A trustworthy friend of mine, (TJ, ) who has never 'steered me wrong,' directed me to Brantly's blog (Embedded below - Jeremy's Post).
I went there this morning, about 2 hours ago, and read the *Guest post* by Jeremy Heuslein, I was moved to comment. Why? Because I thoroughly understand his struggles, his extensive search for Truth as I was a "young" Christian years ago! :) These "journeys" are all so similar, no matter how varied the people or circumstances or age. No matter how late we 'arrive at the Door.' I'd heard much of the same in my early years, (and believed the same answer) to the question he'd asked of his parents, "Are Catholics saved?"
When the time comes to 'humble oneself' and bend the knee, to really hear, really listen, receive and accept the grace to understand the Truth about some 'thing' or some 'one' or in this case, the Church...well, that's where the 'rubber meets the road.' The pivot point came for me, only 5.5 years ago after a weekend w/ my nose in 3 books. One Sat. One Sun. and one Monday in Dec. 2004. It took a long time to wrestle this little 'know it all' (Moi) to the ground, but the Hound of Heaven did, and He accomplished His mission! Although I was not nearly as young! Wisdom does come w/ age it seems. Happily, there's no turning to the left/right/or back for me/us, either...for like Saint Peter said, "Where would we go?"
Having been to Rome as an 18 yr. old, then at 52, walking into those same ancient basilicas and churches and ruins, where Christians so long ago had walked,stood,knelt,prayed,bled,died that were 'drenched' and dripping w/ a history, Truth confronted me profoundly. It was a 'history' I never knew, or more correctly never cared to acknowledge. It was a history too far out of reach and one I just never wanted to 'seek to much after' for fear of knowing and acknowledging I might not 'know it all'...after all. Shorten that to: "Pride." But so strong was/is the "pull" of an 'ever ancient, ever new' Church. At 18 I knew and could palpably feel something was different in those old buildings, so majestic and huge, but yet an intimate and warm Presence filled them, too, but simply couldn't then grasp what 'it' was. I just knew that our little Methodist clapboard church in our little town across the Atlantic back in Nebraska was a "long way" (not just geographically) from what these magnificent structures actually "held" within those thick stone, marble, granite walls, that echoed with ancient voices that were still speaking the same thing. [A side note: In fact, after some research, in my early 20's, I found our Methodist church to be actually quite far from what its founder, John Wesley, had preached and believed as well. And today, in 2010, there'd be NO WAY he'd recognize the church he founded!! Something's very wrong w/ that picture!] But there in 2007, in those Roman churches, and those in Assisi, the masses being celebrated in those side chapels were *STILL* 'speaking the same Truth that had not changed one iota over centuries and centuries ~ nothing was altered in the dogma/doctrine. That must have been what I was 'feeling' and thinking in 1973, but I say that now with 20/20 hindsight. I think I 'knew something' wasn't quite 'right' or didn't 'add up' or 'make sense' back then (at 18) but couldn't articulate it. It must have whetted my appetite for Truth, though and penetrated me, enough, to bring me "back" 26 years later (to the "Nub") when I thought I was 'out in front' w/ the rest of the 'Jesus People' flock! I thought I was 'finding it all out' and expressing it, living it in a "new" way, that was like the 'early Church' but yet, I didn't really 'have a clue' having 'chucked' any possibility of the CC being of any importance. At 52, being a practicing Catholic, what a difference going to Rome was!!! Deepest comfort and stability and the solidarity w/ 'ancient Christians' and newbies like myself was at times almost overwhelming! I burst into tears seeing Pope Benedict XVI...he wasn't the "Anti-Christ" I'd heard and read about in some "Christian" books, but he was our, (my) Papa! And I was overcome w/ joy!
So as we delve into history, (we all need to eventually, because "history doesn't lie") like Jeremy, I too 'had to know' the Truth about what I'd just read in those books about this 'antiquated, dusty, stodgy, traditional, old-fashioned, religious institution, so mysterious, such an enigma that I'd "joined" in 1980, mostly b/c Rich was Catholic, but then had to 'leave' after a couple of years, (b/c suddenly, after reading a few 'anti-Catholic tracts by Keith Green) I 'knew it all' and I simply could not remain in a 'man-made' "stained glass tomb" of a church!'
Then along come God, with his STUNNING sense of humor and 26 years later, I was suddenly forced (due to my husband's longing for Truth, not misguided tracts) to 'taste and see and acknowledge' how GOOD it [that stodgy old place] really is!! No other fellowship I'd been involved in had stood over 2 millenia, and I was now, gently but firmly "forced" to see how wrong I was about that old, musty, what I'd dubbed as a proud, smug little "Christian a "stained glass Tomb" of a Church. Lord Jesus,how sorry I am now, for being such a 'hard nut' to crack! Thanks for 'putting the hammer' to me!!
You might ask, "why am I sending this?" Well, believe me, I'm not sending it to "convert" anyone, to argue or pick a fight. I am sending it because we all are created to know and 'love the Truth.' And since the Truth is an Eternal Person, with no limits, there's always more about Him to learn, right? Even about what we think we 'already know!' or rather to be more specific, 'especially' about what we already 'think' we know! I believe it's best to go to the 'Source' to learn about anything, or anyone (or at least to those 'closest' to that thing/person, if possible) than to believe 'hearsay' and misconceptions and misinformation, no matter how intelligently spoken, or how well-intentioned they may be who speak. Truth is Truth.
In the end, there's always the "NUB" we have to whittle down to isn't there? To finally see 'what's what.' To know and understand, finally, (never exhaustively) what has been so cloudy and hazy, before the Light of Truth shone on the path and made 'clear as day' what was so scary and mysteriously nebulous. To now see with eyes of faith how 'mistaken' I was (about the CC) has truly 'set me free!'
An excellently written, thought provoking (I love to think and ponder!) post, by a young man who's searched, who's gone "out to the deep" and has pulled, and keeps pulling up a FULL and overflowing net! The "catch" really never ends - once you're at The Source.
Jeremy's post, "The Hidden Option"
As Jeremy writes: "...what I do need is Truth, a place of rest where I can receive instruction from authority and follow Jesus and live in the Spirit with grounding."
I can only completely concur!
There's always more - in the "Land of More!" -- a good book by Leona Choy, another who returned to The Source at almost 80 years of age! Never too late!!
In the PEACE of CHRIST,
Nothing is far from God. -- St. Monica - mother of St. Augustine