Friday, February 13, 2015

Do You Defend Your Faith

I am sure that if you live in a large area, or one that is predominately Catholic then you probably don't run into this problem very much if at all, but if you live in a area like I do to where you are the only Catholic among allot of Protestants then you have probably encountered this on more than one occasion.

I don't know about you, but as for me I am constantly having to defend my beliefs and my Church, from people who know very little if anything about it, and go on false teachings that they have received from others who know very little if anything about the Catholic Church.  Arch Bishop Fulton Sheen said it best we he said "There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church."  And that statement is just as true today, as it was back when he said it.

Some of the basic questions and comments that I receive on an almost daily basis are, don't you know that the Pope is the anti-Christ?, why do you all worship Mary?, You know that the Catholic Church is the whore of Babylon as spoken of in Revelations, You know you are not suppose to call any man Father, etc....  Oh how many times have I had to explain the answers to these same questions, shew if I had a dime for every stupid question that I have been ask I would be a millionaire.  I do have to say though one good thing about all of these constant questions is that it has made me have to study more about my Church and it's teachings so that I can be ready to defend it in battle.

I grew up in a family of Protestants Baptist to be exact and I constantly got to witness how they treated two of my aunts and their families that were Jehovah's Witnesses.  The comments that were made, the way that my family would act around them like they had some kind of deadly virus, all because they believed differently.  I now know how they felt, because in essence I have been treated the same way, and it pains my heart so much to know those kinds of hurt feelings all because they believe something that is a lie, and rather than checking it out for themselves they would rather go on believing those lies.

But it is in those times of battle that I stand firm on my beliefs and my Church, because I know the truth's that she holds.  Not only do I have a strong Church family here on earth to back me up, but I have all the Saint's in Heaven praying for me when I need it the most, oh how strong they all make me.  I can be having such a rough week that I just don't know how much more I can take, and then I go in the presence of the Lord and receive Him into my body and my strength is completely renewed so that I am ready to fight my battle for another week.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

How Do You Embrace The Mass

When you attend Mass, is your heart in it, or do you just go through the motions?  Do you think
about the words being spoken, the songs being sung, the prayers being said, or is your mind
somewhere else?

I know that these are some harsh questions, but if you are going to be honest with God then you
have to be honest with yourself, and sometimes that means stopping to take a look at your way
of thinking.  I know that I have spoken to cradle Catholics and converts, and have ask them
this very question, and I must say that I appreciate their honesty.  Some have informed me that
a lot of times they are thinking about a bill that is due, what are they going to have for
dinner, I even had one tell me that they have actually fallen asleep during the service, which
I find hard to believe with all the standing, kneeling and sitting.  But have you ever really
given a hard, long thought to the the meaning of the Mass, to what is actually going on?

For me participating in the Mass is very emotional, and I always make it a point to leave all
of the outside world, and the worries in the car when I get there.  The Mass is my time to
spend with the Lord, to worship, and admire Him, everything else can wait.  I view each prayer
as my conversation time with the Lord, I view all of the singing as my time to praise Him, I
view the message the Father gives as God's instructions for my life journey, and I view
partaking in the Eucharist as my time to fully embrace the love that my Lord has for me, to
take Him in completely body and soul.

I have even became so ingrained in the Mass that when it gets to the prayer, Father I am not
worthy that You should enter under my roof, but only say the word, and my soul shall be healed,
I find tears streaming down my face, because I truly understand all that He went through for me
and to know that He has that power to forgive me is truly amazing. And when I walk up and
receive His body and blood I see that as a protective shield for me, when I take Him in I feel
that He is protecting me body and soul and it gives me such a warmth that I have never
experienced in any other way.  It is then that I can say that I truly have experienced the full
love of God.

The next time that you attend Mass start by leaving all your concerns in the car, go in
expecting to filled with God's love, really listen to the word's of the songs, the prayers and
the homilies, don't just go through the motions, really take God in, and you will be surprised
at the great love that you will feel.

Friday, February 6, 2015

My Christmas Miracle

As many of you may know I was raised, married and raised my kids the first part of their lives in the Freewill Baptist Church.  In 2006 after a very long journey I came home to the Catholic Church.  I will write about my conversion story in another article.

In my joining the Catholic Church I really offended allot of my family members who were all Protestants, especially my dad.  He would call me often and try and talk me into coming back to the Baptist Church, and each time I would politely say I appreciated his concern but I was happy where I was.  He would tell me that because I was Catholic I was going to Hell, that the Catholic Church was the Whore of Babylon that is spoken about in Revelations, and that the Pope was the anti-Christ. These are all basic teaching in the Baptist Church, and him being a devout Baptist believed them whole heartily.

Over time he seemed to back off a little instead of it being an almost everyday thing, he died down to maybe once a week, then every two or three weeks, but I always knew how he felt and always tried to be prepared for whatever negative comment about the Catholic Church that I knew at some point would come.

Ever so often I would invite him and my stepmother to come and attend Mass with me, and my stepmother did and liked it allot, she has a very open mind and even though she is a devout Baptist she does not hold negative thoughts about different denominations.  My dad on the other hand would always have a reason not attend, there was something special going on at his church, he had other plans etc... but it never stopped me from inviting him on occasion.

I would pray a Rosary for him daily, and I would ask the Lord to please open his eyes to the truth about the Catholic Church, and I knew that in God's good time if it was His will, my prayer would be answered.  I had been talking to my step mom and I ask her if she might help me to convince my dad to come to Christmas Eve Mass with me, she said she would talk to him about it, and I just played it off, thinking oh well he will just come up with another excuse, and I let it go at that.  A couple days later my phone rang and it was her, and she told me that she had convinced my dad to attend Mass with us on Christmas Eve.  She told him that it was only fair since I had on occasion went to Church with him.  She told him that he needed to go and see for himself what went on, not just to depend on what other people told him, and so I was getting a Christmas miracle, my entire family, my parents, my husband and both of my kids were attending Christmas Eve Mass with me for the first time ever.

I don't know why, but over the next couple of days leading up to the Mass I was so nervous, I knew how the Mass was, and I knew how much I loved it, I was just praying so hard that God would open my dad's eyes to the truth and he could see for himself the love, and passion that Catholics have for the Lord.  I wanted him to see the love that our Priest had for his congregation, the love that he had for the Lord, I wanted him to see the wonderful family that I had there in my fellow Church members.  I just knew if he would go in there with an open mind he would be wowed by what he saw.

Finally it was time to head to Mass, as we walked in the Children were just starting their little play, I could not help but keep looking toward my dad and to see him smiling at the wonderful job the kids were doing just melted my heart.  As the Mass began and the songs started,and the prayers were said, and the message was given I watched as my dad tried to absorb everything that he could, part of me thought that maybe he was trying to catch one of the things that he was taught about it in the Baptist Church, but as time went on, you could watch him relax and really get into the service.

After service was over, and we had walked out to the car, I could no longer stand it, I said dad so what did you think?  And he looked at me and smiled and said ever so simply, "that wasn't bad after all", and for him that was saying so much.  I ask him if he would ever consider coming back with me to visit again, and he said why sure I did not see anything bad in there.  I then told him, well the next time that you hear someone say something bad about the Church, could you maybe tell them that you have been there, and seen it for yourself, and maybe before they go and believe everything that they are taught that they should go and check it out for themselves?  He did not say anything but gave me that reassuring smile that I am so use to seeing when he knows the truth about something.