Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Why am I Catholic?...

Some of you may want to know, Why is Susie a Catholic? Why did she return to the Catholic Church, when she was a happy little "independent" Christian, and was "born again" in 1974 on Feb. 1? Didn't she leave the Catholic Church in her 20's because of the 'rules' and that it was so traditional and "old fashioned?" Yes, I did, even though I was involved in the Charismatic Renewal, it still wasn't as 'hip' and "with it" as what I'd been used to for 3 months in California with a lively and gracious bunch of Pentecostals.

Yes, I wanted to leave the Catholic Church, after only having joined a year earlier, because I was "free" and wanted to roam to whatever fellowship 'floated my spiritual boat.' I chose Abundant Life Christian Center, and my husband followed, reluctantly. ALCC had the upbeat music and much more "interesting messages" being given than the boring homilies of "Father Snore." That's the way it is, here in America anyway. If you're not "being fed" you simply leave and go to where you can be fed...to where 'you're' comfortable, to where 'you're' theology seems to fit the mission and theology of so & so fellowship. Then if you want, you become a member, or you don't have to be a member. (That does mean "commitment" and in this society, that's not a 'comfortable' word. For pagans or Christians. I mean, what if the "feelings" aren't there anymore? What if I don't like the worship songs anymore? You know the drill.)

So you don't have to "belong" to a church. Why? Because it's "you and Jesus." That's all that really matters. So, you stay for a while at a fellowship, until things don't seem to "jive" with you anymore, and then all you need to do is move on to another "church." Not a problem. It's the Evangelical mindset. I guess, what I conclude from all this is that ultimately TRUTH doesn't really matter among many Evangelicals anymore. I don't say that with any rancor or "mean-spiritedness." Truth doesn't matter or there'd not be these splits. It's the only logical outcome of "church hopping." But I would ask: Since when does Truth not matter? Truth then, in the end becomes RELATIVE does it not? Truth ends up being subjective, to each individual Christian, and not objective. Even though these good, well-meaning, sincere Christians would say they don't believe Truth is relative. But it is, and that's the sad conclusion.

It's the mentality/spirituality of modern American worshipers, in the now "consumer-driven" society, be it Christian or Secular. What one believes can "change" over time, and so, the constant splits. The splits occurring and the amount of "church planting" going on is incredible! I have Catholic friends in many different parishes, but yet we're still in ONE CHURCH. That's a major difference. One UNIVERSAL CHURCH as opposed to "Rolling River Fellowship" meeting at a movie theater in a Mall. How does that little church ever become "universal" and who among those independent groups can speak for all of Christendom, as does Pope Benedict XVI? I can't see "Pastor Joe Blow" traveling the globe speaking on faith and morals when his faith and morals changed since he was a kid growing up in a denomination he left years ago. Do you see what I mean?

Sadly, the splits will continue and sect after sect will start and fade away. Many people don't have a problem with it since to most of those I know and knew, the "church" as mentioned in Scripture, isn't a physical structure at all. How that is even believed is incredible, when you stop to think about it. I thought so for years. The Church, to these good folks doesn't have a God-given Authority i.e. the Vatican, or the Pope. The "church" is only a mystical, spiritual church -- where one is free to go to where he "feels" led to go, for as long as he feels "led to be there." These folks go to where the "Holy Spirit" may lead him, which sounds right, but is it the Holy Spirit or their own whim? (I then have to ask: Did the Holy Spirit lead Jim Jones? Did the H.S. lead David Koresh? If not, why? Jim and David sure believed the bible was their "sole authority" too, and if they were wrong....well, says who??) By what authority???

Yes I answer, I was "born again" Feb. 1974, and it was a good thing, and a powerful moment and produced a positive change in my life. But what I didn't understand at that time, (I was 19) was that I was really "fulfilling my baptismal vows" and coming into another, deeper state of grace. A "confirmation" if you will. What I didn't realize was that I was made a Christian, brought into the family of God at the time of my baptism, as a baby. ( Interesting, some Christians believe that and some don't, but that's another discussion for another time.) Yes, God's grace was given me at that moment, when as a baby, I was baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in a Presbyterian church in Lake Charles, LA. I was then raised Methodist and married a Catholic. Talk about ecumenical! So what about Baptism? To some it's only an ordinance or a symbol, and to some it's not necessary at all. In fact it's not necessary at all. But what does the bible say about Baptism? Find in the bible where baptism isn't necessary. I'd like to know where that is. Peter seemed to think it VERY necessary.

That "born again" moment for me the night on Feb. 1 1974 wasn't a once and for all commitment or FULL and complete conversion. It was not a one-time decision that stamped my soul for salvation, no matter what I would ever do the rest of my life. I was taught, by most evangelicals and Pentecostals, however, that it was. It was a "signed" and "Done Deal." Blessed assurance that I was indeed "Saved." I believed it, or tired to believe it for many years, too. However, along came the problem of my tendency to sin, being a sinner. With that 'bent' toward sin, it wasn't hard to sin again after my one-time conversion. When I would sin and wander away for days, months and even a few years in some cases, while belonging to a few certain fundamentalist/evangelical faith communities over the years, I would question if I was indeed "saved." Had I really been SAVED? If so, then why had I fallen into sin, and now for some reason, felt 'far from God?' Even "cut off" from God?

Some would say, "Yes, you were still a Christian, and you were saved in 1974. No, you didn't earn salvation, so you can't lose our salvation." But, yet there were some Christians who didn't believe that "once saved always saved" thing. Hmm. A problem. So according to some, I could lose my salvation. According to others, just as sincere, I could NEVER lose it. Some would understand that I needed to come to the "altar" again (which wasn't an altar at all but merely at the edge of a stage or just the front of our sanctuary) and RE-DEDICATE my life. Well, what did THAT mean exactly? Had I "lost" my salvation or not? If I had, I'd better get myself 'rededicated and be quick about it!' But if I hadn't lost my salvation, then what did it matter if I really rededicated my life to Christ or not? I mean, if you're once and forever SAVED your SAVED and logically speaking what I did, even if it was a sin shouldn't matter one whit in the end, right? That reminds me of a great book titled "Once Saved, Always Saved...until you fall away." : )

But why was I "cold" and why did I "feel" so "cut-off" from God if I was truly saved? I knew after choosing to sin, (and being a hot or cold person, I would sometimes choose to sin "big") I had to do more than just waltz up and "rededicate my life" to Jesus. I was unaware of it, but what I was doing at that time, in the only way I knew how, was CONFESSING MY SINS to God and to others. It did help me, as I was sincerely repentant and I did receive forgiveness by God, albeit imperfectly, meaning without the Sacrament of RECONciliation made to a priest in persona Christi.

Well, now that I'm Catholic, I understand the way Jesus set up the Sacrament of RECONciliation. Jesus laid it out for us, gave the authority to bind and loose, to forgive and retain specifically to priests, starting with the 12 apostles. How can they know what to forgive or retain if they didn't have people confessing their sins to them? Jesus told us how to RETURN to Him after we sin. It's called the sacrament of CONFESSION, or RECONciliation and it is JESUS HIMSELF, His presence IN AND THROUGH THE PRIEST who absolves us of our sins, if we are sincerely repentant and desire to not sin. That is the way we are once again "made right" with God. Don't believe it? Take it up with Jesus, for He is the One you don't agree with, not me.

This video is one of the best ever made and the most powerful clearly showing the Truth about the Catholic Church. This explains why I'm now a Catholic, a happy Catholic, a JOYFUL Catholic and why I LOVE THE CHURCH JESUS ESTABLISHED and why I want all my friends, Protestant, Evangelical, Pentecostal, Fundamentalist and agnostic/atheist to COME HOME to ROME. Why wouldn't I want that for everyone? I don't want you to "think" like me, or "be like me", it's not about "me" at all. But I do want everyone I know to Come Home to the Catholic Church where the FULLNESS of TRUTH IS. I'm not alone, so does Jesus and so does his Mom, Mary. (another discussion for another time)

The Church of Christ, the ONE Church He built is not in some independent little faith community meeting in a house, or a storefront, or a movie theater or some a mega-church on t.v. They have only a part of the Truth, not all, or they'd be in ONE ACCORD and they're not (another discussion for another time) There are good people there, and many who love the Lord with all their hearts, but why "settle for less" when MORE and ALL TRUTH is in ONE HOLY CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC CHURCH? Come on, take the swim across the Tiber,...at least get your feet wet. You won't regret it. Jesus wants you back in HIS CHURCH, and so do I. Will you at least wade and LEARN "What Catholics Really Believe?"

We'll be showing the DVD Series by Dr. Ray Guarendi and Fr. Kevin Fete at the Holy Family Shrine, every first Sunday starting June 1. Join us at 5:30- 7:30 to learn about the CC and let the Lord Jesus, through these two bright and gifted Christians, dispel the myths you might have been taught and or believe. You can meet others of us who are curious, honest seekers. Some converts like me, and some "reverts" like Rich. Snacks will be served and discussion with a study guide will be shared after the 30 minute video. It's a "point counter-point" video, with Dr. Ray being the questioning Protestant and Fr. Fete being the good and brilliant priest that he was. Fr. Kevin passed on to his heavenly reward in July, 2006. God rest his precious priestly soul. He is our Patron for RECON. He was known for bringing so many souls back to the CC and into the CC in the diocese of Youngstown Ohio. He is still doing that, only from a larger parish now...one without walls. Fr. Kevin, pray for us! Thank you!

IF you want to know about the Sacraments, Mary, the Eucharist, the Communion of Saints, Purgatory, etc. come join us. 5:30 p.m. Sunday, June 1 and every first Sunday. Now watch this and let me just tell you all, this is WHY I AM CATHOLIC.


Principium unitatis said...

Thanks Susie. Your account describes many things I also experienced as an Evangelical.

Jesus is still building His Church.

In His peace,

- Bryan

Marie said...

The Catholic Church holds The Truth..."Lord, to whom shall we go? YOU have the words of eternal life."

But, to often people are looking for 'spiritual high's' and think Church needs to be entertaining. Worshipping God has nothing to do with entertainment and everything to do with loving Him for the right reasons.

There is such a rich depthness to our Faith and when I hear people say that they are 'bored with the catholic Church' then they know it not! I am so glad you came backk and God called me to Himself:).

Peace, JOY & Love to you:)

Marie xooxxoxo

Joyful Catholics said...

Hi Bryan. Thanks for your comment. Your blog is fantastic btw. What is so difficult, is trying to just talk about this with friends, who just don't want to talk about the CC. They think they know everything about the CC, but they don't, and now that I love being a Catholic, I guess it throws them off a bit.? I don't shove anything "down their throats" or into their "inboxes" but yet, they're now so aloof... But I can't NOT talk about my Faith, which has now filled me with such JOY.

Joyful Catholics said...

Hi Marie...yes, "where else shall we go?" My friend Mary and I were talking about this yesterday. When Truth hits one over the head with like a 2x4...you either run toward it and welcome it (Him) or turn and leave or run from it (Him)...there's not neutral ground when Truth confronts. I'm so glad I'm back and that I've met you and so many others on line. And even though many of my Catholic friends aren't in my parish, what is so wonderful is that we ARE IN THE SAME CHURCH. The Eucharist, the bond of bonds!

deaconandusher said...

Deacon & Usher were here...


WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

This also echoes a lot of what I went through even though I was always kind of Catholic. But I was never sure. I tend to say I am a revert despite the fact I never properly left the Church, because now I am truly IN the Church.
All I ever wanted was TRUTH. The more I looked elsewhere for Truth the more I realised it wasn't there, it was in the Church.

I also have to agree with what you say about consumerist churches. I have a friend who was into this idea-I think he has ditched it now-and I remember asking him what people went to church for? To worship God or just have a social club?
He couldn't answer me.

I hope you get a lot of people to watch Dr Ray and Fr Kevin-that's a very clear presentation. I saw a lot of it on EWTN
God bless.

Joyful Catholics said...

Hi WhiteStone-

We did have one couple come to the meeting last Sunday. We started with the episode on Mary, since she has had some difficulty with Mary/Saints. It was wonderful. I think they'll keep coming and we always learn more by watching the series again and again. It is a good one! Doc and Fr. Kevin are a great team.