mother. I wanted him to come to church where I wanted to attend. I wanted him to find his way “out” of the Catholic church.  I see now that my mother’s advice was very wise.

As a little girl, I wasn’t sure Catholics were Christians…although they attended church, they did many things I thought Christians shouldn’t do… such as drink alcohol, smoke, play cards, dance, or use God’s name in vain….etc. They worshiped statues, they prayed to people who were already dead, they even believed that the Eucharist actually turned into the body and blood of Christ. Do you relate to any of these ideas?  Catholics went to church, confessed their sins to a priest (not to Jesus directly) and then went right back out and sinned all week. That is what I thought…   I  made my own assumptions based what I witnessed and thought was sin. So, along with being told not to marry a Catholic…I assumed that my assumptions were correct.

Growing up, I was around God-loving people, who took their faith seriously. Who prayed together with their families and read the Bible together. Who attended church as often as they could. They talked about their relationship with God through Jesus his Son.  So, what led me to join the Catholic church 33 years later?
My story will be continued…. Stayed tuned…Follow this blog and you will get an instant email message that I have posted.

Whiter Than Snow

As I was looking out my sunroom window today, I marvel at the glistening new layer of white snow we received.  In the sun, it almost looks like diamonds sparkling.  It brought to my mind another old hymn called “Whiter Than Snow”.    I am not crazy about winter snow, but when I see the beauty of the white snow and how clean it looks…it reminds me of God’s gift to us of washing us whiter than snow…  Hope you enjoy reading the lyrics to this song.  The next time you see a new fallen snow….remember what God will or has done for you…

  • Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole; I want Thee forever to live in my soul; Break down every idol, cast out every foe— Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
    • Refrain: Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow, Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
  • Lord Jesus, let nothing unholy remain, Apply Thine own blood and extract every stain; To get this blest cleansing, I all things forego— Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
  • Lord Jesus, look down from Thy throne in the skies, And help me to make a complete sacrifice; I give up myself, and whatever I know— Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
  • Lord Jesus, for this I most humbly entreat, I wait, blessed Lord, at Thy crucified feet, By faith for my cleansing, I see thy blood flow— Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
  • Lord Jesus, Thou seest I patiently wait; Come now and within me a new heart create; To those who have sought Thee Thou never said’st “No”— Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
  • The blessing by faith, I receive from above; Oh, glory! my soul is made perfect in love; My prayer has prevailed, and this moment I know, The blood is applied, I am whiter than

Surrendered

Psalm 112  1.  Praise the LORD  Blessed are those who fear the LORD,  who find great delight in his commands.   2. Their children will be mighty in the land; … the generation of the upright will be blessed.  3.  Wealth and riches are in their houses,  and their righteousness endures forever.  4. Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,  for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.  5. Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely,  who conduct their affairs with justice.  6. Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever.  7. They will have no fear of bad news;  their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.  8. Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;  in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.  9. They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor,  their righteousness endures forever;  their horn (dignity) will be lifted high in honor.

God speaks to us through the Bible.  As I was reading this scripture today I started looking closely to the words.  Do I delight in his commands…  We live in such a time that we tend to complain about commands and I had to ask myself, “Although I don’t verbally complain about God’s commands…do I internally?  Do I choose what I’ll obey from God’s word, like it was a catalog.  Have I said, ‘I’ll do that one and that one and that one….but I am not going to do that one.’ “  It comes down to how much I reverence the Lord.   If I reverence the Lord, I will delight in his commands.   I will want to obey….all of them.  When we obey…that is being surrendered.  There was an old song I learned as a child in church called “I surrender All”.  It went like this, “I surrender all, I surrender all, all to Jesus I surrender, I surrender all”  Have you surrendered?  Do you delight in His commands?  When you love someone, you want to please them and you listen to them.  Is today your day to surrender your all to Him?  Dear God, Help us to surrender to you out of reverence for who you are knowing that you will put a desire in us to delight in your commands.  Love, Marilyn    Filed Under: Uncategorized

Confession is good for the Soul

There is something about “coming clean”….. “owning up”…. “putting it out there”… “being perfectly honest”…. that is good for the Soul.  It is sometimes hard to do…but when you humbly confess you feel so much better… you feel free and peaceful, at rest with God.

Before I became a Catholic, I confessed  to God directly….but some sins, although I confessed them and felt God had forgiven me…my soul would not rest.  It wasn’t until I confessed them to a priest, who listened, prayed for me and counseled me, and I heard the words from God through the priest, telling me I was forgiven— that my soul was at rest.

Christ said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

We are accountable for our actions in word, thought and deeds.  We are accountable to each other as Christians…yet so few hold each other accountable.

Remember the sinking feeling you had when you had to go to your parents to confess something that you had done wrong.  I know for me… I didn’t want to disappoint my parents, yet I knew that I had to confess to them my wrong doings. I hated to do that as I didn’t want to disappoint them. yet I knew they would be even more disappointed if I hid something from them.  We can never hide anything from God… he knows our very thoughts.  Since he knows our very thoughts and see our actions….we cannot hide our sins.  That is why he sent his son Jesus to physically show us how much he loves us…that even while we were yet sinners, he allowed his only son to die for us on a cross…his Son, Jesus, took our punishment upon himself to pay the penalty for our sins.  God asks of us to confess, repent and turn from or sin.

Sometimes, we complete the confession…but we dont’ repent or turn away from that sin…and repeat it again and again….at which point we are grieving the Holy Spirit within us.  It is a process…asking forgiveness is only the first step….turning away from the sin is the second…and making amends for what we have done is the third.

So the parts I kept leaving out were turning away and making amends…thus that left the door open for repeating sin.  Confessing comes along with sorrow… was I sorry for what I had done…  did I want to make things right????  really???

Just like not wanting to face your parents for repeating a wrong….so it is with our heavenly Father.  Why would we want to offend him over and over ???  Perhaps we are not looking at the cross as closely as we should?

The priest, representing Christ in confession, tells me how much Christ loves me, that God is full of mercy and understands me more than anyone.  He wants to help me and He made a way to help me in blotting out any sin I have or will commit.  The priest reminds me what Christ did on the cross…how Christ has taken the punishment for my sin, then he encourages and gives me something to reflect on to help  me to turn from sin in the future…. I am sorrowful and agree to turn from my sin and to make amends.   Yes!  Confession is good for the Soul!! And my soul is at rest.

Thirst…..

Scripture of the Day:

Psalm 42:1-2
As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?

When we experience thirst throughout the day….   sometimes we become so thirsty that we long for a drink to quench our thirst.   If we wait to long, it doesn’t matter what we drink…but just that we get something into our dry mouths to relieve the thirst.  However, the best way to satisfy our thirst is some good clean water…..we take the first swallow and feel a relief and before you realize it…the whole glass is empty and we want more… then a satisfaction comes…a quenching.

Last year, after I came down with a bacterial infection post surgery, the doctors ordered that I was not to receive anything to drink because I might need surgery.  I never knew what real thirst felt like until then.  After two days, my mouth became parched.  After three days, my tongue felt like leather….  I thirsted for water so much I even dreamed about drinking water.  They allowed me to have ice chips to melt in my mouth but then told me to spit the water out….  That was temporary relief for my mouth…but my desire for water was so strong.

It is like that with our souls… we long for something to quench our thirst and at times we try to satisfy our needs with everything but God… we find those things do not really satisfy our need.  Like our natural body pants for water… our souls thirst for God.  “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. ”  When can I go and meet with God?”

I pray that my soul thirsts for God everyday so much that I can hardly wait to meet with Him in prayer.  Is your soul thirsty today… are you becoming parched?  Then go to God of  living waters and immerse yourself.  He will quench your thirst!

Starting Tuesday…..rather than Monday!!

In December I met with a Physical Therapist who informed me about the lymphedema I now have for the rest of my life due to the surgery I had back in July.  1 person out of 100 develop lymphedema after having robotic surgery for cancer…for me it is a result of removing many lymph nodes from my abdominal area.  They remove them as that is the first place uterine cancer would spread.  So to make sure there is no cancer there… they remove them.

 Lymphedema is swelling.. in my case, my legs, especially the left leg.  Feel free to look it up on the internet…  Don’t look at the pictures…as they may gross you out….but rest assured if you do look, my legs are far from those pictures and I don’t intend on letting them get that way.

I have never understood what lymph nodes do for the body….until now.  They are important little nodes to have.  However, now that I have lymphadema… support stockings, bandage wrapping, PT exercises…will all be a daily routine for me.  I guess I will be more in touch with my body than ever before… we will have to become friends!

I admit I am not a very good patient…  I still have not developed a routine of doing the lymphatic massage two times a day…nor do I wear support hose during the day…and often don’t wrap my legs at night.  But after a few days of neglecting all these… my legs get swollen and hard and eventually hurt. 

Just the past couple of weeks I decided I needed to step down from some volunteer work and focus on getting into the habit of taking care of my body.  So I’ll start on Monday… no wait… maybe that is when I start my diet… no perhaps it is when I start my new water class.  Oh for goodness sakes…guess I will be starting a lot of new things to get my physical body back on track.

Have you ever promised yourself that you would start on Monday… I am thinking with all the failed Mondays I’ve tried… perhaps I will start on Tuesday to make this different.  So here’s to Tuesday!  Do you need to start something come Tuesday?  Join me!

What time I am afraid….

Our mother wrote about Psalm 23…when she was still living on earth in August 2004.  I wanted to share this today as I was talking to a friend about her fear…   

Recently I had a new insight into a very old scripture.  When I shared with my girls later, Carol asked me to put this into writing for her…. (Thank you Carol for asking mom to put her thoughts into writing…  )

One of the very first passages of Scripture that I memorized as a child was the 23rd Psalm… so familiar that I seldom refer to it even think about it.  However, those words came to my mind, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”  It has been almost two years since my husband of almost 60 years left me for Heaven.  So I realized the Lord really had been my Shepherd and I had been cared for and never been in want.

So I continued quoting the verses until I came to this one: “Yea, tho’ I walk thro’ the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil” – and that is when it hit me.  I had always connected that verse with meaning “not fearing death or dying.”  Twice in my adult life I was “sick unto death,” as the Bible puts it, and I asked God to either heal me or take me Home (heaven).  I would be content either way,  just don’t let me linger on in such illness that my family would all become exhausted caring for me.  I have seen that happen all too many times and that was my greatest fear.  I just could not bear the thought of that happening.

But now, I realize the psalmist was not talking about death at all.  But he was speaking of the very thing I was so fearful of.  “Yea, tho’ I walk’ – you don’t get there very fast walking, for it is a slow, prolonged process.  “Thro’ the valley.”  I’d rather be up on the mountaintop where I could overlook the valley, but the psalmist went ahead to say “of the shadow of death.”

Could God be preparing me for my own “walk” in the future?  And that I should not be afraid, “For thou art with me.”  Or am I to share with someone else who may be going thro’ their valley?  Only time will tell.

Then I am reminded that in Psalm  56:3 the same psalmist said, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee,” and I am blessed with that assurance.

 ( I wonder what mom is doing in heaven today….rejoicing I am sure and without fear!!)