The days are just flying by! I can't believe it's Thursday already.
This week I experienced a Catholic mass for the first time in my life. I have listened to the pope speak on TV, and have even tuned into a mass at Christmas time, but I've never sat through one, and I have always been curious.
My grandmother was born and raised a Catholic. When she was married, and after much debate with several ministers and much prayer, she converted and became a born-again Christian. I would sometimes question her about being Catholic and why she converted, and she gave me very basic, straight forward answers. But I've always still been curious.
The reason I sat through a mass was because I heard this woman speak, and share her testimony. She is actually someone who was baptized Catholic as an infant, raised Protestant and is now converting back to the Catholic church.
I've never met anyone who converted back. I only recently found this blog, by a man who also converted to Catholicism. Quite honestly, I really only know people who left Catholicism.
It wasn't necessarily her testimony regarding her experiences with abortion that intrigued me, although her testimony in that respect - well, was something I can't even begin to say I can relate to - I just can't, it's so - well I can't even explain it. It was the fact that as she spoke, I realized that her background was very similar to mine and that the things she was taught about the Catholic religion were also very similar.
Some of the things she said: Catholics have a religion, not a relationship with God. Catholics are all about ritual and tradition, not knowing God or working for God. Catholics worship Mary, not God/Jesus.
This was shocking to me, because she was talking to a room full of Catholics. I honestly believe that I was the only non-Catholic there. It was also surprising, because she then shared her testimony about the fact that she felt God calling her to the Catholic church and having to get past all of the misconceptions about Catholicism and the Church that she had been taught and believed.
She shared her story about the miracles, yes if I would recount them to you here I think you would agree that they were miracles, that brought her to believe that she needed to return to the Catholic church. She prayed very specific prayers and received very specific and obvious answers that were just unbelievable. They were so unbelievable, that she couldn't believe them as they happened, and so she documented some of these things through photos, just so that she could remind herself later that they weren't dreams, but facts.
Anyway, her talk truly affected me. I laughed and I cried in a room full of Catholics, who also laughed and cried, and who I was taught my whole life, being an evangelistic Christian, aren't really "Christians"(i.e. because they didn't do the things we did or act the way we did or worship the way we did...)
It's a belief that I've been suspect of for some time. I've found myself questioning: who could make such grand assumptions about a group of people? And more importantly, why did I just believe them?
I know different groups have strong feelings for or against Catholicism and I don't mean to enter that discussion. What I do know is that in that religion, there is a good group of people who honestly love Christ and sacrifice daily to spread the gospel as Christ commended. These are the people I laughed and cried with this week. These were God's people. These were real Christians. I believe that in my heart. My spirit believes it.
Won't it be great when we all get to heaven and have no lines of religion to divide us? Can't wait until we're all just saints celebrating together with our heavenly father.
God bless you all!