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!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Things On My Mind

Tonight’s RCIA class is about Marriage and we are asked to bring our spouse/significant other. I managed to get a sitter so Damion could go with me since he usually is the one watching the kids. It should be an interesting evening and I’m looking forward to it!

 

The last few days I’ve been thinking about inviting my family to the Rite of Election and to the Easter Vigil Mass. I’m not sure if I should invite them to both or just Easter Vigil... I’m not sure if they’ll even agree to come. My mom is not one who likes to miss the “big things” in our lives but considering the way she feels about this, she may decide she simply cannot attend. In addition, I have the task of asking her to sign an affidavit stating that I was previously baptized. I have no certificate of baptism and the pastor who baptized me is living somewhere in California. The church I was baptized in fell apart so any records would likely be lost, if there were any to begin with. My mom does not recall having a certificate. I don’t think she can even recall the date I was baptized. If she refuses, I’ll need to seek out another witness... I pray my mom will simply agree to sign it.

 

Yesterday, I listened to the story of Fr. John Corapi. What an amazing and beautiful story! He was born into a Catholic family but did not understand the faith when he was young. Always seeking to “be somebody”, he became a Hollywood millionaire and got addicted to cocaine only to find himself broken and destitute. He eventually found healing in God’s mercy, was called to return to the Catholic faith and became a priest! His story is a perfect example of God’s healing love for us. You can get a copy for a small donation (as little as $1) on catholicity.com.

 

May God bless you this day!

 

 

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Why Do I Follow Jesus?

The website Catholic Call posed a great question in the reflection for today's reading:

Why do you follow Jesus and are you willing to endure hardship for the sake of the gospel?

I really wanted to stop and give this question an adequate answer. If a non-Christian asked me this question, what would my response be?

Why do I follow Jesus?

The short answer: He's the Son of God and He took on human flesh to die a horrible death so that I could be with him in heaven if I choose to live my life in faith and obedience to Him.

But what lies at the heart of it? Why do I, personally, follow Jesus? Well, who better is there to follow than the one who created me... the one who knit me together in my mother's womb and who knows me even better than I do myself? Who better, than the one who thinks of me every second of everyday, inside and outside of time? Who better than the one who would have died the same death even if it meant He would only save me, because His love is greater than anything I could ever fathom.

Am I willing to endure hardship for the sake of the gospel?

This part of the question seemed a bit more difficult to answer than the first part. I believe this is because it touches on what I avoid... hardship. In fact, I spent years running from surrendering to God because I feared He would ask me to do something difficult... because I feared the hardship that may come with obedience to Him.

Some days, I feel strong... capable of boldly standing up for the Truth. Other days, I feel weak... unable to find motivation even for life in general. In writing this, I realize this is something I should pray about.

Lord, change my heart. Make me bold for Your sake... willing to endure anything that comes my way. Teach me not to be afraid. At any price, let Your will be done and see me through. Amen.

I have been blessed thus far in that I haven't had to endure too much for the sake of my faith. When I ponder the awesome greatness of God, my Creator, I see just how small and petty those hardships might really be... Nothing is impossible with God.

Many have tried in the last few months to pull me down... Many have told me I could not possibly be following God. The enemy has worked to try to cast doubt in my mind and division in my family. But at every turn, if I keep my eyes on Jesus and I continue to follow Him, I return to a sense of peace...

I know why I follow Him.

Who better?

None!

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Friday's Feast #128

Appetizer
If you could take lessons to learn any musical instrument, which would you want to learn?
Piano! I took lessons when I was a kid but I can't play anything but chopsticks now!

Soup
Have you ever mistaken a person for someone else?
There was a time a few months ago, when my son answered the phone. He told me it was "Aunt April" so I thought it was my sister. I started talking to her like she was my sister, only to find out she was a someone from a phone company named April.

Salad
On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highest, how well do you keep secrets?
Ten.

Main Course
What's the closest you've ever been to a dangerous animal?
I've been within 10 feet of a moose... but I was safely seated in my car. A few months ago, I had a bear remove my hubcap when he ran out into the middle of the highway at night and hit my car!

Dessert
When was the last time you lost your patience?
A few weeks ago when I took the kids to the store and they would not listen to me. I take them to the store as infrequently as possible for this very reason.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Don't Shoot the Wounded

Last week, I had lunch with my dad. He told me he’d been chosen to lead a Bible Study on suffering (specifically, coming alongside people who are suffering) and forgiveness and he had no idea how he was going to go about it. For one, there are people in the study who have lost someone they love to a violent crime and forgiveness has been difficult for one of them, rightfully so. My dad said he wants to dig deep and tell the truth without being too generic but he says there a couple things that make this even more challenging: he’s never really experienced suffering or been put in a position where he has to forgive someone for something horrible.

He then relayed to me that he feels Christians often shoot their wounded. He’s seen people shunned for divorce and even my own mother experienced a shunning when she left a church about five years ago. She’d been there for years and even worked there for most of that time... but out of all the people she knew there, only five or so had anything to do with her after she left. It was a horribly painful time for her. In short, he doesn’t see many Christians coming alongside those who are suffering in order to comfort or help them.

So, I tried to give my dad some help on the topic telling him that Christ was the ultimate example of suffering and forgiveness. We talked about that for a few minutes but I didn’t have much to offer beyond that. My own suffering in life has never been anything of great degree. I have experienced the beauty and growth that comes with forgiveness... but that’s for another post.

That very night, on the day I had lunch with my dad, we spoke in RCIA about the Paschal Mystery: Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection. What timing!

Nothing said really stood out to me until the end, when we were all praying.

At that time, it occurred to me, that while Christ was carrying his cross to be crucified, Simon of Cyrene came alongside him:

Matthew. 27:32
As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross.


Even God the Father knew that Christ in his humanity needed someone to walk with Him. Could Christ have done it alone? Sure! But I believe this serves as an example that even those who appear strong, need comfort and aid when they suffer. Could Simon offer much to Jesus? No... but he was there. Perhaps not even by choice... but there, nonetheless. I imagine that Simon went away a different man that day.

How then, should we treat those around us who are suffering? Do we often shoot our wounded? Or do we come alongside them, showing them the love of Christ?

Another thought came to mind as well. Christ gave us the ultimate example of suffering and forgiveness. He suffered for all of us. Every single sin we have ever or will ever commit, was placed on Him at that moment, including the sins against Him. Did he lash out? Did he pull Himself off the cross and say, “forget it, I just won’t do it”? No. He endured it all and forgave us.

In our own lives, do we strive to forgive those who have sinned against us?

When the price was paid, when the suffering was over and our sins were pardoned by his shed blood, he showed us His healing power by the Resurrection!

On the other end of our suffering, if we truly seek forgiveness, should we not also experience a bit of a resurrection of healing in our lives? Absolutely! God can heal us of our suffering, show us how to forgive and bring us to healing resurrection if we put our trust in Him.

Is there someone you need to forgive today? Is there someone you know who is suffering that you should comfort? Let’s not shoot our wounded, but instead, be like Simon of Cyrene... and remember that God shares in our suffering and will bring us to the other side, where we can find healing.

2 Corinthians 4:4-10
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Happy Birthday Video

I stumbled upon this video and it made me cry... We really need to pray for and reach out to the parents who suffer after abortion and do all we can to reach those facing a choice so they will choose life... and avoid regret.


Visit prolifemovies.com

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Monday, January 22, 2007

View of God

Q: Do you look at God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, differently now that you've become Catholic? If so, how?

A: My view of God has changed a bit but not drastically since converting to Catholicism. I now understand that my sin grieves God to a great degree. Previously, I don’t think I understood the depth of grief that God feels for those who turn away in sin. I still don’t fully grasp it but I’m getting to understand on a deeper level that sin severs my relationship with God and that I cannot just assume that that relationship is repaired unless my heart is truly repentant.

I am also beginning to get a grasp on the role of the Holy Spirit in my life... though I am not really able to put this into words. Previously, the Holy Spirit was sort of ignored. I don’t know if that was a result of my ignorance or a result of the way I’d been taught but I realize now that the Holy Spirit is active and should not be ignored...

Through study and prayer, I believe my view of God will change over time and I believe that this is true for anyone who is growing in the Lord. I believe I had a much more infantile look at God a year ago and my image is shifting into something more mature... Every day is another lesson. Every day I seek to know a little more of God and his purpose for my life.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

No Regrets!

Q: Do you have any regrets or apprehensions regarding leaving your Protestant faith and conversion to Catholicism?

A:Every single time someone has tried to influence me negatively against Catholicism, the twinge of doubt may enter for about 2 seconds and then I remember all that the Lord has shown me in the last few months and all doubt disappears.

I have to say I would be worried if I didn't have a little apprehension creep up on me now and again. This causes me to re-evaluate and bring it before God. God has always affirmed that I am doing the right thing and he removes all apprehension. In the process, I learn a little more, grow a little more and feel the presence of God a little more.

Just this morning, I got a message from a "very irritated Catholic" who said, "...if more people actually knew what the church fully taught they would have a lot less followers than they do. Also you were quite vitriolic on carries blog, In my experience converts tend to be quite judgmental and quite to point out the flaws in others faith. So RELAX!" [spelling errors corrected]

Of course, this is certainly not the way I like to begin my morning... but I thought it was quite appropriate timing in light of the question asked by tiber jumper. This is a perfect example of the comments I often endure that *sometimes* cause apprehension... but, like the others, I gave it up to God and remembered that God brought me here so comments such as this have little long-lasting effect on me.

What strikes me most about the comment is the assumption that people don't know what the church "fully" teaches... I'm curious to know what these teachings are that would cause people to leave if they "actually knew". After all, if I am being led astray, I think it would be better for them to present these things to me rather than making some sort of blanket statement with nothing to back it up.

Second, I didn't even know who Carrie was at first and then I remembered that this person is referring a blog I visited quite some time ago... I've never been "vitriolic" toward anyone. On the other hand, Carrie herself accused me of copying and pasting the comment I left her, and later had to back-track when she discovered that I did not, in fact, do that. She was over-all less than charitable about my comment because it was already covered by someone else. Needless to say, I quickly abandoned this blog because I found it to be "vitriolic" against Catholics. Not necessarily by the author but by so many other less charitable people.

Last, I don’t believe I'm being judgmental at all... and the simple truth of the matter is that there ARE flaws in other faith traditions. I believe I can say this because I lived it for the last 30 years. I'm not just slinging mud. I simply point out what I see as erroneous thinking. I am not condemning anyone... but I can and will point out the problems I have in reconciling those beliefs with what the Bible actually says. The most interesting thing about this comment is that I am not permitted to point out the flaws of other faiths, yet this commenter felt free to indicate that the Catholic faith has flaws.

In fact, their entire comment was self-contradictory.

But back to the question... While this has been one of the most difficult thing in my life, I have never been so sure of anything! I have no regrets. There are some things I miss terribly about my Protestant faith but I would never give up what I have now for those things.

I remember a prayer from long ago when I said to the Lord, "I want to obey you but I fear the outcome of such obedience." When I finally decided to let go and obey God, He broke me... and brought me to deep despair and pain. I had to rely only on Him. When He finally had me all to Himself, he brought me home... to His Church. This was not easy and it continues to be painful at times but I would not give it up for anything.

The Lord tells me not to worry and to be anxious for nothing. He knows my heart and He is ever faithful.

I am a Catholic Christian and I have no uncertainties because God is in control!

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Just Ask

I've been journaling online for about four years and every now and again I like to open the floor for people to ask questions.

So, ask away.

Is there anything you want to know about me, my life, my family, my faith?

Anything at all.

The Lord has turned all our sunsets into sunrise. -- St. Clement of Alexandria

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Re-focusing

Philippians 2:1-4
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.


This is a passage I need to spend more time contemplating in my life. I so often get caught up, as many of us do, in looking to my own interests. I do this in all aspects of my life... even with my own children.

It seems that the more I work on building my faith, the more I am attacked by the world and the more it seems that the evil one tries to break down what the Lord has built up in me. Yesterday was particularly difficult. I was irritable all day, easily frustrated and annoyed by my children. I woke up this morning with a prayer on my heart to seek ways to get over that frustration and subsequent negative reaction I give my children.

Their lives are so precious and I have them only for a short time. I want to show them my best but it seems they often get left-overs from me and I don’t want that for them.

Lord,

Please give me patience and the energy to focus more on them and less on myself. Please show me ways that I can encourage faith in them while they are still young so they will grow to be firmly planted in a relationship with you. Do not let negativity flood my relationship with them, but give me an abundance of your love and patience so I can positively encourage them in all aspects of their little lives.

Amen.

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Unity

Ephesians 4:4-6
There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

This is one of my VERY favorite passages...

A couple others verses (among many) that speak of unity are:

1 Corinthians 1:10
I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.

Romans 15:5
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus...

Col 1:18 says, "And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy."

If there is ONE body and the body is the church, then there is ONE church. If we are all to be united in mind and thought, why are there so many different denominations teaching so many differing doctrines? This brings up another question:

1 Tim 3:15
if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.

If the church is the pillar and foundation of the truth, but none of them agree on what is true, which church is this referring to? How do we know which one is teaching truth and which one is teaching partial-truth or heresy?

Mat 16:17-19
Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, andthe gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

Christ promised to protect his church from the gates of Hades and he gave this church (and Peter) the authority to bind and loose... If Christ kept his promise, which we know he did, which church did he protect? Which church has this authority to bind and loose?

We are to be united... there is one body, and one church, the pillar and foundation of truth, protected by Christ with authority to bind and loose. Where is this "one" church?

Perhaps the answer lies in taking a serious look at history.

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Friday's Feast #126

Friday's Feast allows me to tell you a bit about myself and step away from the normal entries to have a little fun... This is my first one but I'll be doing it each Friday. I got the idea from the Kyrie Eleison blog.

Friday’s Feast (link)

Appetizer
What comes to mind when you see the color orange?
I think of the California School for the Deaf at Fremont – Their school colors include orange and I once dated a guy who went there, went to his homecoming football game and dance with him... I can still picture the sweatshirt with orange lettering I brought home from there.

Soup
Did you ever get in trouble while you were in school? If so, what was it for?
I got caught cheating on a test once in high school. I’d seen other kids get away with it so I thought I could. I never got away with anything!

Salad
Which topping(s) make up your perfect pizza?
Just cheese, please.

Main Course
Do you believe in UFOs/aliens/etc.? Why or why not?
No, not at all. It’s possible because God could have created others elsewhere that we don’t know about... but I see no evidence of it, nor does God reveal anything about the it.

Dessert
What color is your bedspread/comforter/quilt?
My quilt has a bit of mauve, pink, and an antique white color.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Blog Issues *EDIT*

I realize my blog/site looks a mess when viewed using Firefox. This is something I intend to fix once I figure out how to do it and have some time to get it done...

Stick to Internet Explorer and you'll be able to view it the way it's intended...

I apologize to any Firefox users who endure the mess I've created! :)

*EDIT*
The issues appear to have been fixed... Hopefully, I can stop coding and get back to writing!
*END EDIT*

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Stem Cells from Amniotic Fluid

New stem cell research has found that stem cells can be found in amniotic fluid. This is great news because we will able to get these cells without harming and destroying embryos.

Unfortunately, our culture has so long forgotten the sanctity of life that many people are still planning to push for embryonic stem cell research.

If they can get stem cells by means that do not disregard the unborn, why in the world do they need to continue to push for embryonic stem cell research? Are they really looking for cures or are they just pushing they’re agendas?

What’s in it for these proponents of embryonic stem cell research? Money. Many politicians are going to feel the pressure of money to continue voting in destructive directions despite new research.

Many are going to look for ways to criticize this new research in order to justify a continuation of the killing of embryos. They’ll agree that the new discovery is “useful” but that it cannot replace embryonic stem cells... and they will press on.

As Catholics and as Christians, we are called to protect life. For years, our society has been pushing us to devalue human life by way of abortion and euthanasia. This is destructive and we cannot continue to turn a blind eye to it. What will our children have to fight if we do not fight now?

As individuals, we may feel as if we cannot change anything... but together, we can all make a difference.

What will you do to protect our future and the sanctity of life?

What will I do?

CNS: Amniotic-fluid stem cells hailed as another alternative to embryo use

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Monday, January 08, 2007

They Just Don't Understand

It seems my sister is even more opposed to my conversion to Catholicism now that I asked her to be the Christian witness. When I explained what that would mean, she was upset by the "rules" which she says alienate people.

I can understand this because this is how I felt about the closed communion before I understood the reasoning. Isn't it funny how we're all ready to follow the "rules" put out by our government: paying taxes, driving the speed limit, etc? But as soon as the Church has a "rule", it's legalistic or alienating? These rules, help me maintain a healthy relationship with God and help my children also get the best possible upbringing. Isn't that what we all want?

This gave me an opportunity to talk about the history of Catholicism and the authority the Catholic Church was given by Christ himself (in Mt 16) but I'm not sure if she really listened to much that I said. Unfortunately, we were nowhere near a Bible since we were in the middle of the mall so I was not able to substantiate much based on actual scripture but rather on paraphrased scripture.

I asked her what the pillar and foundation of truth is for the Bible. She said, "God." I told her about 1 Timothy 3:15 and said, "Why does God tell us in the Bible that the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth?" She told me that she didn't agree with that... of course, she has to because it's in the Bible!

She said she didn't really want to talk about it... and I got the response I had been waiting for, "Well, I went to four years of Catholic school so I know what they teach!"

If my family truly knew what the Catholic Church taught and held it up in light of scripture, they would also be converting.

This exchange with my sister made me realize how difficult it will be to EVER get my family to understand my reasons for conversion. It breaks me heart that they view me as "lost" when I am so much closer to God now than I was a year a go... when my understanding of Scripture is so much deeper than it was a year ago.

I am so thankful to know there are others out there who share in this journey because I cannot imagine how lonely I would feel otherwise. I feel like the outcast in my own family when I know that what I'm doing is right and that it's what GOD wants me to do. People are constantly trying to re-write my story for me. They cannot accept that this would be God's will and they'd rather believe I was never saved to begin with.

On one hand, this whole journey is joyous but it also comes with a lot of loss for me... but from suffering comes greatness. If Christ could suffer for all my sins, I certainly can suffer this small thing as I follow Him in obedience.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Elizabeth Ann Seton

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
The Church celebrates the life of Elizabeth Ann Seton today. As a convert to Catholicism and a single mother, I can identify with her greatly. Though I have only read little bits and pieces about her life over the past few months, I find her story interesting. I know I am going to need to choose a patron saint and it has been on my heart to choose her. I am putting this to prayer and seeing if that should be the Lord’s will.

Profile from Patron Saints Index:

Born into a wealthy and influential Episcopalian family, the daughter of a Dr Richard Bayley, Elizabeth was raised in the New York high society of the late 18th century. Her mother died when Elizabeth was three years old, her baby sister a year later. She married the wealthy businessman William Magee Seton in 1794 at age 19, and was the mother of five.

About ten years into the marriage, William's business failed, and soon after he died of tuberculosis, leaving Elizabeth an impoverished widow with five small children. For years Elizabeth had felt drawn to Catholicism, believing in the Real Presence in the Eucharist and in the lineage of the Church going back to Christ and the Apostles. She converted to Catholicism, entering the Church on 14 March 1805, alienating many of her strict Episcopalian family in the process.

To support her family, and insure the proper education of her children, she opened a school in Boston. Though a private and secular institution, from the beginning she ran it along the lines of a religious community. At the invitation of the archbishop, she established a Catholic girl's school in Baltimore, Maryland which initiated the parochial school system in America. To run the system she founded the Sisters of Charity in 1809, the first native American religious community for women.

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Reconciliation

I often hear many people say that what they look forward to upon entering the Church is the Eucharist. This is also true for me, but even more, at this point, I am looking forward to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. "Confession" used be my biggest argument against Catholicism. Of course, my issue was not with "confession" as defined by the Church but what I “thought” confession was. I thought, "Why does anyone need to confess their sins to a man when we can go straight to Jesus?"

When I examined the sacrament closely, and came to realize what the Church truly taught and why, I had this huge urge to go. I believed in the sacrament and its efficacy and I couldn"t wait. I wanted to get up right then and there at 11:00 at night and go! This was before I realized I even wanted to BE a Catholic. So, what does Bible say about it?

Jesus Christ was sent to us to forgive sins. We know that all forgiveness comes from Christ and that without Christ, no one would be forgiven. However, before Christ left this earth, did he give the authority to men to forgive sins?

Jesus said to the apostles, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." (John 20:21-23)

Paul also tells us, "All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation." (2 Cor 5:18-16)

These passages show us that the authority to forgive sin was given to the apostles, who were the leaders of the Church. It is understood that the forgiveness comes from God through these men.

James says, "Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much." (James 5:16)

Here we see that we are to confess our sins to one another, so confessing to men is clearly not condemned in the Bible.

In fact, I'd be interested to know if there are any passages that tell us we must confess our sins straight to Jesus or to God alone. If anyone can find one, please leave a comment.

Reconciliation: the act of restoring friendship or harmony

Confessing our sin reconciles us to our Lord. Light cannot be in communion with darkness and sin brings darkness into our hearts and lives. When we repent with a truly contrite heart, we are forgiven and restore our friendship with God.

The Bible is so clear on this issue, it amazes me that I did not see this before. Of course, I still believe that we CAN and should confess our sins directly to Jesus but we are given the gift of this sacrament. I long to hear the words of absolution and to know that I am truly forgiven! I now understand that Christ is forgiving us through the priest, who was given this authority by Christ himself 2000 years ago to bind and loose, forgive and not forgive...

The Catechism states:
1441 Only God forgives sins. Since he is the Son of God, Jesus says of himself, "The Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins" and exercises this divine power: "Your sins are forgiven." Further, by virtue of his divine authority he gives this power to men to exercise in his name.

1442 Christ has willed that in her prayer and life and action his whole Church should be the sign and instrument of the forgiveness and reconciliation that he acquired for us at the price of his blood. But he entrusted the exercise of the power of absolution to the apostolic ministry which he charged with the "ministry of reconciliation." The apostle is sent out "on behalf of Christ" with "God making his appeal" through him and pleading: "Be reconciled to God."

1461 Since Christ entrusted to his apostles the ministry of reconciliation, bishops who are their successors, and priests, the bishops' collaborators, continue to exercise this ministry. Indeed bishops and priests, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, have the power to forgive all sins "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

1466 The confessor is not the master of God's forgiveness, but its servant. The minister of this sacrament should unite himself to the intention and charity of Christ. He should have a proven knowledge of Christian behavior, experience of human affairs, respect and sensitivity toward the one who has fallen; he must love the truth, be faithful to the Magisterium of the Church, and lead the penitent with patience toward healing and full maturity. He must pray and do penance for his penitent, entrusting him to the Lord's mercy.

I very much look forward to this sacrament... and the healing I believe will come from it.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Finding a Godparent

In roughly three months, I will be officially accepted into the Catholic Church. I am waiting with great anticipation and, at the same time, I have the task of trying to find a godparent for my three children, who will be baptized in the spring. I have no idea who this person will be.

Several weeks ago, I asked my sister if she wanted to be the Christian witness, but I'm not sure she's up for the part. She is not staunchly anti-Catholic or anything but she doesn't understand the faith and, therefore, has some reservations about it. She's the only one in my immediate family who is not condemning my decision to become Catholic. Ironically, she's also the only one who attended a Catholic high school. (I find this amazing in light of my parents' reaction.)

My children are willed to her should anything happen to me but this presents a small problem because she would not take them to the Catholic church. I asked that she only NEVER speak negatively of the Catholic faith in front of them, which I don't believe she would, and that she permit them to still attend the Catholic Church should the godparent (whoever that may be) be willing to take them in my place. I asked her to think and pray about it and talk it over with her husband, who happens to be a former Catholic.

Strangely, my sister and her husband are godparents for their niece but I'm puzzled at how this was permitted since neither of them are practicing Catholics... I'm also puzzled why someone would choose godparents who are not practicing their faith. Doesn't that seem a bit contrary to the purpose of a godparent?

There is no one else I'd will my children to. I only hope that it will never come down to that and if it does, I pray that the Lord would continue to guide them in the Catholic direction. I'd hate for them to miss out on all the beauty and treasures contained in the Catholic faith, which encourage such a reverence and love for the Lord.

I thank the Lord for my Protestant background, which I believe has led me to a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith. Everything good in Protestantism remains with me still and I will encourage those positive aspects in my children as well. I know if something happened to me, that my children would still be raised knowing the Lord, which gives me comfort but I pray that God will bless my children with a faithful Catholic who will stay actively involved in their growing faith... a godparent that God may be preparing even now for such an important role.

Amen.

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