Sunday, July 15, 2007

One of the interesting moments yesterday. . .

While at the Luis Palau Festival yesterday, (actually we were leaving to go dine with friends) we crossed the street and saw a handmade sign, leaning against a chair that read: "WHY I LEFT THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH" A man about my age was a "lone voice" crying in the wilderness...only he was decrying the Roman Catholic Church and handing out his "Why I Left the Roman Catholic Church" one-page bio to passersby. Oops...then along came Susie.

I had not a bone of animosity in my body, no anger per se, but really a deep pity and sorrow for this mixed-up soul. I walked up to this man named, Peter ___, (his last name is on the paper, but I won't add it here) and smiled. He handed me his paper. I accepted and then said: "I'll trade you" Smiling with honest heart-felt sincerity, I handed him our RECON brochure. Much to my surprise, he accepted it and put it in his back pocket. At least he didn't fire it into the nearby garbage receptacle...and I pray he didn't later do so. I prayed for him while walking to our car, reading his bio to my friend, Sarah, who was standing by me as we waited for Rich to pick us up. I continued to pray for him at 3 a.m. this morning when I awoke at the Divine Mercy hour. We may go down there today, and I hope to talk to Peter. Pray for us.

Below is Peter's story as to why he left the Roman Catholic Church. He wasn't drawing a big crowd. I think most were simply being polite when they took his sheet of paper. Three seminarians did go over to speak with him. I don't know what they said. My heart was aching for him. I was once like him in my errant and biased view against the RCC. In fact, he was wearing a t-shirt with Keith Green's Make My Life A Prayer lyrics from the "NO COMPROMISE" album scattered across his chest. That is what caught my eye. Another soul had trusted this young, zealous, well-meaning Christian's view back in the early 80's just as I had done.

If I'd never read the anti-Catholic tracts put out by LDM, (Last Days Ministries) I probably would not have become so adamant about leaving the CC. In fact, maybe we'd have stayed and at least our boys would have received some formation in the Faith. But Keith was a very charismatic, vibrant, gutsy Christian and he'd frankly held me spellbound and had enchanted me from the first time I heard one of his songs. But I can't let myself be burdened about the screwed up past we gave our kids as far as religion goes. I now can pray and ask St Monica's powerful intercession for our two sons, (both of whom we failed to teach and instruct in basically any real Christian formation.) We thought, as Evangelicals, (and sadly as some Catholics also did/do) that they'd pick it up/get it by osmosis. Now, sadly, they're in their late 20's and it's very hard for them. They're confused about it all. Our oldest is a lawyer and as of the last 3 years, a committed agnostic. I pray they might go to Theology on Tap in their respective cities of Dallas and Denver and find some honest answers to their intelligent and honest questions. Thank you all for your prayers for them.

I digressed - as I am sometimes wont to do.

Here is Pete's story - just as Pete wrote it. Pray for Pete. Jesus Mary we love you, save souls! JMJ

My name is Peter _ and I was rased here in Omaha, Nebraska. I attended ST. Cecilia's Grade School and am a 1967 graduate of Cathedral High School. I was raised in a large Catholic family of 10 children. When I was a child my family went to Mass every daybefore school. We occasionally said the family rosary, and we always observed Lent and every Church-related feast day. I had a very strong Roman Catholic upbringing. After high school graduation, I attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha. By the time I was a senior in college, I had decided I wanted to become a priest. I was accepted by the Archdiocese of Omaha and was sent to St. Thomas Seminary in Denver, Colorado. I spent two years in Denver and then transferred to the Theology School in Maryknoll, New York because I felt called to the Society of African Missionary Fathers. I spent one year at Maryknoll and then came back to Omaha after "burning out" of school.

While I was in Denver, some of the seminarians and I wer going around to many prayer groups and meetings. One night we went to a little Protestant church where an evangelist named Nicky Cruz was preaching. He gae what Protestants call an "altar call." I wanted to ask Jesus Christ to be my Lord, so I went forward. Up to that point, I had done everything the Roman Catholic Church had offered, but I had never totally surrendered my will to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. (SUSIE's INTERJECTS: "That isn't necessarily the fault of the RCC") I prayed and surrendered my life to Him that night. I wasn't thrown to the ground like Paul was on the road to Damascus (Book of Acts, Chapter 9, the Bible) but I was sincere in wanting Jesus Christ to be my Lord: His will be done, not mine. Little by little, Jesus Christ has been radically chaging my life. I wanted to be more and more like Him. I wanted to know HIm more intimately. He gave mea tremendous hunger for His Word, the Bible. I spent a lot of time reading His word, going to Christian Churches, listening to teachers on the radio and going to special Christian events. Loooking back, I'd say I had an insatiable sppetite for His Word, and I still have that same hunger 35 years later. Jesus said, "If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31)
As I came to know Jesus more intimately, I was set free from a lot of religious practices and ritual that I had grown up with; and over time, He has set me free from many other sinful habits. I wanted that pure living water that Jesus told the Samaritan woman about in John 4:10. I didnt' want man made religious practices, I wanted Him purely and simply!

Today, I come to the Luis Palau event to share Jesus Christ with my Catholic neighbors. I desire them to know the Lord pesonally and to be set free from man-made religious practices. Jesus todl that Samaritan woman: "God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth." The Catholic Church has held people in bondage in their erroneous spiritual practices and rituals far too long; it is time they be set free. We as Born-again Christian need to be like Moses and get those who are trapped in religious bondage out of bondage and out of deception, rather than sending them back to Egypt (Rome). God cries out today as He did in the days of Moses, "Let My people go." (Exodus 5:1) If there is anything that I can do to help you in your spiritual growth, please let me know. Jesus Christ said: "I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) The Living God wants youto lahve life and not be trapped by drugs, alcohol, sex, materialism, or even religion.

Thank you,
Pete

1 comment:

Tiber Jumper said...

This poor soul. He wanted to find Jesus but didn't know Jesus was already there with him in the eucharist. Apparently he hadn't been taught that.