This Catholic Journey
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Location: Reno, Nevada, United States

I am a Catholic mother of five beautiful children. I've got teens and toddlers so my hands are full! Every day is a journey... some good, some bad but each one is a learning experience!

Friday, September 29, 2006

"Former" Catholics

It seems the most difficult people to inform about my conversion to Catholicism are those who were "raised Catholic" and are, for various reasons, bitter against it. I encountered this last night at my Bible Study when I informed them that I was becoming a Catholic but would like to continue attending the study, if they would be okay with it.

One gentleman was not out and out rude or anything but he told me that maybe my calling was not to enter the church but to attend in order to bring people OUT. As graciously as possible, I said, "No... Actually I AM being called to enter the Church. I've done a lot of reading, studying and praying and this IS where God is taking me." He then made some comment like, "Well, if during the study you ever felt led to stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down... (ha ha)" I said, "No, no... when in Rome..." I could sense his "horror" at the idea that I was becoming a Catholic. He announced, "Well, we will need to be praying for YOU then!" I responded, "Thanks! I appreciate your prayers and I ask that you do not pray that I will leave Catholicism but that I will follow God's will because that is what we should ALL be doing... following God's will for our lives."

Other members of the group said they have enjoyed my insight up to this point and that they will enjoy hearing my perspective of things in the future... This was wonderful to hear. One of the guys said, "I only hope you'll continue to be comfortable with US!" I said, "Absolutely! This is what I've always known. This IS my comfort zone... I love the people of that church and I love the pastors. I simply don't agree with all of the theology but it doesn't mean I want to end all my relationships with the people."

Overall, the reaction, though not positive, was not really negative and I left feeling good that I was able to let them know where God was taking me without being condemned on the spot. I told all of them that if they EVER wanted to discuss with me the various doctrines or question the things they believe the Catholic Church teaches that they think are in error, I'd be more than happy to plan a time to meet with them or talk with them on the phone. I let them know that I realized many would not understand this decision without an explanation and that I completely understand because I would have thought the exact same way less than 6 months ago!

But back to the original thought... the most difficult to talk to are the ones who left the Catholic Church... I think it's horribly unfortunate that their experience left them with animosity toward the Church since that is never what the Lord would have wanted.

There are also those who have had one bad experience that formed their opinion of the entire Church as well. My dad, for example, went to the funeral of a friend when he was much younger in which the priest condemned to hell the guy who'd died stating that anyone who lived like him would also end up in hell. This one experience gave my dad the impression that ALL priests do this... HORRIBLE! But I told him that this is NOT normal nor allowed and that one cannot base their entire opinion on one bad experience. If one has a bad experience at a grocery store, do they stop going altogether? At the doctor's office? The dentist? The car repair shop? They don't blame the entire industry! They just find another one within the industry where they have better customer service...

It saddens me when I hear someone was "raised Catholic" and they claim to never have heard about what Christ did for them... about a personal relationship with Christ. How could they look year after year at Christ crucified and not have an understanding of what Christ did? Why does the term "personal relationship" used in Protestant circles with Catholics make them think they didn't already have a personal relationship just because that term hasn't been used?

This makes me realize how much I must ensure that my children grow IN the faith... with a deep understanding of the faith so that when they grow up, they will never doubt that they DO have a personal relationship with Christ and have a full understanding of who Christ is and what He did for us. My hope is to raise my children to love God and the Church that He established so they will not be a "bitter former Catholic" who simply missed all the beauty and truth within Catholicism.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Update

I just want to say a special thank you to all those who have prayed, are praying, and those who will continue to pray for me and my family.

Whenever a doubt creeps up, something is said that puts everything back in place. Have I ever mentioned that I love Catholic radio?

I love Catholic radio.

There... I said it.

I missed RCIA last week but I'm looking forward to going back tonight. Finally getting it out to my family was a good move because I don't have to "hide" it anymore and I feel I can freely continue to pursue God's will for my life.

I just started Chapter 18 in "Catholicism and Fundamentalism". What a great book! It's taking me forever to get through it with school and work and church and kids and... and... but every time I pick it up, I don't want to put it down!

I wrote an email to my parents yesterday and sent a couple of links from Renewal Ministries' "Food for the Journey" program. I wanted them to see that I'm not falling into something whacked and heretical... that this whole thing is about God... not the Pope, not Mary, not legalism... or any other imaginable thing. It is ALL about God and I wanted them to see that Catholics believe this no less than they do.

I hope they will keep their hearts open.

On another note, please keep my sister and her husband in your prayers... The birthmother, who convinced them she was 100% sure about her choice, backed out of the adoption.

Today's prayers:
Damion
Sister and husband - peace and strength
Deanna's husband - health
Parents - understanding
Self - motivation, patience, peace

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Informing the family

I was not nearly as nervous as I expected to be as I spent the afternoon with my family. I told my sister first. She was great about it... understanding that Catholics are ALSO Christians. She even told me that she's experienced moments in a Catholic church where she felt very close to God... And she knows she's in no position to judge.

My mom and dad did not take the news as gracefully. I informed them that I would not be regularly attending church with them any more and they questioned me as to why. I told them my personal story... leaving out some details of course, or I would have been there all night!

My mom asked me how I justified praying to Mary. I explained that one is not required to pray to Mary to be a Catholic but explained the difference in prayer to Mary and prayer to God. "They are 'dead'" was her main point... dead in body, yes... but their soul lives on and is still a part of the body of Christ. I don't think my answer was heard, much less accepted... which was to be expected.

What hurt the most about the whole thing was my mom asked if I was "saved". I couldn't believe my ears. It was like my own mom didn't even know me. I told her that I do not believe that salvation is a one-time event and that is why we are called to "work out our salvation with fear and trembling". She told me that that is not what that verse means! I suppose there are a million different interpretations for that verse, able to be used by anyone for their personal advantage...

In short, when the conversation began to heat up a bit, I simply said, "I don't want to argue... I just wanted to let you know what was going on with me. I don't expect you to understand and your reaction was also not unexpected. I have a book I can leave with you that easily explains various doctrines of the church if you so choose to read it."

My mom then asked me if I would be willing to read a book written by an "ex-Catholic who left the Catholic Church". I told her I'll read whatever she wants me to read.

I left the book but she didn't have on hand the one she wants me to read.

She asked me if I believed "this" and "that" and I told them yes but explained that I am not willing to answer questions shot at me like ping pong balls. I told them if they wanted to discuss a particular area of concern, that I'd be more than happy to plan a subject and a time...

I also explained that I was no just jumping blindly into Catholicism... that I've been reading and studying and praying for a while about everything... and that I'm only following God.

Both of my parents hugged me when we were done talking with each other (so at least I know they aren't going to disown me!)

My prayer is that they will see I am still the same person.

I thank God for my sister and her very kind and loving reaction.

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Friday, September 22, 2006

It's Time

Sunday is the day.

I'll be going to my parents' house on Sunday afternoon and I will be telling them the good news.

I pray for wisdom in my choice of words.

I pray for calmness and clarity of my mind.

I pray their hearts will be prepared to hear me.

I pray for understanding on all our parts.

I pray that I will know if the time, for whatever reason, is not right.

I pray that the Lord will hold us all together.

If the Lord puts it upon *your* heart, please pray for all of us.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Honor a hero

Kyrie Eleison has tagged me:

Here are the rules:
1. Honor a living hero
2. Preference given to Firefighters, Police Officers, Paramedics, EMT's, Dispatchers
3. Not everyone is acquainted with someone fitting into these categories. If this is the case, then honor someone else, a hero in your life who is willing to "give all" in some way. It can be a priest, a pastor, a teacher, a relative, a friend...etc.

I chose this one because this story most recently touched me.

John McLoughlin (World Trade Center attack survivor)
John McLoughlin (born ca. 1953) was one of two Port Authority Police survivors of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, and is the subject of an Oliver Stone film released in 2006.

The film World Trade Center retells the story of McLoughlin (played by Nicolas Cage) and William Jimeno. The two Port Authority police officers were rescued after being trapped in the rubble at Ground Zero. Jimeno was pulled out after 12 hours; McLoughlin came out after 22 hours.

McLoughlin led a team of four officers, including Jimeno, between the two towers on the main concourse when the first tower collapsed. The five ran toward a freight elevator, and were buried in the ensuing collapse of the concourse. Officers Antonio Rodrigues and Chris Amoroso were killed immediately. McLoughlin, Jimeno and a third officer, Dominick Pezzulo, were trapped but alive. The freight elevator withstood the devastation, creating breathing room that saved their lives. Pezzulo managed to free himself, but the collapse of the second tower caused shifting and additional debris falling through, and he was mortally wounded.

McLoughlin and Jimeno eventually were rescued when former marines Jason Thomas and Dave Karnes heard their cries for help.

"As we were walking we were yelling at the top of our lungs ‘United States Marines, can anyone hear us?'" Karnes described. "As we approached the depression of the south tower I thought I heard something. Indeed it was some muffled call for help, I ensured them that Thomas and I were both looking for them so keep yelling so we can find you."


The two men were eventually rescued after hours of painstaking effort.
McLoughlin was gravely injured. Doctors kept him in a medically induced coma for six weeks. He underwent 27 surgeries and took months to recover. Jimeno spent nearly three months in the hospital and rehabilitation.

Four months after their rescue, McLoughlin and Jimeno - who both have since retired - took part in a ceremony at Ground Zero to watch as the final column was removed. When all the uniformed officers walked out of The Pit, the last two to be rescued were the last to leave. On June 11, 2002, McLoughlin (with a walker) and Jimeno (with a limp) walked across a stage at Madison Square Garden to receive the Port Authority's Medal of Honor.

Source: Wikipedia Article

I tag:
Deanna at JIP's Journal
Julie at sotto sotto

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Doubt

My second RCIA class included a thorough tour of the church. It's nice to have a better understanding of everything. There's more I had written but I lost it all and I don't want to re-write it.

It seems I'm having a few doubts today but I'm not up for posing the questions that are in my head. I'm thinking that by tomorrow, I'll be feeling secure again so it would simply be pointless.

I'm really trying to do what I need to do to build on my faith but I'm still feeling so little. It's almost like I'm waiting for something more noticeable. It makes me wonder what I'm doing wrong.

I've been really unmotivated to write lately... Just letting things swim around in my head and visiting forums.

I'm seeking joy... genuine joy. It seems impossible to attain.

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Beginning RCIA

I haven't had much time to write lately. I've been really busy at work and with life in general. RCIA began on Wednesday night. I enjoyed it and I'm really looking forward to continuing through it.

I finally finished "Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic". It was another great book that I'd recommend to anyone exploring the Catholic faith.

There are so many books I want to read, it seems I'll never get through them all, especially since school has started and I now have a class to read for as well. I'm lucky if I can sneak in two or three pages during breaks at work!

Though I feel I am still struggling with my faith a bit, I'm seeing little things happen that remind me that God truly is in control. The first night at RCIA, they handed out a prayer and it was one of the prayers I found online that SAME day that was SO perfect for what I am going through.


The Road Ahead - Prayer of Thomas Merton

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore, will I trust You always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.


What a wonderful prayer and a great reminder that I am not alone!

Another thing... I've been having a lot of anxiety lately but every time I begin to feel it, I simply pray that the Lord will take it away and He does, until the next time and then I just give it to Him again. Every morning, I thank Him for another day and ask for help to live it for Him.

Now, if I can just find the words to start that letter to my parents!

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Prayer for Today

Holy SpiritCome, Holy Spirit,
fill my heart with Your holy gifts.

Let my weakness be penetrated
with Your strength this very day
that I may fulfill all the duties
of my state conscientiously,
that I may do what is right and just.

Let my charity be such as to offend no one,
and hurt no one's feelings;
so generous as to pardon sincerely
any wrong done to me.

Assist me, O Holy Spirit,
in all my trials of life,
enlighten me in my ignorance,
advise me in my doubts,
strengthen me in my weakness,
help me in all my needs,
protect me in temptations
and console me in afflictions.

Graciously hear me, O Holy Spirit,
and pour Your light into my heart,
my soul, and my mind.

Assist me to live a holy life
and to grow in goodness and grace.

Amen.

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