Monday, May 05, 2014

It's Been A While, Hasn't It?

For the most part I've abandoned this blog and focused more on my day to day blog. For the record, I'm still Catholic and I still love my faith though I'm not quite "on fire" as I was. Many changes for me has happened in the past five years since I last wrote. Three and a half years ago, I moved from Canyon to San Antonio for a new job. Once I moved here, I loved everything about living here except I did miss my church terribly. I was to the point where I didn't even go to church for about 6 months after I moved here because I couldn't find a comparable church. (And I still haven't.) On a whim, I decided to try the dating site shortly after I moved here. Through that site, I met a guy named Matt who was a Scrabble playing, roller coaster riding Catholic. What more could I ask for? We had our first date in early November 2011. I found out I was his girlfriend around Christmas that year. We got engaged this past November and will be getting married this July. We still don't have a church "home" that we love. We have a local church we attend more often and tolerate it in spite of its lousy choir. Depending on our weekend schedules, we still rotate to other churches as needed.

 So what is the prompt for this blog post? I just read a very interesting conversion story called Something Other Than God by a fellow blogger.  As a convert myself, I enjoy reading the stories of others to find out what prompted their conversions.  Since the author converted from being a self-proclaimed atheist, it was an interesting read.  One of the things that resonated with me was her beginning story of being pressured to accept Jesus as her Lord and Savior.  One of the things that influenced my conversion was my distaste of Protestant methods and my disagreement with their concept of salvation. If you're Catholic or potentially considering becoming Catholic, I think you'd enjoy the read.  Even if you're not Catholic and you don't have a problem Catholics and think we're all going to hell, you'd probably enjoy it.  There's some good humor in it and some thought provoking insights about Catholic beliefs.

So I'm still here.  Still Catholic.  I'm looking forward to my blessed marriage with Matt and hope that we will either find a church to truly call home or at least get more involved in the church we've been going to.  Oh, and I'm still making rosaries.  I sold eight of them recently with another potential order tomorrow.  I guess I should get busy making more!  

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Confession is Good for the Soul

As I discerned becoming Catholic, I was very concerned with the notion of confession. To be frank, it scared me. I didn't want to have to confess anything to a priest or anyone else. It is bad enough admitting to myself that I've sinned, but it seems so much worse to have to say it out loud and to someone else. Coming from a perfectionist, this is a very troubling situation.
As I studied the faith I understood the concept of confession - what it is, what it does, and why it's necessary. Despite my "knowledge" of the subject, I still didn't want to do it. Before my first confession, I spent time writing down absolutely everything in as much of an abbreviated version as I could so that I wouldn't have to spend an hour pouring out my sins for the past 27 years (that time since my Baptism). I focused on the "biggies" that were really bad and those things that I often struggled with. I took my list with me - I didn't want to overlook anything. I still make "confessional" lists when I go to this day. I feel better having written it all down. But I digress. My first confession wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Surprisingly, the sense of relief I felt was truly amazing. To know that at that time I had truly been forgiven of all my sins, brought immense joy. Despite that feeling, I had no desire to go back any time soon. The fear of confession is what "kept me in line" for a good long while. After that, I would go for my "yearly" necessity at Easter.
The first time I had to go to "regular" confession as opposed to a penance service, I spent days and hours, beforehand reading up on everything because I wasn't sure if I would do it right. I took a copy of the act of contrition with me because I certainly didn't have it memorized. I had "notes" on what order everything was supposed happen. And I had my handy list of sins. Thankfully, in the confessional there is a laminated sheet with full instructions of what you're supposed to say and do. I survived the confession and once again felt better afterward and realized it wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. But then again... I still didn't like it and didn't want to have to go again anytime soon.
About a week and a half ago, it was time for me to go again. This time I had a lot more sins that I was dealing with - let's just say there were some biggies. I had been seeking my own will was going through a dry spell of sorts when it came to my faith. Oh, sure, I still went to Mass weekly and played the part, but I was falling deeper into my own self-absorbed life that my relationship with God was mostly non-existent. In hindsight it is so obvious that once you start heading down the wrong path, it is easy to stray from everything - and my problem was that I tried to justify my actions and downplay their seriousness. But thankfully, God didn't abandon me. I found myself in a moment where I knew I needed to get back on track. I knew the only way that was possible was through total and complete forgiveness that I could only get through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. So I made myself go. Once again, it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be (though it was still difficult). Once again, the relief of receiving full forgiveness was incredible.
As much as I still ultimately fear the confrontation, contemplation, and confession of my sins, I realize that there is great joy in having this sacrament available to me. When I was involved in the Baptist church, there was no true repentance for me when I would pray to God and confess my sins to him. It was so easy to slip back into a sinful nature because of this. I could only "hope" that I was forgiven by God - but I never had that certainty. For me, this Sacrament has made all the difference in my spiritual relationship. Yes, I still sin. I still have dry spells, but knowing that when I do fall, that I can confess, repent, and truly be forgiven is a wonderful blessing.
As I renew my faith and work on building my relationship with God again, I pray that I will make a regular practice of participating in confession. After all - can we ever receive too much Grace from God?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Five minutes of fame

I know I haven't posted here in a very long time. I'm generally updating in my regular blog. My faith is still a big part of me and I still love going to Mass.

About a month ago, I was asked to do a radio interview for American Catholic radio. A lady contacted me because she had read my Catholic blog and was interested in conversion stories during the season of Lent. I was very flattered by this and I agreed to the interview. She called me at school one day during my lunch and we visited for about 30 minutes. The interviewed aired on March 24. I hadn't realized that it had aired until I got an email today from someone who heard it. So I listened to it. I thought it was a very nice interview and that it was put together well. So if you're interested you can hear the interview here. The interview starts about 5 minutes in and lasts for about 5 minutes.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Still Catholic

I think this is the longest I've ever participated in church in my life (and I'm 38 years old). I've been going to church regularly for 2 1/2 years. I know I haven't posted in a while. I chronicled my journey and although it continues, I haven't been inspired to write anything. I'm still going to church weekly. I still sing in the choir. I've been going to the adult faith formation classes which have been going over John Paul II's Theology of the Body. That has been really enlightening. I'm finally "getting it" when it comes to sex and relationships. I still haven't had a date in over two years, but I'm learning that it is o.k.

I've continued to make rosaries and now I'm selling them online if anyone is interested. I sold some at a local craft fair and I'm trying to raise enough money to pay for my GRE test. I am going to go back to grad school and am trying to figure out how to finance it.

Other than that, I'm simply living and trying to manage life between work, home, and church. I'm still very happy to be a part of the Catholic faith and I will continue to grow and learn in it.

Friday, July 13, 2007

My Rosaries

Early in my Catholic journey I learned to make rosaries. I made my first one in the fall of 2005 as I was in RCIA class. By the time Easter Vigil arrived, I made one for every person entering the Church with me along with a few others. Since then, I've made several more that I've given away to others like my friend Summer. I've probably made 40+ rosaries at this point and every one of them have been unique. I've never sold one as they have all been gifts. I can't even tell you how much I've spent in making them, but it's just something I enjoy. Each rosary costs anywhere from a couple of dollars to make to upwards of $15 depending on the kind of beads, centers and crosses I use. I may have to start selling them just to keep my habit up. I really don't know if there would be a market for them, but I've received compliments from every person that has received one. I've always enjoyed being creative and crafty and this is something that incorporates that. It is a moment of peace that lets me get away from the world for a few moments when I make them. I hope and pray that every person that has received one of my rosaries has been able to use it to further their spiritual life. I don't pray the rosary as much as I should. Sometimes, I do recite it as I string each bead. Now that I have a craft room again, I've been more active in making them - that is until I've run out of materials. I'll have to wait until payday next week to replenish my supplies.

At this point I have 21 rosaries at home. (Aside from my personal rosaries.) I've put 20 of them online if you'd like to see them. I have another that I'm holding on to with someone in mind that I'd like to give it to. If you're interested in a rosary, email me and let me know and we'll figure out a price. If you'd like me to make one for you, I can do that as well. Several I've made with the person it's going to in mind and I try to chose colors/materials that seem to fit them.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


I am at a place where I wish I could really know God's will for me. I was reading a forum that got into a discussion about being single, Catholic, and middle-aged. It started with a comment that someone had heard stating singles within the Church are called to either marriage or to religious life and that in not choosing either one is being selfish. The comments took off from there, and there was a lot of frustration noted by other singles. To some degree I am single by choice. I did choose to get divorced. Luckily, I was able to have that marriage annulled as well. I married for the wrong reasons to the wrong person. Since getting divorced and coming into the Church, I've tried to figure out what I'm supposed to do. I am 99% certain that I'm not called to religious life. I leave the 1% open for God's sense of humor. I feel strongly that I am called to marriage, but since I've started to participate in church, I haven't had a single date. I don't know if it's because I am seeking too much perfection or that there simply aren't any more decent single men available. I don't think it's the concept of looking for perfection because honestly, I haven't even been able to meet anyone for me to begin passing judgment on. (a little humor here) So it's not really a matter of me being selfish, perhaps it is simply not God's will. If that's the case, why do I have the desire? Why can't I accept it and leave it at that? I am open to marriage but when I look at it realistically, I often feel a sense of hopelessness. The availability of men within my age (give or take a few years) seems to be lessening every day. Sure, preferably, I would like to marry another Catholic. But at this point, I think I'd settle for someone with Christian values. I don't consider myself truly single by choice, but more by circumstance.

What gets me is the fact that I think in terms of readiness, I am more open and ready now than I've ever been before. I'm to the point where I finally "get it." I know, understand, and agree with the Church's teachings with regard to chastity and marriage. I am learning what it means to really love another. (Thanks to the fact that I'm teaching that chapter in our adult class.) I know I should be more patient, but when one is nearing the age of 40 (in a few years), it seems more unlikely that marriage is even a possibility. I know, I know. With God, all things are possible. I know this logically. I know if it's His will, it will happen. I just don't know how to reconcile that in my heart and in my head. I constantly pray for Him to take away my desire or to make it happen. I often feel guilty when I pray for myself in that way. I know that He knows my needs and will take care of me, but He still hasn't taken away that desire. In the meantime, I don't know what to do with myself. I participate in the Church. I sing in the choir, play my instrument, and attend the adult faith formation class. I don't know if that's enough or if I should be doing more. I don't know what talents I have to share. I wish there was something in our Parish for singles. Not in the sense of dating, but for support and friendship. I wouldn't say that being single is being an outcast, but in some ways it is. There isn't really any ministry for singles it seems. I shouldn't complain. I love my parish, the people, the priest, and the faith. I am in a much better place than I've ever been. It seems I'm always guilty of wanting more than I've got, however. But the main thing is that I really wish I knew what I'm supposed to be doing instead of flying by the seat of my pants. I feel that I was called into this faith for a reason but I have yet to figure out what it is.

I know where all of this is coming from. I know I'm just having a moment of loneliness and it will pass. I will go a few months with no thought to any of this (when things get busy) and then during a lull it will hit me again. I think part of it is realizing that in two years, my son will be leaving to go to college and I will be absolutely alone for the first time in 18 years and it is very scary. Although I've met several people within the church, I still have very few friends.

I will just keep praying that God's will be done and that He reveals it to me sooner, rather than later... and if not, to give me the patience to wait. I wouldn't mind if you prayed for me as well.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


I was sitting in Mass this morning with a smile on my face. I just felt happy to be there. I was sitting alone and I was o.k. with it. I simply felt joy being in the presence of God. I have had moments where my faith seems to weaken and I live in my own pity parties, but I rejoice in the fact that I always have this place to come back to. I loved how the Bishop put it today. He called it "recharging our spiritual batteries." Before coming into the Church, I struggled with the notion of having to go to Mass EVERY Sunday. I wasn't sure if I was up for it, but now I can't imagine missing a Sunday. It really does wonders for the soul. I can't imagine not being able to take part in the Eucharist. That in itself does wonders to keep me on the mostly straight and narrow path. I'm still not fond of confession - it's the idea of actually admitting my own imperfections, but that's a fault within me and not the Church. Despite this, I feel as though I have this new kind of wisdom. I'm finally "getting it" so to speak. Oh, I know I still have a ways to go and I know what I need to work on, but I feel very blessed to have the Church to help in that endeavor. I am starting to fit in and get to know people. I felt very privileged to be able to teach the Sunday school class today. I guess it went pretty well except that we didn't get through the entire lesson. It was pretty long though. I know that religion and church isn't for everyone, but I am truly thankful for it. It has been an amazing experience and the journey really has just begun.

I'm still working on my post regarding love, but have been sidetracked in preparing for the Sunday school lesson. I'll try to get it done in the next week. Pray for me to focus on it.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Coming soon

I haven't abandoned this blog, but I am currently busy at the National Speech tournament in Wichita, KS. I am working on another lengthy post and it will take some time to write. Just wanted to give you an update and let you know that I'll be posting something in the next few days hopefully.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Is the Honeymoon Over?

I've spent the past hour and a half re-reading this blog. I am actually quite amazed at some of the profound things I've written. I am dismayed, however, by the fact that my excitement and passion have seemed to wane. I still love being Catholic. It is a great joy to be a part of this community of faith. I have found some wonderful acquaintances and friends in my church. I am still a better person because of my faith. I just haven't been "on fire" lately and haven't written in a long time. Posts have become few and far between. I'm letting life get in the way too often it seems. My prayer life is greatly diminished and I can't remember the last time I actually spent time studying the Bible or aspects of the faith. I was doing well for a while by attending the adult faith formation classes at church, but I started having tournaments and other things happen on weekends and I'd have to go to a late Sunday evening Mass instead. I still go to Mass faithfully every weekend and I am making sure to go when I am out of town this weekend. I just can't explain why things have seemed to diminish in terms of my enthusiasm.

I think I am better when I'm more involved. As long as I have a class to participate in or choir or something "extra" it keeps me going and inspires me. Right now most of that is gone though I'm excited that class will continue this summer starting after this weekend. I know when I had RCIA weekly it helped me stay pumped up and now I find that simply attending Mass isn't enough. Perhaps I should try to go more often during the week now that school is out and get to adoration.

I don't have the answers, but at least I'm aware of my stagnation and I'm going to try to make the effort to do better. I haven't fallen into sin (other than some venial ones) but I do have some work to do on my part.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Just one of the reasons I'm Catholic

My friend Bret who I've mentioned before in my posts is at the Southern Baptist Convention in San Antonio. He wrote a post about his first experience there and all the drama that went on. It seems there will continue be drama as he talks about the debates going such as the one for and against Calvinism. One of the major issues that started me on my journey into Catholicism was trying to figure out which of all the religious denominations was the "best for me" or which one of them was at least the most right. Why did we have so many off-shoots of Christianity? What made the Baptists more right than the Lutherans, or Methodists or Episcopalians? Even the Baptists don't agree any more as there are now branches of Baptists like the Southern Baptists, American Baptists, Conservative Baptists and Reformed Baptists. According to Wikipedia Baptists are represented in more than fifty separate groups. But then there are all the other denominations to consider including those claiming to be "non-denominational." According to The Christian Sourcebook, there are approximately 20-30,000 denominations, with 270 new ones being formed each year. Virtually all of these are Protestant. (Source) If all those denominations "know" the truth by revelation of the Holy Spirit, yet not all of them agree on their teachings, how does one really know the truth? Is the Holy Spirit telling one group this and another group that? How can the Holy Spirit contradict itself?
I started looking at the timelines of all these denominations. The Baptists have been around since about 1639 and Southern Baptists only since 1845. Methodists began in the 18th century while Presbyterians began around 1572. We all know that most of this began with Luther posted his 95 Theses in 1517. Luther might have had some good reasons to question things going on in the Church at the time, which ultimately led to the Church examining itself. This is what led me to realize that the oldest Christian Church was Catholic. And for over 2000 years it's teachings haven't wavered. The Church has clarified teachings and pronounced it's doctrines, but nothing has ever been changed. Although we have both the Tradition and the Bible, neither contradict one another. There have been some bad leaders and bad priests, but yet it has stood the test of time. There are no debates as to whether Mary should be venerated or whether the Eucharist really is the body and blood of Christ. Although different Parish's have different styles - the Mass is still the same. There are more traditional Churches and those that would be considered Contemporary, but regardless, it all has the same teachings from one Magisterium. And when I examined the specific teachings of the Church, I couldn't disagree with any of them. They all made sense to me and that is what ultimately led to my faith journey.
I've always had a problem with many of the basic Protestant beliefs like sola scriptura and the concept of salvation which I've written about before. I know that my friend and I don't agree in several areas of beliefs, but I hope that he realizes that I am far closer to his concept of "salvation" in the Catholic church than I ever was in the Baptist.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Interesting Thought

The search for the exotic, the strange, the unusual...
has often taken the form of pilgrimages,
of turning away from the world,
the "Journey to the East",
to another country
or to a different Religion.

The great lesson from true mystics,
from the Zen monks,
and now also from...psychologists--
that the sacred is in the ordinary...
and that travel may be flight from confronting the sacred--
this lesson can be easily lost.

To be looking elsewhere for miracles
is to me a sure sign of the ignorance
that everything is miraculous.

A.H. Maslow

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Yes, it's been a while.

I'm still here. I'm still going to Church. I'm involved as much as I can be in the Church right now. A part of me really wants to do more, but I am so swamped with other things that I don't know how I would do it. I did get to sing this week. That has been a huge step for me. I didn't mind so much singing within a much larger group, but when there's only 4 of us, it is a bit frightening... but I do it anyways because I love it.

I was actually able to go to the adult faith formation class today which was nice. I regret not going more regularly, but the past few weekends have been very late Saturday nights with tournaments.

I still love being Catholic, but I'm in a state where I'm really just going with the flow of life right now and I'm not really growing as much as I should spiritually. But Lent is coming up and I am hoping that I will be able to get myself on track. O.k. I hope the Holy Spirit helps me get on track. I've been contemplating what I should give up and I'm at a loss. I don't know that I have anything else to give up that would really be meaningful. The only thing I know that I would have a very difficult time giving up is the internet. But it is a huge part of everything I do in both my personal life and in work. I don't think I could totally give it up, but I could force myself to limit it perhaps. I think perhaps instead of giving up something like cokes or desserts that perhaps I should devote more time to prayer and those things that will bring me closer to God. Perhaps I should commit to going to adoration, Stations of the Cross instead of focusing on what I should limit in my life. I don't know, but these are thoughts in my head right now.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Saint for 2007

I was chosen by St. Francis de Sales

I will try to write more in blog posts later. I need to spend some time looking up information on him, but I do like this quote I found so far....

Some torment themselves in seeking means to discover the art of loving God, and do not know - poor creatures - that there is no art or means of loving Him but to love those who love Him - that is, to begin to practice those thing which are pleasing to Him.

Saint Francis de Sales

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Finding Faith

How does one go about developing their faith in God? Oh, I know you can pray for faith, but what happens when you pray and your faith seems to diminish? I know I probably don't pray enough or do enough to warrant an increase. I suppose desire simply isn't enough.

I do have faith in God. I believe in Him, His laws, and His will. I can certainly know that just because things don't go my way that it's probably not in God's will, but what happens when you have no idea as to what His will is? Why is it that you question your faith more in times of trouble and sadness instead of leaning more on it?

Sometimes I feel I'm still not doing enough despite going to Church multiple times a week, singing in the choir, and praying. Maybe it's simply that the "honeymoon stage" is over. Now I'm left with actually living out my faith, which I try to do, but it's difficult when you are questioning it. I don't question my belief in God or the Church. I just wonder if I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. I still feel that my faith is very limited. I feel like I'm overwhelmed with other responsibilities and I can't ever catch up and take the time to put more into it.

I don't expect answers and I know that I should pray more... the problem for me is the difference between knowing and actually doing.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


We started our adult faith formation classes today. Well, it started last week, but we didn't have our books until this week. Today was a wonderful class with lots of discussion and examples and I probably talked and shared too much as always.

I noticed something quite interesting tonight. I was reading through our book that we are using for class and the author's name seemed familiar. His name is Mark Link which you may have heard of... but I never had before or so I thought. About a week ago, I checked out a book of poetry from our school library. It is an older book published around 1972, but there were several great poems in there that made me think along with scripture passages and such. I'd been thinking about posting some of them on here and sharing my thoughts about them, but you know how time just seems to slip by. Well, I knew the name was familiar and it turns out that he put together that book of poetry as well. It is a collection of a lot of poems by different authors, but he wrote some the verse as well. I thought that was really interesting. The book is called "In the Stillness is the Dancing." I think I'll try to order a used copy of it so I can have it for myself. I'll leave you with a poem that spoke to me.

I hope that I will always be for each man
what he needs me to be.
I hope that each man's death will diminish me,
but fear of my own
will never diminish my joy of life.
I hope that my love for those whom I like
will never lessen my love
for those whom I do not.
I hpe that another man's love for me
will never be a measure of my love for him.

I hope that every man will accept me as I am,
but that I never will.
I hope that I will always ask for forgiveness from others,
but will never need to be asked for my own.
I hope that I will always recognize my limitations,
but that I will construct none.
I hope that loving will always be my goal,
but that love will never be my idol.
I hope that every man will always have hope.

College student, quoted by Henri J.M. Nouwen

Sunday, October 15, 2006

My Salvation

I often joke with people when I talk about my journey into Catholicism that when I was a Baptist, I had been "saved" three times and Batptized twice. Regardless of my commitment to Christ and my "salvation" I always questioned it. The concept of predestination always bothered me. That is the idea that one is predestined to be saved or not. If a person had been already chosen by God to be saved, then it would happen regardless. If a person was not chosen, then there is nothing they could do to become saved. I often questioned my own salvation because although I had those moments of "accepting Christ as my personal savior" I still struggled with sin and the true desire to live a Christian life. I felt that although I wanted a relationship with Christ, I didn't know how to make myself become what I was supposed to be. I didn't understand how a person could be "saved" and still live a life of sin and still get to heaven. Protestants answer that by stating that "well, then the person probably really wasn't saved because they weren't sincere in their commitment." They contend that if salvation really happened for that person, then they will automatically live a good Christian life and have the desire in them. I know that there are often times where those "saved" take time to re-commit themselves to Christ because although they were supposedly "saved" they had moments of sinful struggles. Then there are those that realize that they were really not "saved" before but finally make the true commitment that they didn't make before.

My first experience with salvation came when I was nine years old. I was at a large Baptist church and the pastor had the typical "Alter Call" and I felt compelled to go up with the others and dedicate my life for Christ. Honestly I probably felt kind of scared because I was afraid of going to hell. But I went up and kneeled on the steps and waited patiently for someone to come talk to me... because that's what they did. And nobody came and I started to feel foolish and I think I started to cry because I was kind of scared and I didn't know what to do. Finally an adult came to talk to me and took me to a little room off the side. I can't remember really what happened exactly, but they probably talked to me about salvation and asked me if I wanted to be saved. I'm sure I said the Jesus prayer. I can't remember if it was the same day or another Sunday, but I was Baptized and I was happy that I wasn't going to hell any more. I enjoyed going to church, but eventually stopped going when we moved.

I was later "saved" again when I was 15 in high school but never made the commitment to actively attend church. Although my good friend Bret and his parents would pick me up and take me, I could never really get into it. Finally, for the third time, I was "saved" in college. For a brief time, I did make the commitment and really got into going to church. But like before, the feeling waned and I fell away from my commitment.

During that time I stopped going to church, I still believed in God but decided that perhaps I didn't believe in "religion." At one point I thought that maybe if I studied different denominations I could find one that better "fit" me, but I didn't get far with that thought. Finally after a ten+ year lapse I discovered Catholicism. Studying the faith gave me answers to the many gnawing questions I had. The more I read, the more it made sense to me. It was no longer a matter of finding a church to "fit" me, but becoming part of the one, true Church established by Christ.

A big factor in my conversion was the Catholic concept of salvation. Deep down I always had the belief that salvation wasn't a simple one time commitment, but an ongoing responsibility. The teachings of the Church confirmed that for me and I've found that I have far more confidence in my salvation now than I ever did before. To me, the protestant concept is like an easy out. One doesn't really have to work that hard to earn their place in heaven. Or it's an easy out in that if I'm predestined, then I can live however I like and then God will let me know when it's time for me to commit. I was worried that perhaps I wasn't called to be saved but am thankful now to know that all are called. The concept of free will was a big thing for me and I wrote two lengthy posts on it. If we have no free will, then what is the purpose of trying to be good? Without free will, we are merely puppets in God's hand and it won't matter how we live because he will take the puppets He likes up to heaven and condemn the others to hell. If we're supposed to build a relationship with God, we have to make the choice to do so. Even in the protestant denominations one still has to choose to be saved. And for the record, I do still believe that salvation is a gift from God, but as Father Phan said today, "We have to choose to accept that gift and keep accepting it." We can't simply accept it once and then put it on the shelf. I know that because I continue to accept God's graces, they are are working in my life. I know that my salvation is dependent on my choices and not a one time commitment. I know that for the first time, I am on the right track in building a relationship with Christ. I know that I still have a long way to go, but I am anxious and excited to be a part of the journey.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Simple, yet profound

I read this on a yahoo page that is allowing people to create and submit things for a time capsule.

"I believe that if those who proclaim to follow Christ lived their lives as Christ did the world would be at peace."

One of the things that kept me away from church and religion for many years was the great amounts of hypocrisy I observed in people that called themselves "Christian." The WWJD bracelets were a big hit years ago and I still see them from time to time. Just in case you're not familiar with the logo it stands for "What Would Jesus Do?" Wearing it was to serve as a reminder that one should live their lives as Christ would. They should act and say things as Christ would. They should live as examples for others. Yet, I was amazed at people wearing those bracelets or other jewelry that would tell about the sinful things they did on weekends and hear them talking down to others or wishing bad things on those they didn't like. I became very disheartened and I knew that although I was probably as sinful as they were, I didn't attempt to proclaim my Christian status to the world. I struggled with being "good" so much that I just gave up. Overall, I was a good, moral person, but there were sins that to be frank, I enjoyed. I look back and see it as selfish behavior on my part, but I didn't want to try to live a life that I knew I couldn't. It was too hard. I didn't like being hypocritical and be one of those Sunday Christians. So I stopped going to church. I decided that if and when it was time for me to return, God would let me know. Thankfully, He reminded me about two years ago and led me home to my wonderful faith.

I now see things through different eyes it seems. Sure, there are still those that have a fair-weather faith, but I also see a great many that are devout in theirs. Instead of judging those that I saw as hyprocrites before, I pray for them and realize they struggle with sin like all of us. For some the struggle is harder than others. I know. I've been there. But with the graces I've received from God, it's easier to deal with. I am finding that I can live more Christ-like with the graces I've received as part of the Catholic Church and I continue to thank God for it. I pray that others may find the same joy and peace that I have discovered.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Nothing much to say

I apologize for my lack of posts here. It seems I haven't had much to say. Part of it has been the fact that life has gotten busy, but also, I have been feeling a bit down and haven't had felt inspired much. And just when I needed it, Father's homily today hit home. He talked about how negativity tends to feed sin. I realized that I've been kind of down and feeling a bit sorry for myself and I realized that isn't very healthy for me in more ways than one. I'm still focusing on things that honestly have been a distraction for me and I need to stop. I still have this trust issue that I seem to have had my entire life... or since my marriage... I'm not sure which... but it has rolled over into my trust in God. I can know that God will provide for me and I can believe in Him, but sometimes I still feel that I have to do certain things. I guess my impatience has been running rampant. I need to do some heavy prayer and ask for help in letting go of those things I still want to control. That is another area that I'm still not doing so well in. Father Phan constantly preaches about how important prayer is and I can know and understand that, but getting into it is difficult for me. Honestly, my prayer life stinks. I don't make time for it and when I do pray it's the same stuff over and over. When I try to make time for it I have a very difficult time focusing and my mind tends to wander into other things.
I still have no idea what God's will for me is. I guess he isn't ready to reveal that or perhaps I'm just not listening. I sometimes feel kind of aimless. I absolutely love being a part of the Catholic Church and I KNOW that I was called to be a part of it. Now I don't know what else I'm supposed to do. I'm taking part in the music ministry and attending RCIA classes again, but sometimes it seems that it's not enough. I want to learn more but I don't seem to have much time lately. I just pray that God at least gives me a few hints here and there or those nudges he gave me when I was first called to simply read about the Catholic faith. I know I've come a long way, but I also know that I have a long way to go.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I was late to RCIA class tonight because I made goodies for the class. I was happy to see that when I got there that the tables were all full. I counted 18 people there tonight. It is very inspiring to see others that are interested in learning about the Church and are giving serious consideration to joining it. I know there will be those that don't go through the whole process, but hopefully it will at least get them to start thinking about their own faith and belief in God. I wasn't able to fully get myself involved in class tonight because of being late and worrying about the food. It turned out the food was a hit so I was happy that they didn't go away hungry. I am starting to really feel like I am a part of the parish now. I know that might seem strange since I've been going since February of 2005. I've been in the choir and participated in Mass, but now I'm starting to feel like part of the Church. I am getting to the point where I know several others... slowly, but surely. When I drove up there tonight I thought about how good it feels to have a place that is like my second home and the fact that I have this wonderful family. I don't know where I'd be without such wonderful people like my good friend Carol or Mary the choir director or so many others that have been a part of my growth in the Church. I just felt so uplifted and inspired to be involved in such a great faith and a great community of people. I pray that everyone in the RCIA class this year gets to that point and feels welcomed.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A long overdue post

I do feel bad that I haven't posted much. With school starting, it is so busy. I have kind of had the funks lately, but am coming out of that. I've contemplated my purpose and God's will and still haven't come up with answers. My friend Carol told me tonight that God is trying to teach me patience and I certainly agree... but haven't quite learned the lesson yet. At least I'm trying but should try a bit more I suppose.

I am still going to Mass and still love it. On labor day weekend, I was in Albuquerque (well near it) and I went to a mission church out there. It was kind of different, but interesting. The songs were sung in Spanish so I couldn't participate much.

Tonight I went to RCIA class. I know I just went through it, but I still feel the need to keep learning. I think this time that a lot of it can really sink in. I felt very inspired being there tonight. It was a pretty full room (well, full for our church) with about 17 people there. I feel excited for the people there and I really hope that all or at least most of the stay with it and join the Church.

After class I met with one lady that had questions about annulments. She was asking them of my friend Carol who works in the tribunal office, but was kind enough to allow me to stay. We had a nice long conversation and I am very excited about her enthusiasm. I see a lot of myself in her. I will be praying for her and that her journey is as fulfilling as mine.

I was disappointed earlier this summer to learn that our priest wasn't going to be teaching an adult faith formation class. I did learn tonight, however, that some other men of the Church are trying to put together an apologetics class and I am very excited about it!

Well, that's all the updates for now. Perhaps I'll be able to start posting more again with classes happening again. Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Where else...

...but in a Catholic Church can you have such amazing services? But first...

I went to a great session on beginning apologetics. It was very inspiring, and I really wish I could take a regular class on it. An hour wasn't ample time to cover much in the session. I did get some ideas for some other books to get. I guess I will continue self-study as I have the time. I would just be more committed to it if I had a class. I was going to go to the RCIA classes again but choir practice is going to interfere.

Before I go on about the closing Mass, I want say that there is no other church that has the unity of the Catholic church. The Eucharistic Congress brought together all of the Parishes in our diocese. Every single priest within our diocese, along with other bishops and two cardinals took part in it. People from every parish came to the celebration. Would you ever find that in a Baptist church? One of the problems I had with protestant churches is the fact that there is no unity involved. They have no authority and can basically preach whatever they want. They claim that their interpretation of the scriptures comes from the Holy Spirit. If that is true, then how can they account for all the different interpretations that occur between different denominations and even within a single denomination? I am not saying that the Holy Spirit isn't at work within the churches, but it seems that if their interpretations were indeed correct, they would be one and the same. At that is what I can count on in the Catholic Church. The Church doesn't randomly make a decision on official teachings. The teachings are based on strict accordance with both scripture and tradition. It has never waivered on its teachings. It may clarify some at times, but it has never changed. What other church can say that?

I have a friend that used to be Catholic and left the Church for a non-denominational church that is (as she calls it) more spirit-filled. Her church may be more charismatic with people raising their hands with some hip music and firey preachers, but I can't understand why someone would think a Catholic Church isn't spirit-filled. What is more spirit filled than a place that has Christ truly present in the Eucharist? I have found that the Catholic Church has been far more holy than any other church I have been to. John Henry Cardinal Newman (who was a convert from the Anglican church) stated ""To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant." I think if my friend truly realized what she had in the Catholic Church, then she would never have left it. I think that the reason why some people leave the Church is because they aren't properly catechized. They haven't been taught and fail to realize the wonderful gifts and blessings that are part of the Church.

Now with that being said, let me talk about the Mass. The opening song was called "Come O Spirit of God." It starts with a cantor singing the words in Latin. Then the basses and congregation come in and sing the words in Latin. Next, are the altos singing the same words in Phillipino & English, followed by the Tenors singing in Vietnamese & English. Finally the sopranos come in singing Latin. We sang the verse twice before cutting out. Then the tenors followed by the altos cut out. The song ended with the basses and congregation singing acapella. It was really beautiful. The choir then sang the song "How Beautiful" by Twila Paris. It is a gorgeous song. After that, the procession began. The brass played a fanfare as people carried banners in that represented each Parish in the Diocese. There were 50+ banners. Then the Knights of Columbus in their regalia walked in carrying their swords up high. Next, the priests from all the parishes entered followed by the dignitaries that included our Bishop as well as a few other Bishops from other areas and a Cardinal from Rome. As this was happening, the choir sang three songs with the last being a song in Latin that heralds the high priest as he enters called "Ecce Saucerdos." (Pronounced Et-cheh Sawchairdose) After singing all these songs in Latin, I think it would be interesting to learn.

The Mass took place in the coliseum which is a place that seats about 6,600. Although it wasn't filled, I would guess that we had around 3,000 people there since both sides were mostly filled as well as the floor area. It was an interesting Mass because although the major parts of it were in English, our responsoral songs were sung in Latin. The prayers for the faithful were said in English, Spanish, & Vietnamese. When the consecreation of the host occurred at the altar, all the priests went up and surrounded the Cardinal and extended their hands toward him and prayed with him during the process. I found it very moving. Then communion was distributed to all of the people present. While singing in the choir, we were getting concerned that we weren't going to get to participate, but we finally had a priest come over to our area. We sang the first communion song acapella which was called "At that first Eucharist." We then sang other songs and it took a little longer than expected so we sang an additional song that we didn't sing during the preparation of the gifts. That reminds me... during the preparation of the gifts, we had Vietnamese dancers that came up and performed a liturgical dance. They held mini flower bouquets that had a candle in the middle of it and long ribbons streaming down. The turned did a lot of mirroring of each other while in partners and made formations. It was quite charming.

The whole experience was really amazing. I wish I could have heard his homily better, though. The sound wasn't projected to our side very well. After the Mass, we were invited to a reception at a local hotel. They served fajitas which were really quite good. I am starting to meet other people within the Church slowly. I got home around 8:30 after picking up McDonald's for Josh. It had been a long weekend and so I just sat in my chair in front of the t.v. for a bit before I headed to bed around 10:30.

I am still very much happy with my choice to be a part of such a beautiful Church that is steeped in history and tradition. How I wish everyone could see it through my eyes. If you have ever had any inclination to visit a Catholic Church or have even thought about becoming Catholic, I recommend that you go to a Mass sometime. Most RCIA classes are starting this month and it is a great way to learn about the Church. You are not obligated to join when you attend classes, you just learn about the teachings of the Church and can decide if it's right for you. So don't be afraid to check it out. Catholics are really quite friendly and there will be someone that would be glad to take you through the process.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

It's been a while

I should be writing more, but life has gotten busy again. It really should't be an excuse. I just haven't felt inspired to write much. But some great things have been happening.

I still love being Catholic. I love going to Mass. I can't explain it and that is the beauty of it. It is truly the grace of God I receive every week in the Eucharist. I am still not even close to perfection, but I am in a much better place than I've ever been.

I have been singing in a Diocesan choir which is made of people from different parishes. It has been really cool to sing in such a large and talented group. We are singing several pieces in Latin and others that are in both Spanish and English. It's been fun but I'm probably stretching myself too thin again. We are singing at the closing Mass of the Eucharistic Congress. I am really looking forward to that. I will have the opportunity to attend a few sessions there and I am going to go to one on apologetics.

I am disappointed, however, that I won't be able to go to adult faith formation classes this year at Church. Our priest is being stretched quite thin right now and will not have time to teach it. I will probably attend the RCIA sessions again just to keep myself going and let the information sink in.

So that's all for now. It's bed time for me and I must be heading there soon.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

A Moral Compass

I've been doing some thinking about morals, values, ethics and the like lately. I think we all in general have a moral compass within ourselves. It does shift from time to time throughout our lives. During my marriage I think my moral compass was a bit more skewed; and now that I've come back to Church, it's found a new direction.

I have a few things I take passion in. I have a love for music, rollercoasters and learning. There have been many things, however, that I just simply haven't given much thought to... at least for a while. I wasn't sure where I stood on many social issues from time to time. I once thought that people on welfare were too lazy to get a job. But then I was on welfare and I realized that the system doesn't work to help people get off of it. I was a rare exception because I didn't want to be labeled and become part of that system. It wasn't in me to have to rely on outside assistance for survival. I used it while I finished school as a single parent, but when I was able to get off of it, I did.

I had never taken a strong stance regarding abortion or birth control either. When I found myself pregnant and alone in college I had to consider many things. Yes, abortion did have to enter my thoughts. The father of my child wanted me to have an abortion because it would be an inconvenience to him to deal with a child. (You see, I wasn't the first girl he got pregnant.) My aunt also suggested it. I took their opinions but decided I couldn't go through with it. Although at the time I felt that abortion was the right of other women, it wasn't right for me. I felt an obligation to face my mistake of getting pregnant. I did consider adoption for a while, but I decided that this child was my responsibility and I couldn't let someone else have raise him/her. It was difficult at times, but my child is the greatest blessing I could ever have. Now that I am facing some medical issues that may involve a hysterectomy, I realize that my son may very well be the only chance I ever had to have a child. So how could he ever be consider a mistake? Yes, I got pregnant in college without being married. But given the circumstances of my life after that, I never would have had the opportunity to have a child. The man I married had a vasectomy as well as several of the other men I dated. Now I am at age and with my health issues, I probably will not have any other children. If I had chosen abortion, I very well could have lived a childless life. For some people that may be o.k., but the joys and pain of motherhood are priceless. Given that idea, how can abortion ever be right? And how can birth control be acceptable? Yes, I realize that people today have sex and not all share such rigid, religious views. But if it's God's will for those children to be conceived and have a soul, then what right is it of ours to prevent it? We can be responsible and not have too many children we can't afford. We do have the ability to control our urges. There are also many people that would like to adopt children that are unwanted by their birth mothers.

I've always had a conservative moral compass in the sense that I would never steal, I can't lie (at least not very well), and I couldn't hurt or kill another person (or animal for that matter) unless my life or someone that I loved was in danger. Since I made the decision to become Catholic and be a part of this faith, I realize that my moral compass has shifted more to what I think God's desire for me would be and I am thankful for it.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Taking time to pray

In the past year and a half, I have probably prayed more than I have in my life until that point. But it's still not enough. I'm guilty of often not having a regular prayer life. I'm am learning the power and need for prayer, but I still have work to do in that area.

Martin Luther has been quoted as saying “I have so much to do today that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” Now I may not agree with some of his other thoughts and notions, but he knew the importance of prayer.

For me personally, I generally pray at night before going to bed. Yes, sometimes I fall asleep before I finish my prayers. But I have also prayed on my way to work in the mornings during my 30 minute drive. But this summer I've rarely had such drives. I do need to work on my prayer life, but more so, I need to learn to just be still sometimes and let God do the talking. I find that I'm always the one babbling on about things.

Father Phan remarked that people today are so busy. We often find ourselves with too many things to do and not enough time to do them. We tend to multi-task which isn't always a good thing - like driving down the road and putting on make-up, reading the paper or talking on the cell phone. (Or perhaps for some people doing all four at once!) When our heads are so full of other things and we're going 90 miles an hour to get xxxx done, we wear ourselves out. In order to function better, we need some down time. Even Jesus and the apostles needed it. The problem was that so many people were desperate to hear His words they hardly had time to rest. Even when they decided to take a break and tried to get away, they were met with more people.

Taking time to stop and pray is our way of recharging our body, mind, and spirit. It gives us unity and better focus. God isn't often on our to-do lists, but we need to take time for Him and remember Him. We are often overwhelmed with things and end up putting prayer on the same level as other menial tasks. We have to realize that in the scheme of things, very few things are really important. We tell ourselves that this, this, and this needs to be done and if I finish all of that, then I'll spend time in prayer. This seems illogical because we should take Martin Luther's stance, and say "I have so much to do today that I should spend some time in prayer beforehand." This way we might realize what is truly important and can ask for God's help in completing our tasks and make sure we're always mindful of Him.

The thing about prayer and talking to God is that we are tempted to forgo it because of a lack of concrete results. We often don't get answers for some time. Sometimes we pray for others and God's work in them takes time. Because we live in a world where we crave and desire immediate satisfaction, prayer is something that ends up on the bottom of our lists. But prayer should become a way of life and not a task.

Daily prayer must become a necessity for us. Prayer helps us receive God's grace and grow in His holiness. It helps us fight our temptations. It puts things into focus for us. We should strive to make prayer a routine habit. Of all habits to have, at least prayer is something beneficial.

So now that I've talked the talk, am I ready to walk the walk? I am going to make the effort to both begin and end my days in prayer. Instead of simply thanking God for getting me through another day, I will ask for His help in it.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Trust Me

How many times have we heard someone say "Trust me on this" or how many times have we said it to someone else? Simple words but I've found trust is actually a complex issue. It was a huge part in the failure of my marriage. It has prevented me from accepting many people at face value. But trust is something we all have to deal with at some point in our lives. Trusting other people can be difficult especially if you've been burned before. But what about trusting God?

You'd think that as Christians, we would be able to easily put our trust in God. Why do we often find difficulty in it, then? Is it simply our human minds and nature that prevents us from being able to trust in Him completely? Is it our sinfulness? The thing is that we might never have answers for it and that is where trust comes into play. It's the ability to have complete faith without having all the answers. For someone like me that has to know how scary movies end and always wants a happy ending, it's hard to deal with at times.

Sunday's Gospel told of the apostles beginning their journey to spread the word in their travels. They were told to take nothing with them other than their staffs and sandals. For all their other needs they would have to trust in God's providence. How many of us could travel so lightly and on faith alone? Today we can't go anywhere without a cell phone. Perhaps because the apostles witnessed the miracles of Christ first-hand their faith was so strong.

Before I can continue with my discussion of the concept of trust, you must understand that it goes hand in hand with faith. A simple definition of faith is "the theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will." Many of us would like to say "of course I trust in God's will. I would do anything He asked of me." How certain are we really in saying that? Sure it's printed on our currency. In God We Trust. But honestly, do we put 100% of our trust in Him? What if He asked the same thing of us that he asked of Abraham, to sacrifice our own child? Would we question God's judgment? Would we question that it was God actually asking that of us? How many times have lunatics done things in the name of God or Allah that we know God would not command?

Fortunately, God usually doesn't ask us to do the impossible. He simply asks us to trust Him. How simple. In the homily on Sunday , Father Phan explained that trust is essential for our faith and without trust, our faith is incomplete. How true. We have to trust in Him to even begin our faith journey and there are instances along the way where sometimes our faith is tested. I liked the analogy that Father Phan gave. Trust is liking floating on water. If you fight it, you're going to sink; but if you learn to relax you just float on top. He also said that the greatest obstacle in our trust is fear. How true! I know I've been guilty of not having complete trust in God because things weren't going the way I planned or expected. We have to realize that what we may think is good for is and right is not what God has planned for us - especially those desires that are contrary to His will. Trust is abandoning our fear and leaving it in God's hands.

When I look back through my life I realize just how often God has provided for me. I often feel humbled because I certainly wasn't deserving of anything, but things always seemed to work out... even in my bleakest moments. When I found out I was pregnant in college, I wondered how I was going to manage having a child, finishing school, and pay the bills. But I managed and finished my degree. When I needed a teaching job on the step program, I applied at one school only and by chance a teacher left in the middle of the summer and a position opened up. I was always able to find affordable places to live, pay my bills, take vacations, have enough to eat, and have health coverage (or I stayed well when I didn't have insurance) etc. And God continued to provide for me even when I wouldn't give Him the time of day for about 12 years or so. Oh, I thought about Him every now and then. I even prayed once in a while... but I had given up on Church and decided I would live my life the way I want to. There were times when I called out to Him asking "Why is this happening?" or simply "Help me." Sometimes I felt I didn't get an answer, but it always came in some form. Sometimes it took me years to realize that He did indeed answer me...and sometimes it was simply "no" or "not now."

Now that I'm finally getting on the right track spiritually, I am amazed at how He provided for me despite my complete lack of faith and trust. I realize that I had to go through some of those hard knocks for a reason and all my experiences happened so that I might eventually learn from them or use them in some way. I do know that God will continue to provide for me and may continue to teach me a few lessons here and there... even when I have my doubts. I am still human and quite imperfect and when things don't go my way or when I want something that I simply cannot have, I sometimes find myself once again questioning "Why?" I hope and pray that my faith continues to increase as well as my trust in God. As Father Phan said, things may not always turn out as we want, but God knows our needs and in His divine providence, He will provide for them. So when God says "Trust me." Our answer should be a resounding "Yes, Lord!"

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Still Here

I'm still around. I'm still going to Mass weekly and I still love being Catholic. I just haven't had much to say about it. I did have an interesting experience yesterday, however. I had two Mormons come knocking on my door yesterday. They caught me at a bad time as I was getting ready to leave to go to the movies. I was kind of abrupt with them, but I really didn't want to spend time talking to them. I told them I was Catholic and I didn't share their beliefs and that they would be wasting their time. They went on to say something after that and I told them that I was leaving in a few minutes and I didn't have time to talk to them. They departed after that. A part of me wanted to be able to converse with them but only if I felt more knowledgable. I am confident in my own beliefs about the Catholic faith. I know I still have much to learn. But I feel that I should know more about their beliefs before I get into a discussion with them. I know a little... but not enough. I know there are books out there about dealing with those that come knocking at your door like the Mormons and the J.W.'s. I just haven't had time to look into them. Of course I had big plans to get more research done this summer and look how far I've gotten. I guess there will be time for that later. I do still wish there was a class I could take on apologetics. I do study on my own when I can, but a class would help considerably. I know there are online things out there, but I need something where I physically go some place and learn lessons and am assigned homework etc. I guess it's because I'm one that has always loved being a student. I was in college for seven years. (I had a baby and changed majors) But I enjoyed taking classes. Sure, I would often wait until the last minute to write my essays but I still made mostly A's. I never made lower than a B.

Our diocese is having a Eucharistic Congress at the end of August. I guess it's basically like a local Catholic convention with guest speakers and such. I would like to go to it but I have a conflict on the second day of it. I'm also thinking of singing in the choir that is being put together for it. It just depends on when the Mass will be held on that Saturday. I think it will be interesting.

Well, it's not much of a post, but just wanted my two or three readers to know that I'm still alive and kicking.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I know, I know

It's been a while since I've posted. I was gone for a week to the National Speech tournament in Dallas. Although I had my computer with me, the wireless internet was lousy and even if I had something to post, I couldn't do it.

I missed Mass last week because of being out of town. I looked into going to a service while in Dallas and found there was a Church less than a mile from the hotel but we had to leave too early to register for the competition and I didn't get to go. This morning I slept in because of not getting to sleep until around 2 a.m. I didn't go to the early 8:30 mass, but got up for the 11:15. A part of me didn't want to go. I felt tired and just wanted to stay in bed or in my recliner, but I made myself get ready. I knew that I would feel better after going since I always do. I was right. I was glad to be there and I especially loved singing. We had a different priest since ours is in Rome right now. He was difficult to understand as he spoke with a heavy Indian (I think) accent. I had a hard time paying attention to the homily as he seemed to go on and on and repeat himself over and over. I think the basics was that we are nothing without Christ.

I was glad to see my friend Carol afterwards. She has promised an evening in her hot tub praying the rosary and then having some wine. I am definitely going to take her up on that.

You know some people probably have issues with the idea that as Catholics we are required to attend Mass every weekend. Of course when it's impossible because of illness or other circumstances, it is o.k. and not considered to be a mortal sin. But if a person willingly makes a choice to not go to Mass, it is a major sin. I've said before how that was something I had to think about before making my commitment to join the Church. But I really "get" the importance of it now. I think that the more you are away from it, the easier it becomes to stay away. I also think that the more you go and participate, the more you grow in Christ. I now cannot imagine making an active choice to NOT go to Mass. I feel not only an obligation to go (especially on those days that I'm tired), but I want to go. It's difficult to explain the power of the sacraments to those that have never received them or to those that have received them but don't really understand what it's all about. The great thing about becoming Catholic is that it's something that you don't just jump in to. You have to study the faith. You have to be certain that you understand and can adhere to the Church's teachings. It's not a simple matter of saying a prayer and filling out a membership card. I'm still happy to be a part of this faith. I still want to know God's plan for me in it... and I do think He does have plans. I am trying to be patient. I still find myself .... perhaps concerned about my situations and I find myself praying for God to lift those burdens from me. I know He hears me and my prayers will be answered.... and in His time, not mine. It's just the time until He does answer that drives me crazy. Although I'm not ready for school to start back up again, it will be a bit of a relief since I'll be so busy that I don't have time to think about things so much.

Well, that's all for this post. I know it's not much, but I wanted to put something out there so you don't think I've fallen off the face of the earth!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Come to Jesus Moments

Most people have them at some point. I had it on occasion when I was going to the Baptist church. After all, I was "saved" three times. Many people have them when they have hit rock bottom of their life and perhaps when they end up in jail or something. My son's father did that briefly after a stint in jail. (Just so you know, I never married his father so that aspect wasn't a part of our lives.) I had my doubts, however, about his sincerity. Sure enough, it was short-lived. But do people have life changing moments when it comes to religion? I would have to say yes. For many, they have a sincere conversion and they truly live a good Christian lifestyle. For others, like myself on occasion, have good intentions and want to be able to be more Christ-centered, but it generally fades. And some, I'm sure it's all a facade and they're fooling themselves and others.

I watched a show on A&E the other day about Karla Faye Tucker. She was convicted of killing two people and received the death penalty. Many of you might be familiar with the story. After she started serving jail time she went through a conversion process after a group came to do a religious presentation of sorts. Was her conversion real? Probably so given the testimony of the people around her. Ultimately her appeals processes ran out and she was executed - the first woman in Texas in a long time. Did she deserve to die? I am not certain of that. I used to have a fairly staunch view that the death penalty was quite justified. After all, it's written in the Bible. But does a person that committed the crime under the influence of drugs and then later has a true conversion process deserve it?

But what makes a true conversion? How can one know if it's real? I think the only one with that answer is God, Himself. He knows what is in our hearts. Much of my questioning when I went through my religious moments was not really knowing if my salvation was real or if I could change like I knew I should. I'm not going to dismiss the Baptists and their ways of bringing people to Christ. Certainly good work is done in all kinds of churches. And many people in all kinds of denominations live Godly lives. I know for me, however, my true conversion didn't happen until I made the decision to become Catholic. It wasn't one of those broken moments where I had no where else to turn. It was a gentle calling. Everything just seemed to come together and for the first time it all made sense to me. Although some people that have known me a long time might not say that I've changed much, but I know what kind of change has happened in me. My thought processes are different. I value different things. My moral compass has shifted. I have a desire to grow in and learn about my faith. I want to live a life in God's grace. I think that by becoming Catholic, I have that chance. Although some people thrive in other denominations, it is often short-lived it seems. I know that the sacraments I have participated in have done wonders. It's nothing I can really explain, but I know that I am different because of them.

I was so worried about about having to change myself to come back to "religion", but I don't what I was thinking. I am still me. I am just a better me.

Monday, June 12, 2006


Usually after the weekend, I have Father's homily in my mind and in my notes that I usually take and it spurs a blog entry. But I don't have that. I went to the 5:00 service on Saturday which was the first communion for the second graders. It was a very nice service and I was excited for all the children, but there was no homily. I don't have any particular thoughts to share so I may just ramble in this particular post.

I have been in a bit of a funk lately and I'm not sure why. I found myself depressed last week and I couldn't shake it so I did what usually works and spent time in prayer, reading my bible and praying the rosary. It always seems to help me feel better. I still don't have answers that I'm seeking from God and I know that He has plans for me of which I am not aware. I am trying to be patient, but it has not always been my strong suit. I want to know His will for me. I want to know if I'm meant to spend the rest of my life alone or if I will ever find the person that is what most people call their soulmate. I want to know if I'm on the right track. Sometimes I feel that I'm feeling around in the dark trying to find my way. I know God is leading me, but sometimes I just wish He'd turn on the light!

You'd think that having summers off would mean that I could or would devote more time to God and my faith. I've had great intentions for a lot of things, but haven't gotten very far. I do want to spend more time in studying the faith. I may never be a great apologist, but I really do want to learn more and be more capable in defending the faith. I wish there was a class locally that I could take in apologetics. I'd even help with it if I could, but I feel as though I'm needing something. With summer here, there's not adult faith formation classes and no RCIA. I am missing my midweek lift. Sure I could go to Mass, but I want more than that. I know everyone involved in religious education at the Church, like my friend Carol, are glad it's summer and they have a break, but this is the moment I actually have the most time to spare.

I haven't spent time making rosaries as I would like to. I'm strapped for funds at the moment but hope to do some more after next pay day. I don't know why I like making them so much. It's just relaxing and I like giving them to people that appreciate them. I've thought about selling them, but I always second guess myself about it. I think that there are so many other places you can get rosaries, so why would anyone buy one from me? I do think that they're a little more unique that some others, but I just don't know if anyone would be interested.

Well, it's time for me to get ready for summer band. Maybe I'll ramble some more later. Stay tuned.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Interesting Conversation

I'm posting an excerpt of a recent conversation I had with someone that left the Catholic Church for a more "spirit-filled" experience. There was more conversation before this but I cut and pasted where it started to get interesting.

michael alvarez (6/5/2006 2:32:10 PM): I think i should have taken some kind of music business i find myself getting more and more interested in music
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 2:32:27 PM): i want to open a christian lable
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 2:32:41 PM): spead the word records......what do you think
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 2:33:04 PM): I love music, but it's a hobby for me. I play my instrument in the summer and sometimes in church. I also sing in the choir at church.
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 2:33:13 PM): It's o.k.
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 2:34:04 PM): coo
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 2:35:00 PM): i think music is so powerful that you can make a difference in many lives if the music is powerful and possitive
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 2:35:12 PM): it definitely is
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 2:36:52 PM): so what kind of music do you enjoy
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 2:37:48 PM): Classical, some Christian, some country, oldies (80's)... a little bit of everything except rap - which I don't consider to be music.
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 2:40:18 PM): lol
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 2:40:50 PM): i mostly listen to christian i love 80's i listen to a bit of it all i guess depends on my mood
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 2:41:28 PM): some Christian is o.k. but I like more traditional music like hymns.
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 2:42:06 PM): yeah we play those from time to time
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 2:43:06 PM): I just don't get into all the contemporary Christian stuff (no offense if that's what you're into). That's one of the reasons I converted to the Catholic Church. I like the solemnity of it.
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 2:43:49 PM): that is cool
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 2:44:18 PM): i left the catholic church cause of the teachings it still has
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 2:44:31 PM): old testament type things
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 2:45:00 PM): That's funny because I joined it for it's teachings.
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 2:46:14 PM): When Jesus died on the cross for us he made the way for us not to have to go to the priest to confess we can go to Jesus who goes to the father on our behalf
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 2:47:05 PM): i really just see it as we all serve one God why must we all be so divided
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 2:47:18 PM): I don't want to get into theological discussions. You're right that we can confess directly to Christ, but confession serves a purpose and has it's place. I feel it makes me more accountable.
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 2:47:43 PM): I agree... but it's the protestant churches that created the division. The Catholic Church is the original church.
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 2:50:25 PM): it is the original church
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 2:50:45 PM): Do you know how the first pope became the pope
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 2:51:06 PM): He was appointed by Christ... the first pope was Peter.
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 2:52:12 PM): I won't say that the Catholic Church has not had it's problems and issues with previous popes and the problems with priests etc... but it has lasted the past 2000 years and has not wavered in its teachings. No other church can say that.
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 2:52:54 PM): i understand that
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 2:53:10 PM): but the teachings is what gets me
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 2:53:46 PM): they're all Biblical. You may not like them or agree with them, but nothing is unbiblical.
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 2:54:46 PM): and it's consistent... too many other churches will say that a passage in the Bible means this when another says it means that... there's no consistency.
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 2:54:56 PM): are they teachings from the old testement
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 2:57:35 PM): some, but not all... the Catholic Church very much believes in the concept of Christ coming and being the new covenant which means you don't have to follow all the old "rules" of the old testament... like not eating pork... if you do, then you're probably Jewish. The Catholic Church relies heavily on the New Testament and it is revered... why do you think the congregation stands when the Gospel is read? The teachings of the Old Testament has it's place, but the teachings of the Catholic Church isn't based on it alone.
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 2:59:37 PM): mmmm
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:00:36 PM): Does the catholic church practice the laying on of hands and healings
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:01:08 PM): Not that I'm aware of, but they do believe in miracles that happen.
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:01:39 PM): so you would think benny hin was all a crock
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:01:49 PM): Personally, yes.
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:03:10 PM): what about the prophets people who come to minister and speak into your life
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:04:15 PM): I wouldn't call them prophets... but I do have those that have been a part of my growth in my faith... what about them?
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:04:47 PM): do think that is real or a crock
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:05:44 PM): I don't think there are prophets today. I believe God works through people, however.
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:06:26 PM): Have you ever been baptized in the holy spirit
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:07:40 PM): I was Baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the Baptist church when I was nine years old. When I was confirmed in the Catholic Church, I received the gifts of the Holy Spirit as the grace was conferred on me.
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:09:23 PM): SO you dont like it when you are in church and the presence of the lord is so thick that people pass out or fall speak in tongues and recieve what is called baptized in the holy spirit when the holy spirit comes apon you .
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:11:05 PM): I don't believe in any of that... no. Speaking in tongues is a gift and if one speaks in a tongue, then there should also be an interpretation of what they are saying. I don't need what others would call a "spirit-filled" church... I find more spirit and holiness in the Catholic Church than in any other I have been to.
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:12:40 PM): in the bible he reads that Jesus met with the 12 in something like an upstairs room and that JESUS breathed upon them baptizing them in the holy spirit
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:12:49 PM): yes
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:12:58 PM): and gave them the gift of tongues
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:13:03 PM): so they could understand each other
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:13:16 PM): if someone speaks in a tongue and nobody else understands them... what's the point?
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:13:26 PM): so why is it hard to believe in someone in church receiving the same gift
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:18:42 PM): Baptizing them in the spirit was to give them the grace they needed to spread the word and deal with the hardships along the way It was to speak the truth and live according to Christ's teachings. Speaking in tongues was given so they could go out and talk to others in languages that they weren't familiar with. Somebody babbling in a so-called "tongue" with not interpretation is not a gift.
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:25:53 PM): Acts 2 The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost 1When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:26:14 PM): I know the passage. It was read this past Sunday.
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:26:14 PM): This happen then why no now
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:26:32 PM): Because it isn't necessary now
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:26:39 PM): why not
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:28:08 PM): The purpose of tongues was for UNDERSTANDING each other. If everyone in the room speaks English... there's no need for speaking in tongues. Speaking in some "unknown" language when the spirit comes upon someone is not the gift of tongues. It is babbling.
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:29:09 PM): Look.. we obviously disagree on this matter... nothing you can say or any scripture you can show me will convince me otherwise. I'm certain that I will not convince you of it's absurdity either.
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:29:29 PM): in acts every one in that room spoke the same language
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:29:37 PM): but they were doing it
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:29:57 PM): But they were to be sent out as disciples.
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:30:12 PM): and needed the gift to spread the word
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:30:32 PM): aren't we all disciples
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:30:44 PM): shouldn't we all spread the word
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:30:52 PM): So when you speak in tongues, who interprets?
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:31:25 PM): Why do we need tongues to spread the word?
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:31:32 PM): I can do that without it
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:32:11 PM): when we enter in the spirit during praise and some one speaks in tongues there is some with the girt of interpreting the message
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:32:25 PM): Riiighhhttt.
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:33:15 PM): I am not here to upset you we just have deifferent views
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:33:27 PM): So why go on about it?
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:33:35 PM): I just said that we're not going to agree.
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:33:52 PM): I believe it's a bunch of hooey.
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:33:58 PM): What does the book say about being saved
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:34:18 PM): Oh geez... I'm not ready to get on the whole salvation kick.
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:34:51 PM): That's the major reason I joined the Catholic Church. I did not believe that "once saved, always saved."
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:34:52 PM): lol
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:34:59 PM): Just a quick question
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:42:14 PM): that's not a very quick question
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:42:34 PM): lol
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:42:41 PM): sorry i think i wil drop it
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:43:09 PM): we could go on forever i just find it interesting what other people think
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:43:40 PM): If you want to know what I think, you can read my Catholic blog. It talks about my conversion and several faith issue questions.
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:43:47 PM):
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:44:03 PM): awesome
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:44:08 PM): are you upset at me
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:44:12 PM): not at all
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:44:15 PM): i hope not
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:44:19 PM): ok good
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:44:34 PM): I'm just standing firm in my beliefs... as are you.
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:44:52 PM): i am not knocking you i think you should hold true to what you believe
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:45:05 PM): I am, I will and I do.
michael alvarez (6/5/2006 3:45:24 PM): in the end we are all saved and we will all sing praises in his kingdom
coaster_lover_tx (6/5/2006 3:46:22 PM): That is true... if we live a life in God's grace and are deemed worthy when our time is up.

Perhaps this summer I'll write a post on my thoughts on salvation.