Friday, December 30, 2005

Response Regarding My Post on Free Will

My friend Bret, who is a Baptist minister in California commented on my blog regarding free will. I have been wanting to respond to it, but haven't had the time until now. His remarks are italicized.

The concept of free will is a very interesting bird. What Scriptures would you point to that specifically teach free will.

Sirach 15:14 “When God, in the beginning, created man, he made him subject to his own free choice.”

Sirach 15:20 “No man does he command to sin, to none does he give strength for lies.”

Ezekiel 18 This entire chapter speaks of man choosing either good or evil and the ramifications of that choice.

Galations 5:1 “For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.”

Acts 7:51-53 "You stiff-necked people, uncircumised in heart and ears, you always oppose the holy Spirit; you are just like your ancestors. Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They put to death those who foretold the coming of the righteous one, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become. You recieved the law as transmitted by angels, but you did not observe it."

How does the idea of free will keep God from being the puppet of human free agency?
How can God be sovereign while still captive to the whims of humanity.

God can and does choose to act within the hearts and lives of man. He is by no means a puppet of humans. We owe our very existence to him and therefore He “remains the sovereign Master of life” (CCC 2280). Many humans choose to honor and serve Him - which pleases Him. Many do not, which is not pleasing to Him. When we look towards Him, He may very well choose to speak to our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit or may even perform miracles, answer prayers etc. But ultimately we choose to follow Him or not. Certainly it is His desire that all should follow him. The CCC covers this better than I can in two excerpts:

302 By his providence God protects and governs all things which he has made, “reaching mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and ordering all things well.” For “all are open and laid bare to his eyes,” even those things which are yet to come into existence through the free action of creatures.

306 God is the sovereign master of his plan. But to carry it out he also makes use of his creatures' co-operation. This use is not a sign of weakness, but rather a token of almighty God's greatness and goodness. For God grants his creatures not only their existence, but also the dignity of acting on their own, of being causes and principles for each other, and thus of co-operating in the accomplishment of his plan.

If free will does not exist, then we are simply the puppets of God. If that is the case, the God is the author of sin. It would be God that causes people to do both good and evil. The concept of pre-destination would state that "if God is "absolutely" sovereign over all things, such that He decreed that Adam would fall, that he decrees who will repent and who will not.... that this view clearly makes God equally as responsable for the evil in the world and the damnation of the wicked, as it does for all the good things." (

This is a very invovled subject - an interesting one to dialogue over.

You are right. The majority of my sources came from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) Article 3 on Man’s Freedom (1730-1748)

It is based on both scripture and the teachings of the Church. But since we already disagree on the concept of Sola Scriptura, the fact that Protestant Bibles leave out the seven Deutero-Canonical books which is part of my source citation, and the authority of Church’s teaching I am certain we cannot come to any kind of agreement in this discussion. But I do appreciate your response because it makes me delve even deeper into my beliefs. I can say I have certainly learned a great deal through your questions and concerns.

Thursday, December 29, 2005


In one of Father Phan's sermons he preached on the seven habits of highly effective Christians. In his list, forgiveness was one of the habits. He stated that in order to be able to love, one must be able to forgive. And that means even forgiving those that do not show remorse for their actions.

Sometimes all of this in theory is easier said than done. Sometimes it takes a long time to forgive, but as a Christian we must. I didn't understand the power of forgiveness until I had to really do it.

After my failed marriage, I have to admit I was very bitter and angry towards my ex. We stayed on fairly friendly terms and the divorce was amicable, but I did harbor a grudge. I was angry at myself for many reasons, but I also wanted to place a huge pile of blame on my ex. But once I started going to Church (a year after the divorce), I realized that the anger and resentment was a burden to keep. As I went through the annulment process and had to write out many details about my marriage, I finally decided that the bitterness and anger served no purpose except it continued to hurt me. My ex had moved on and although at one point I wanted him to truly regret hurting me; I realized that it wasn't up to me to make anyone feel any other way. And I realized that wanting him to hurt was wrong, despite any amount of hurt I felt. I understood that the only person's feelings that I could be responsible for was my own. So I decided to let go of the hurt and anger and realized that what happened in our past didn't matter. I focused on the good things that came out of my marriage. It's not that I don't remember the bad stuff... but I know it doesn't serve any purpose to dwell on it. I use my knowledge to hopefully avoid future mistakes and that's it. And amazingly he and I have become good friends again. We talk from time to time as friends and it's a nice feeling.
I've discovered that if you can truly forgive, it is so freeing. It allowed me to move on. I think if I had been able to do it sooner, then my relationship with Marty might have been different. Because I think Father Phan is right.. we can't really love until we learn to forgive.

Once I learned how rewarding forgiveness is, I placed all of my burdens of dealing with others that have caused me pain into the hands of God. And there were more. Some even more painful than my marriage; but the thing is that once I was able to do this... I was also able to let go and move forward. Not forgiving keeps us anchored to our past and the only way that we can get beyond our pain is to make the decision to forgive and if you are Christian, to give it to God. It doesn't mean that we'll ever forget the pain or that we even have to become friends with those we forgive. It just frees us of the burden that we hang on to when we don't forgive.

I am still ever so thankful for this journey I am taking into the Catholic faith. It has done more for me in the past nine months than I could have ever imagined. It has allowed me to deal with the blows of life so much better. Just because I'm going to Church doesn't mean I still don't struggle... far from it... but I am simply able to deal with things better. I have realized that I don't worry so much. I have become a much happier and content person. And the peace is simply amazing. And I thank God for all of it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A Blessed Christmas

This was a very nice Christmas this year. A bit rushed, but still good. Christmas Eve Mass was simply amazing. The music was awesome and I didn't even squeak on my clarinet. I also did fairly well singing, other than an early entrance on Do You Hear What I Hear? It was two hours long when you counted the music that started at 6:30, but it didn't seem that long by any means. I still love going to Mass and was happy to have Josh be there. He asked several questions afterwards and made a similar comment that I did after my early visits to mass saying that the service itself seemed more "religious" than other churches. I think overall he enjoyed it. I don't know if he'll return, but the choir director is going to be his piano teacher starting in January so who knows where that will go.
I received two very special gifts this Christmas. My RCIA sponsor and good friend, Carol, gave me a beautiful white beaded rosary that has images of famous basilicas in the "Our Father" beads. It has been blest by both the Pope and our local Bishop. I am very pleased to have it and hope to use it soon. My sister, who I could write an entire blog about her "religion", gave me a beautiful Catholic family Bible. Although I have a strong opinion about her church, it is nice that she supports my decision to become Catholic by giving me such a beautiful Bible.
Now I'm home for a few days and perhaps I'll be able to get more posts soon. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas

I'm sure that most of you reading this blog do not need a reminder of remembering Christ as we celebrate His birth tomorrow. I can't believe it is actually tomorrow. Where has the time gone? My schedule seems to be off this week without having RCIA. We did have a choir/music rehearsal on Thursday night and I think our Christmas eve Mass is really going to be special. It will be my first Catholic Christmas and I am looking forward to it so much. I am also especially thankful that my son will be sharing in it as well. You see, my son is not what you would call religious in any way. And yes, it is my fault really. As he was growing up, I was going through my non-religious state where even I didn't know what I believed. And Josh is at an age where he is in the same boat. He considers himself agnostic at this point because he is not certain whether he believes in God or not. And that is something that may be difficult for him to overcome... but he is at least curious about it at this point. So that is a small step. After his father passed away, he asked me if he could go to church with me some time. I told him of course and would ask him if he was interested in going on various Sundays. I never pushed him. He hadn't taken me up on any offers, but I figured all I can do is pray for him. When I mentioned that I might be playing at the Christmas eve Mass, he seemed interested. And then I didn't even ask him about it, but he asked if he could play. I told him of course! So he and I will be playing tonight with some other musicians. And what a special time for him to experience a Catholic Mass! I don't expect him to know God personally any time soon, but at least I know that the Holy Spirit is doing some work in him. What a great Christmas gift!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

My Apologies for lack of posts

I know that there are a few regular readers stopping by to visit so I wish to apologize for not having much posted. I have some thoughts for posts, but haven't had time to get anything down as I have had a very full plate lately on top of being sick. Unlike my other blog, posts here tend to take more time and effort to produce so I don't want to throw just anything out here. So bear with me and be patient. Christmas break is here and as soon as I finish shopping, cleaning, music rehearsals and church, we'll be back to our regularly scheduled posting.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

RCIA week 13

I have to admit that I didn't take in a lot of what was discussed this week. I was so very tired. In fact, I went to bed shortly after coming home after class. However, one thing that we did talk about is our obligation to go to Mass every week. I know I posted about this at one point perhaps in my other blog, but I'm going to repeat myself here... so just bear with me.
One of the things that actually might have prevented me from coming into the Church... or so I thought, was the fact that I would have to go every week. It wasn't because of any of the Church's teachings that so many other people have obstacles with... like birth control, praying to Saints, the veneration of Mary etc. I just wasn't sure I could make that kind of commitment. But once I started going, I realized, it's not that difficult. Sure, some mornings I am tired, but I can always go to the later service at 11:15. But I find that I always get something out of Mass. I can't imagine how much better it will be when I can receive the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, but Easter really isn't all that far away. I can understand the obligation to go every week. I think when people miss a service here and there, it just gets easier to stop going all together. At least that's what happened to me back in the day of going to the Baptist church. Sure, other factors played a part, but by not going, it was easier to just walk away.
Now I am in a state where my life revolves around the Church. I make my decisions based on whether or not I will miss Mass, RCIA class or choir rehearsal.
Sometimes I wonder whether if I will be able to keep this commitment. I know that sometimes I will get involved in things for a period and then move on to something else... but I am really thinking that this time is different. I feel God's graces and His presence and the joy I have for Him. No, I don't make a big show about it, but it is a part of me now. And I am so thankful.
In order to grow in this faith and in any faith... one has to make the commitment to go and hear the word of God and participate with the faithful others.
I find that since I've been regularly going to Mass, my life has truly changed. I don't worry nearly as much as I used to. I feel a bigger sense of peace and happiness. Have I mentioned before how much I love being part of the Catholic Church?

Monday, December 12, 2005

The truth of God cannot be silenced

I found that statement by our priest in Sunday's homily to be so very true. For me personally, I realize that although I tried to push religious thoughts out of my head for a while, I never stopped thinking about God. I would still pray and ask the "whys" of my life. And I am thankful that He finally spoke up again and allowed my heart to be open to His love.
As we celebrate this season we need to remember that our joy should exist in our hearts. The outside things are nice, but decorations and gifts and such are meaningless without truth of God in our hearts. So many people only briefly remember the reason for the season. I admit that I was one of them. Only briefly thinking that yes, it is celebrating Christ's birth but it didn't have a deeper meaning.
I love the example that Father Phan gave. He compared it to the story of the Grinch. Although the Grinch felt that Christmas and it's celebration could be stifled if he took all the outside things away, he didn't realize the power of the joy in the Who's hearts. Once he discovered that it came from within, his heart was opened as well.
I kind of feel like the Grinch in a way. I feel like my heart had shrunk a bit. After all the dealings with my marriage failing, job frustrations, my mother's passing, and everything else you could pile on my plate, I wasn't very open to God or anything. But it took a special man and his family to show me that I am deserving of love. I think because of that... I was able to accept God's love. And now my heart is growing in it.
So remember... the truth of God cannot be silenced. One may put hands over their ears and shout "na, na, na, na, na"... but eventually God will get through because it is His will.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

RCIA week 12

This week's RCIA focused on some basic things like the liturgical calendar and traditions within the Church. But most importantly, we practiced for our Rite of Welcoming that will be this Sunday. In the service they will announce our first and middle name. We will stand and say "present". Then the priest will say some things and ask us two other questions and I know that the answers are "faith" and "eternal life". And then at some point they ask if we are ready to take the steps into the Church and we answer "I am". Then our sponsors and the congregation affirm that they will help us on the journey. After that, we'll receive a blessing from the priest and our sponsors who will cross various parts of our body (ears, eyes, mouth, shoulders, heart, and feet... I think) And then we're presented to the congregation as Catechumens... or those being instructed in the Catholic faith.
As we practiced the steps, I was excited about taking this next step. I can't explain it, but I am truly excited about becoming part of this Church. And it some ways it still doesn't make any sense but I'm certainly not questioning God. And don't get me wrong... it's not that the faith doesn't make sense... it actually makes the most sense of any faith to me. It's the fact that I even got to this point.
For example: Tonight I was looking for some of my Christmas CD's. As I was going through a stack of CD's I found another stack of Christian CD's that I had put aside a while back, because I was simply not interested in anything religious. I pretty much wanted it to be as far as possible from me. I had turned my back on it for the most part. But luckily I hadn't closed the door... or at least all the way, because God has certainly opened it and I am so elated with Catholicism. It just seems to fit. It feels right. It is exciting to me.
As I was sitting at Josh's concert tonight, a group of people sat down behind me and were having a conversation before the concert started. They were talking about going to mass today because it is a Holy Day of obligation and another guy mentioned that his father and brother-in-law had recently come into the Church. Then a lady said something like how wonderful that was and she was happy about it and how good it was for them. And I just smiled as I listened to them. I didn't recognize them and I think they went to church in either Amarillo or Umbarger, but I just couldn't help but smile. I wanted to turn around and tell them that I was in the process of coming into the Church myself, but I was a bit too shy for that. But as I get involved with Church, attend classes and mass, the more meaningful it becomes for me. And I simply can't wait! And I know time will fly by and soon it will be Easter. But I am relishing it in the meantime.
My sponsor commented on my enthusiasm during our practice. I just can't help but be excited about it. And how I wish I had more time to delve into more books and prayer and research and writing and all of that. I also want to respond to Bret's comments about my entry on free will. But it will probably have to wait until Christmas break. With class, choir practice, teaching, concerts, speech tournaments, Christmas parties, shopping, cleaning, and getting some sleep somewhere in there... I'll just have to wait for some of those things.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Spirit of Christmas

I had so many things to do tonight. I stayed late at school, got home, had to do laundry, make supper, work on lesson plans and try to find time to put up my Christmas tree. I was thinking of just not doing a tree this year, but Josh was insistent. And then I thought of putting it off until Sunday when I might have more time, but he seemed to really want it up tonight. So I relented. And I'm glad. There's nothing like getting a tree up and hanging the stockings to really put one in the Christmas spirit. I've been so caught up in all the other things in life that I've not been thinking about the real meaning of the season of Advent and Christmas. Actually, I admit that I haven't been thinking much of it for many years now. It's not that I didn't care that it was the celebration of the birth of Christ, but it's one of those things where you've distanced yourself from something for such a long time that you can't or won't really focus on it. For me it meant time off from work, making or buying gifts for people, and spending time with family. Church wasn't much in my thoughts although last year Josh and I played a clarinet duet for the Baptism of the child of my cousin. But this year already seems different. Sure, I've got to slow down enough to really focus on it, but I think it is going to be more special because I am going to celebrate it in the Catholic Church.
So despite the fact that I didn't get my lesson plans done, I'm happy that my tree is up and that I'm thinking of what this time of year should really be about. In RCIA class last week, we received a pamphlet about celebrating Christmas as a Catholic. There were a few ideas in it that I thought I'd share with you.
1. Go to Mass - It is a time to celebrate God's gift of Jesus, our savior. Although I cannot participate in the Eucharist as it mentions, I still think attending Christmas Mass will be a very special occasion. This year I may even get to play my clarinet again. We have a new choir director that mentioned an interest in instrumentalists. So I told her that I played the clarinet and perhaps I'll get to praise God through music.
2. Set up a Nativity Scene - This is something that I want to do at some point, but I don't have a one yet. I've looked here and there, but haven't found one. Some aren't just what I'm looking for and others are simply too expensive. Perhaps I'll start out simple and try to add to it each year perhaps.
3. Raise the Christmas tree - Well, we accomplished that tonight. And I do love my tree. It isn't fancy, but I've been collecting ornaments for about 15 years now. My tree has a music theme and just about all the ornaments on it are music related. Music is one of my passions and I love putting all the ornaments on the tree each year. A few years ago, I bought a mechanical Looney Tunes band that sits in the tree and actually plays music.
4. Let Lights Shine - I guess I haven't thought about candles much in my decorations, but it does make sense. I don't have an advent wreath, but perhaps that is another thing I can look to add to my Christmas decorations.
5. Exchange gifts - Most years, I try to really give from the heart. I try to make as many gifts as I can personal. Whether I make them myself or simply find something that will truly bring joy to the person I give it to. And for some reason, although I am usually on a limited budget, somehow during Christmas, I find myself with money. Last year, it was a surprise child support check. The year before, it was a generous Christmas bonus from my boss. One year, it was a refund for an insurance claim on my car. And if it doesn't happen this year, I'll manage.
6. Share a feast - If there's one thing you should know about me, I love food. Although I may be a picky eater, I still love to eat. But I also love to cook. Sharing a feast with the family has been a tradition that will always continue with us. This time of year makes me a little sad as I remember my mom's cinnamon rolls she would make Christmas morning and the amazing meal for Christmas dinner. She was a great chef. But it is also good to know that she is perhaps celebrating with all the Saints in Heaven.
So as you deal with the hustle and bustle of Christmas, enjoy the season and continue those traditions that make it special. This is a time of celebration so share it with those you love and those who are less fortunate. Remember the blessings you have; and finally, take a moment to remember the greatest gift that God gave us, Christ our Lord.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Free Will

In Sunday's adult formation class we covered the first part of Christ's Passion. As we discussed things the subject of free will came up. This was in talking about Judas' choice to betray Christ. Certainly Satan entered into Judas as it is indicated in scripture and had influence on him, but ultimately it was a matter of his free will. In the same way God may inspire or influence us, but He does not make us do anything. Our choice to turn to Him or away from Him is ultimately our will. I think the in same way, Satan attempts to influence us, but if we choose sin, it is still a matter of free will on our part. We have the choice to avoid those things that are sinful, but many times our desires get in the way. Believe me. I know. I think the example of Judas is a way to look at the criticism of those Catholic priests that made bad choices. Many people blame the Church as a whole, but the Church cannot be responsible for the decisions of those men. In all likelihood, similar to Judas, Satan played a role in their demise. And ultimately, they made very bad choices of their own free will. Just as any sinner does - even those in other faiths and those with no faith.
The concept of free will is difficult to understand when Christians believe that God is all-knowing. If He knows everything that is going to happen and the choices we're going to make, how can it really be free will? The fact is that, one may know how a person will choose something, yet still leave it as their choice. For example. I can give an extra-credit assignment in my classes and I can know that a particular student will not do it because of their past choices. But I don't tell that student to not do it, but I let he or she make that choice. In the same way, God may know how we'll end up when we die, but He still ultimately lets us make the choices as we journey through our lives. Sometimes He influences or provides for us to perhaps get us toward the right path, but He never makes our decisions for us. Allowing us free will means that we can be held accountable for our actions when it comes to His judgment. After all, He made us this way as rational humans that has freedom to choose. The more we choose good, the freer we become and the more we can progress in virtue and goodness. Even though it can be difficult to understand all of this in additional to God's omniscience, I think it's simply one of the mysteries of God's being that we will never be able to fully understand.. at least while we are here on Earth.
But the good thing is that despite our bad choices we may make, God is still there and forgives us when we ask for it. But that is the key... acknowledging our failures and asking for His forgiveness. Not always an easy thing, but what a relief when we do!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

RCIA week 11

Tonight's session was on prayer. I have admitted numerous times that prayer is something I continue to struggle with, but I have been earnestly trying to make it a daily occurrence. I've been doing it before going to bed, but do often find that I drift asleep before concluding. But I also do it when driving by myself and when something is on my mind. I know that many non-Catholics have problems with recited prayers, but I think when done with the right frame of mind and with a focus on God, they can be just as meaningful as spontaneous prayers. I haven't prayed the rosary as much as I'd like, but it is a quite beautiful, meditative prayer.
Tonight we talked about what kind of prayers we grew up with. In the Baptist church, it was all spontaneous prayers that were made up on the spot. But even in some respects they were just as formulaic as a memorized prayer. One thing I did learn in the Baptist church was a way to earnestly pray. I heard many of those that were raised in liturgical churches (Catholic, Episcopal, and Lutheran) that the grew up only with recited prayers, but later in life learned to appreciate more conversational prayers with God. I'm glad I have had a taste of both worlds.
In the Baptist church I learned some prayer basics that I've actually retained. One must acknowledge God's greatest through praise when praying. One shouldn't just start in by asking things from God, but first give Him the acknowledgment of being our Lord. We must also ask for forgiveness of our sins so that we can fully be in His presence. Sin is separation from God; therefore, for Him to fully listen, we should ask for forgiveness. Prayer should also include thanks for the gifts He has given us. We should acknowledge His generosity and unmerited favor. And of course, we may petition our needs. But we also have to keep in mind that His answer may not be what we are expecting. I've said that one should be careful what they ask for from God, because He has a sense of humor.
I wrote a poem back then when I was in the spirit of things going to the Baptist church. Sure, it's a little cheesy, but I think it covers the basics although you'll note the Baptist flair I think.

I ask God to answer my prayer
And I know that He hears me
He will respond according to His will
I can trust Him to answer faithfully

In my prayer, I give praise to God
For everything He's done
For giving me the life I have
And for sending Christ, His son

I plead for His forgiveness
For each and every sin
They are washed by the blood of Jesus
Never to be remembered again

I ask him for the Holy Spirit
To walk with me each day
To help me in every struggle
And keep Satan far, far away

I pray that He will show me
What His plan is for me
So I can live to glorify Him
In every word and deed

I thank Him for His blessed gift
Of Jesus Christ, His Son
So I could have God in my life
For with Him, I have every battle won

In conclusion to my prayer
I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ
For He is my salvation
And the Lord of my life

Nov. 1989

So I will try to remain steadfast in prayer, especially as we enter the season of Advent. There was more I wanted to say about prayer, but it is late and I will have to continue another time.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Faster than Lightning

I tend to stay on my computer throughout most evenings. Sure, sometimes I do other things like the dishes, perhaps some homework, or watching a little t.v. But I stay connected online checking email, reading other blogs, and I stay signed in to yahoo messenger. I've noticed lately that I haven't had as many random strangers trying to chat with me since I changed my profile to read 'single, not looking.' It's not that I'm not interested in a relationship, it's just I'm not trusting of meeting people online these days. I still pray that God has a plan for someone special to come into my life, and I'm trying to be patient in regard to that. Oh, yeah, I was making a point.
Tonight I had yet another random message, but did respond since he did have a profile (part of my rules for chatting). And we went through the typical cheesy conversation stuff... "where are you from?" around here "Do you have pictures?" Yes "Well, you're cute!" Thanks "What do you do for fun?" Ride rollercoasters. "Cool, anything else?" blog, watch t.v., go to church, crochet, go out to eat, movies, read, puzzles.... And for some strange reason, that ended the conversation. I'm thinking it was the statement about going to Church. Seems to scare some people off these days. But it's something I do want to put out there. If/when a new man comes into my life, he's going to have to be one to support my beliefs and be a Christian, himself... preferably Catholic. Unfortunately in my situation, the fact that I would like to meet a nice, single, Catholic guy, my chances are diminished as most of the good ones are already married. There's the slim hope that a good guy hasn't found the right girl (namely, me) yet or that he made a mistake, got divorced (and an annulment) and is available. But where to meet such guys? I have no idea. But again, I'm trying to depend on God to perhaps toss him in my path one of these days. But if a guy gets scared off in a flash because I mention that I go to Church as part of fun, well, guess it's not much of a loss, huh?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Spiritual Alertness

That is what the homily was about today. The priest mentioned three ways that we can be more spiritually alert.

1. "Take five" with God. Spend at least five minutes a day spiritually with God. In prayer, in reading, in simple reflection. It's also best to do it first thing in the morning so you don't fall asleep and it is a way to jump start your day. The priest compared it to a shot of cappucino.

I admit that I could use the time with God and I need to make that time. Generally I say my prayers at night and I've found myself falling asleep before finished. I still lack focus in prayer, but I hope to do better than I have in the past.

2. Be creative. This helps the spirit stay alive and alert. Instead of buying all your Christmas presents, perhaps make some of them.

This is one thing I am already doing for the most part. One thing I have really enjoyed is making rosaries. I don't know what I'm going to do with the ones I've made... perhaps give them away or maybe even put them on ebay or something. But I also am going to be making a few of my Christmas presents this year.. not because it's cheaper, but I think it's more memorable and unique. I even have gotten some of my crochet stuff going again.

3. Stay in touch with nature. This clears our mind of the stresses of life.

This may be more difficult for me than the other two. I am not a person that is usually one with nature. Generally I try to avoid it. It's not to say I've never appreciated God's beauty in nature, but I have to say it is usually a rare thing for me. I will try to take the time to appreciate His work. (As long as there's not a lot of bugs and dirt... :)

During this season of Advent we should spend it in prayer and reflection as we prepare for the celebration of Christ's birth. Let us work on our spiritual alertness and celebrate with joy and hope this season.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Catholic "Light"

I'm referring to a joke that George Carlin once made about the Episcopal Church. He called it "Catholic Light". And I guess in some respects that is true. I went with my aunt to a brief service at her church on Thanksgiving. Remember, I grew up partially attending Episcopal services while growing up, but it was interesting to view it from a Catholic perspective. I hope I do not offend anyone that is Episcopalian, I am simply noting some observations.
In many respects the service is very similar to a Catholic Mass. It starts with a processional while the congregation is singing. They bless in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The have the Gloria (a different tune, of course) but the penitential right (I confess...) came much later in the service - shortly before communion. The have the liturgy of the word just like the Catholic Mass and I was even "volunteered" to be one of the lectors. It was no big deal and my aunt and the assistant vicar (who happened to be female) said I did a good job with it. I noticed that although they say the Nicene Creed as well, it was worded slightly different. Their general intercessions (prayers) each had a different response as opposed to "Lord, hear our prayer." The biggest thing I guess that bothered me the most about the service is the casualness of communion. I guess it's because as Catholics we believe that Christ is really present in the body and blood; but I guess in the Episcopalian church, it's only a symbolic representation. My aunt even told me that everyone was welcome to participate in communion, but I knew as a soon to be Catholic in full communion with the Church, it would not be appropriate. The fact that a woman was in the position of basically a priest role was also bothersome. I'm all for equality of women in many respects, but that is one area that it isn't appropriate. It's not to say that women don't play important roles in the Catholic Church, because they do; but I just personally feel that God's instructions are pretty clear about those that are to serve in the role of priesthood. There were a few other differences in some of their congregational responses, but in general, the service was very liturgical. I still am strong in my choice to become Catholic and feel that despite general flaws in it's history, it is the true Church founded by Christ.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


I am thankful for so many things this year. So please indulge me.

I am thankful for my son. He is the best thing that has happened to me. I love him dearly and am so very proud of him. He is a remarkable young man.
I am thankful for my family. We're not necessarily close, but we are there for each other and we have a good time when we are together. And I'll get to spend time with all of them on Thanksgiving.
I am thankful for the Catholic Church. I am still surprised that God called me to this journey when I didn't think I was ready, but I've since realized that our plans may not be God's, but He tends to make a good call from time to time. O.k. He always does, although sometimes it takes a while for it to sink in. I love the Church and it has become home for me.
I am thankful for my friend, Carol, who has been my guide in this process. She is a wonderful lady that is a great example of the faith and I appreciate her so very much.
I am thankful for my job. It took great consideration to go back to teaching, but I think it was a wise choice. I had fear and dread about it, but it has been a pleasant surprise. And we are covered by health insurance so all the better.
I am thankful for my home. Even though I moan and complain sometimes when I have to deal with the sewer line and other issues that spring up, I have a place to live that is all mine. Although I still miss my mother, her passing (which was inevitable) made it possible for us to have a place to live.
I am thankful for my friends, in real life and online. They have been great sources of comfort and companionship.
And finally I am most thankful to God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, all the Angels and Saints for more than my words could ever express.

Although this list is not even near complete for everything that I am thankful for, these things are at the top of my mind as we enter into this holiday. May all of you that read my blog be blessed and enjoy your holiday that I hope is spent with those you cherish. God Bless.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Blog Updates

As you can tell, the blog has a new look. I've learned how to do some updating within the html code... cool, huh? I've also updated my links that are on the left. Whether you are new to the faith, a practicing Catholic, or just looking for information, there are some links that might be helpful to you so take a moment to check them out. If you by chance are a regular reader of this blog, you can now sign up to receive emails when I have updated by clicking on the blogarithm link at then bottom of the sidebar on the left. I appreciate all of you that do read and I hope to have a post about the dedication ceremony at the church soon.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Last of the old blog posts

This is the last of the postings from my other blog. Again, some are just paragraphs of larger posts that weren't all church related. And so this brings us to the beginning of this blog. I am grateful for this medium to voice my thoughts on this journey and thank God for all of His blessings. If you read, thank you for stopping by. I would probably post whether anyone read or not, but by knowing there are some regular readers out there, I find that I try to make more of an effort to post regularly.

Monday, May 02, 2005

I'm also working on a response to my friend from California. He sent me another email. Turns out he found my blog and I think some of the things I wrote hit him the wrong way. He apologized to me for his lack of attentiveness over the years. I sent him a short reply back stating that I wasn't upset by that or with him in any way. I understood that as people move away and move on in their lives they can't always stay in touch. I also told him that I knew he would have concerns over my conversion and that we can agree to disagree as friends. He told me some of the problems he has with the Church so I'm working on a longer response to him. This is good for me in that it's making me really understand my reasons why I'm doing what I'm doing.

Tonight I'm going to a mother's/daughter's dinner at the church. I think it will be good to be able to get to meet some of the other people in the church. Going to Mass and then leaving doesn't give me much opportunity.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

I tried to get the last two documents for my annulment, but once again Richard's bad memory has gotten in the way. (No offense Richard, just stating a point :) ) I was able to get a copy of his divorce decree from his first marriage, but there was no record of his marriage in Potter county. I tried to call him, but he wasn't accepting calls today. (I think he's in training or something) So I called his mother. She told me that they were married in Hereford. So I guess I need to head back there to get a copy of the marriage license. Once I get that I'll be ready to proceed with the annulment.
I sent a response to my friend Bret regarding his concerns about the Catholic Church. Don't know if I explained things well enough, but I still can't find any Catholic teaching that isn't explained to my satisfaction in a variety of sources. I hope to hear from him tomorrow and perhaps make plans to get together at some point. It will be good to see him again.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

I got the annulment proceedings started on my marriage to Richard. I was finally able to get all the documents needed and I took them to diocese. Now it should be a matter of two priests checking them and signing off saying "yes, this marriage was invalid because he was already married to his first wife and that marriage was never anulled and she is still living." After that is done, I'll be free to marry in the Church. Not that I have a lot of choices out there right now, but I'm starting to look.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Dual Church-going

I went to two services today. I attended Mass at 8:30 and then went to the Contemporary service at the Baptist church at 10:50. My cousin David was being recognized as a graduating senior and he wanted me to go.

It was interesting to see two different kinds of services. I wouldn't say completely night and day, but they were very different from each other. If I had to sum it up simply I would say that that the Catholic Church is more about reverance and the Baptist is more about praise. Not that one is better than the other. I feel that both are about worshipping Christ, just in different ways.

Yes, the Mass is more formulated with the prayers and recitations, but the Baptist church is quite formulaic itself. There was sitting and standing, a specific order in which songs were sung, messages preached, and money collected.

I have to say that I still feel much more at home and comfortable in the Catholic Church. Maybe I like the tradition and the solemnity of it. I've never been one to be outgoing and making a show of my faith. It's not that it's a bad thing to do it, but it's just not me. The Baptist service was full of contemporary songs that I couldn't sing because it was posted on a powerpoint, but did not have the music (notes) printed. I guess if you go for a while you know the tunes, but for me, I couldn't sing a lick of any of the songs without being able to read the music. The people were friendly enough, but I still didn't feel right at home there. I'm not chastizing the church, their beliefs or the service, but just feel it isn't right for me. I felt God was present there as He is in all churches. And I know there are truly godly people there. I'm finding though that the Catholic Church just doesn't make such a big show of it. Like I said, it's more about reverance.

Some people complain that there's a lot of sitting, standing, kneeling etc. in the Catholic church, but there's just as much in the Baptist church. At Mass the congregation stands in reverance to the reading of the Gospel of Christ and when the Eucharist becomes the Body and Blood of Christ. In the Baptist service the congregation stood for the singing. I saw those that were raising their hands in praise and were really getting into the emotion of it. I can't say one is any better than the other. But I still feel that there's more truth in the Catholic Church. Though God truly exists in both, I feel that Baptist (and in general Protestant) doctrine is still flawed. It doesn't mean that Baptists are going to hell or that only Catholics can go to Heaven.

I know my friend Bret still has his concerns over my conversion. I tried address some of those in response to an email he sent. I'm sure he still disagrees, but that's o.k. I've also had a few people IM me commenting on my decision. One saying that the Catholic Church supported Hitler and how it's the whore of Babylon etc. But then I've had those that have told me congratulations for doing so and that was coming from people who weren't Catholic themselves. But it really doesn't matter what others think because it's still my decision and I'm doing it because I feel it's right.

I've been doing some studying on the Mass and today I think I've finally gotten the responses down and have learned the Nicene Creed. I'm understanding not only what to say, but why and what is going on. Sure, some Catholics do it by rote, but for me I'm trying to think about the importance of and meaning behind what we're saying. I can't wait to start RCIA classes in the fall.

I've told people that stuff like this would not have been coming out of my mouth a year ago. I've changed quite a bit. And it's a good change. I'm still working on it and still have a ways to go, but at least I'm making progress.

Thursday, May 26, 2005


Some exciting news! I got a letter from the diocese today stating that my marriage to Richard has been decreed invalid due to his prior bond. So that means I am free to marry in the Catholic Church should I ever find the right man... or at least a pretty darn good one.

In other news, my friend Bret has a blog. Please do go check it out if you get the chance. I think it may spark some interesting discussions (as it has already to some degree). But despite the fact that we may disagree on religious matters and what-not, Bret is still one of my very good friends. He knows me probably better than a lot of my friends and I know him pretty well. We've been friends since the mid-eighties (gosh, now I feel old). I think I'll write a blog about him at some point. (Don't worry.. it will be nice.)

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Singing in the Choir

I went to my second choir rehersal tonight. I joined the special choir that will be singing during the dedication cermonies for our new church. Tonight about half the people were missing because of the 4th of July weekend.

I really enjoy the singing, but I think I'm not very good at it. It's not so bad with a fuller group and I can hide a bit under the other voices. I need to work on learning the melodies on my own I guess. But I am slowly meeting some new people which has been nice. Everyone seems excited that I'm going to be doing RCIA in the fall. I was asked tonight who my sponsor would be. I have no idea. I really only know one person in the church and I'm not sure if she could be my sponsor because she helps with RCIA. So I don't know. I just hope I get someone I like and will be helpful to me.

Another reason I joined the choir though was the hope of perhaps working with a music ensemble at some point. I'd love to be able to play my clarinet more. And perhaps I'll get more confident in singing.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Went to Church today and found out that our priest that was planning to leave is not planning to leave and I think most people are happy about that. A few were disconcerted about it I believe but since I don't know him well I can't be judgmental (not that I should be) about the situation. But so far I like him and I guess I'm glad he's staying. After church I went to have a coke with the lady that has been guiding me through the church stuff and had a nice conversation with her.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I start RCIA tomorrow night. I'm really looking forward to it. I should write down some of the questions that have been swirling in my head from time to time, but I haven't thought about some of them for a while. I am really looking forward to learning more about the Catholic Church.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

And tonight is the first meeting for RCIA. I really want to go home and just go to bed, but I definitely do not want to miss the first meeting. So I guess I will hang on until then. But as soon as it's over, I'm going to be taking any drugs I can find and go to bed. Luckily I get to sleep in tomorrow as the training I have to go to doesn't start until 9:00.
So this will be my post for today... probably won't see me again until sometime tomorrow.

O.k. so I said you wouldn't hear from me for a while. I'm actually feeling a little better. It's very strange. I said a prayer to feel better for RCIA and you know what? I did. I still have stuff swarming around in my head and some sneezing, but was not completely miserable.

RCIA was good tonight. I was happy to see that there are about eight others that are going to go through the process. (Or at least start it) I didn't get any information that I didn't already know, but I still feel good about my choice. I am really looking forward to getting into it more. My concern right now is finding a sponsor. I have to find someone willing to go to classes with me and basically be my guide during the process. Problem is that I don't know many people within the church still. I've made a few acquaintances, but nobody I'd feel comfortable asking really.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

New Blog

I know I shouldn't. I know I should not create another blog when I have the second blog that I haven't updated in a while. But that blog is for the things that I feel I cannot post in this one. I'm discovering, however, that is not many things.

My new blog, however, is to chronicle my journey into the Catholic Church. If you're interested in following it, then please read. If not, then don't. This new blog is really for myself and to track my progress as I am taking these steps.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

April 2004 Revisited

Wow! Two blog posts in one day. I'm posting my previous entries from April. You can really tell how much more I grew into Catholicism. I know much of it stemmed from dealing with the break up of Marty. (If you haven't read my other blog regularly or know about the situation, you'd have to go back several months reading to understand.) But it was mostly by God's grace and I could see that better I think because of losing Marty... if that makes any sense at all.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

A Daunting Task

As if I don't have enough things to pile on my plate. I got the packet from the Amarillo diocese to have my marriage declared null by the Catholic Church. In addition to the 18 pages of questions that need to be filled out, I have to supply my marriage certificate, divorce decree, baptism certificate, and it will cost $450.
It's a lot of stuff to drum up from my past. But I think it will be worth it. It will allow me to start with a clean slate. And then if/when I do become Catholic, I will be free to marry in the Church. That may or may not be Marty. I do hope it is, but I'm not doing this for him. I'm doing it for myself.
So I have to find witnesses to help validate the fact that my marriage should not be considered valid. I asked my friend Robin via email if she would consider being a witness for me. Even though we haven't talked in the last few years, she was there as my matron of honor and she got me through some tough times during the marriage.
I also need to tell Richard about doing this. I'm not sure I can handle telling him over the phone. I seem to bumble words when I don't get the chance to think about what I'm saying beforehand. (Like I did with Marty on the phone last night) So I think I'll write him a letter.

Monday, April 11, 2005

I'm going to be o.k.

Just a note for my dear friends and fellow bloggers that have been worried about me. I'm doing fine. I finally got a good night's sleep last night. (With the help of two tylenol p.m.'s) I'm moving on to acceptance.
I've had friends tell me to NOT drive down to Austin. It will only cause me more pain and he's not worth it.
It will be painful. But it's something I have to do for me. Not for him. I have to let him go. And I have to do it in person. If I don't, it will always feel like unfinished business and that will be more painful in the long run.
Granted my original plan in going down there was to fight for him. To find out the why's. To say or do what I needed to keep him. But I realize he is not mine to keep. I'm not in his heart. And as much as I would like to be there, I can't make him let me in.
I'm putting myself in God's hands and He has taken care of me. To hear that come out of my mouth is quite a shock for me even. But it's true. I'm growing up and I'm growing by the grace of God.
The tears still come every once in a while. But they need to.
And there will be no anger. Because even though perhaps he should have treated me better, or been more honest and all of that, he had a great impact on my life. And I have no regret in having him be a part of it.

I made a gift for his mother that I'm taking with me. I had planned on this even before I knew we weren't going to be together. I wanted to thank her for all her hospitality and treating me like part of their family. It's a shadow box that has a background of flowers, a cross with beads, ribbon and a sentiment that I printed on vellum paper. It reads:

Some people come into our lives and quickly go.
Some people move our souls to dance.
The awaken us to new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom.
Some people make the sky more beatiful to gaze upon.
The stay in our lives for a while,
leave footprints on our hearts,
and we are never the same.

That is how I feel about them and especially Marty.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


I think I only cried twice yesterday. Oh wait... only twice over Marty maybe. But I did cry quite a bit, but it's because I finally watched The Passion of the Christ. And that's all I'll say. It did move me and have an effect, but it's not something I can put into words at the moment.
But I didn't cry at all today. Even when I made a parting gift for Marty. I'm doing better than I thought I'd ever imagine. And I don't think it's because I didn't really love him. I know I did. But I think there's a bigger hand in all of this. And for that I am truly thankful.

And I also found out good news on the annulment proceedings. After I spent the time filling out the numerous pages of paperwork and grilling questions, I found out I don't really have to do all that. Because Richard was married before, all I have to do is find his records of his first two marriages and divorces and prove that at least one of his ex-wives is alive and I'll have my marriage annulled without all the rigamarole. Basically this is because the Church sees that he was still married to his first wife and therefore, not eligible to be married to me. Whew!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Somewhat productive

Oh, the other news today is that I heard back from my friend from high school who is a Baptist minister. O.k. a little background first... This guy I was in love with for many years. O.k. perhaps it was just a very major crush, but I was smitten for a long while. We never officially dated, but became very good friends. I got into church for a while back in college but never felt truly comfortable there and always seemed to question things. So, needless to say, I didn't go for a long while. But I know he's continued to pray for me throughout the years. Well, I asked him about a week and a half ago about my Baptism (he Baptized me back in college) and he responded mentioning that it seems that I was perhaps thinking about things again. I replied and told him of my plans to convert to Catholicism. And what I got as a response what expected. He indicated his concern for me considering this move and wanted me to really think it through. And he tried to keep it nice, but I knew that would concern him. And given his background, it's understandable, but I simply have to respectfully disagree with him. I did explain that I've given this a lot of thought and have done research. I'm still working on my reply to him, but it will be interesting to see how this develops. It's amazing that my statement indicating something like this has gotten more out of him than in the last 7 years or so that he's been in California. I guess things were a lot easier when I was just a wretched sinner.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

My first rosary. I made it myself. Haven't prayed it yet, but I was pleased with how it turned out. The picture doesn't do it justice. The blue beads are much darker and prettier. Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 24, 2005

A Great Homily

I went to Mass today. It was good to be back after missing last week. I'm starting to get the hang of things and can almost participate in all of it. There's a few things I still need to memorize, like the Nicene Creed, but I'm not doing too bad so far.
I really enoyed the homily today. Father said that he had just read the book 7 Habits for Highly Effective people and said that many of those are similar to being an effective Christian. Father gave us his list of 7 Habits for Highly Effective Christians. I wanted to share them with you.

1. Prayer - One cannot have a relationship with God without this. It should be done daily.
2. Faith - A gift from the Holy Spirit.
3. Forgiveness - One must be able to forgive to be able to love. This even when the one you are forgiving doesn't change or show remorse.
4. Conversion - We must change in ourselves to serve Christ. We must be open to change in ourselves.
5. Charity - We must show charity to one another.
6. Patience - Our timing and God's may be two different things and we need to have patience in all matters of life.
7. Simplicity - Keep your life simple and not cloud it with so many things that God is placed on the backburner.

I thought it was a very good list and I took it to heart today. I'm still a work in progress, but I'm going to be working on this list.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Feeling More Catholic

I went to the library today and got a couple more books on Catholicism. I just finished reading Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic by David B. Currie. That book really helped me to understand the basic differences between Evangelical beliefs and Catholic beliefs. I'm still finding that the Catholic Church simply makes more sense to me and is more logical than anything else. I'm not dissing those that belong to a protestant denomination. I just happen to think that some of the protestant beliefs are flawed. Much in the same way many Protestants believe that Catholic doctrine is flawed.

I don't plan to debate any issues here, I'm just stating that my turn to Catholicism is not because of a simple whim. I'm truly learning what the faith is and am growing because of it.
I had lunch with my son today and we discussed some religious beliefs and because of what I've read, I feel that I was able to answer his questions. I am by no means an expert and I have a lot to learn, but I think I'm on the right track perhaps for the first time in my life.

So what does all this mean? I'm changing. For the better, certainly. But it's still kind of scary. I wonder if I can do it sometimes and then I start thinking that the only way that I can is with the help of God. For someone that hasn't been a trusting person for many, many years, it's difficult to do. And as challenges come, I hope that God gives me the strength to endure. But I've found that since I've been going to Mass weekly, praying daily, and engrossing myself in learning, I feel more at peace.

I've always been a believer in that God has been looking out for me. Maybe it's also my guardian angel, but too many things have happened in my life for me to think otherwise. I think everything happens for a reason, and the people that come into our lives are there for some purpose as well.

If I hadn't gotten pregnant with Josh in college, I might never have finished. It was because of Josh that I received grants and scholarships and college was paid for. When I needed a place to live on a very small budget, I found a house for rent for $75 a month. When I needed a refrigerator that was under 5 ft., we happened upon one in a driveway that wasn't for sale, but the guy decided to sell it anyways. When I've needed money because things have come up, I'd suddenly get a child support check or a tax refund. When I lost my house to foreclosure after separating, I was able to move into my parent’s house after my mother passed away. And because I met Marty, I am taking this religious journey. There's no doubt about it. I'm sure that it's all in God's plan. That's why I don't regret having him in my life. I'm sad to lose him, but I accept that it wasn't meant to be. But I'm thankful for the purpose it served. I still love him and always will in some way.

I'm still open to loving again. I wasn't sure for a while. But I think when it's right I'll be able to give my heart away again. I'm figuring out what I want. Now, what I want may not be what I get, but I know the things I'm not going to settle on. Marty was close, but by no means perfect. I know that perfection doesn't exist and one has to compromise. The thing is one shouldn't really settle on important issues.

I hope I find it again. Because loving someone is one of the greatest things you can do.

RCIA week 10

This week we studied the hierarchy of the Church. I did learn some new things such as the difference between a nun and a sister. (A nun is a sister, but not all sisters are nuns.) At the end of class we were allowed to write a question on a piece of paper and submit it to be answered. I asked if our priest would ever be joining our class at some point. I was told "Don't count on it." I am disappointed by that. For one thing, I think having the priest come and perhaps teach a lesson would be very interesting for us. But also, considering the fact that the people in the RCIA class are new members of the parish, I think it would be nice for us to get to know him better as our priest and for him to meet us. I've met him to some degree by the fact that I'm taking his adult formation class, but I thought certainly the priest would want to get to know those that are coming into the faith. He could be a source of encouragement and knowledge for us. After all, this is the man we'll be confessing to. It would be nice to get to know him as a person. But this is just my two cents. He does seem like a very nice, and personable guy, and he has a great sense of humor as I've discovered in the Sunday classes. But I know he's been busy with dealing with a new church building, the blessing this weekend and he had some personal issues to deal with this summer. Perhaps he might have more time once all the big stuff is over.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

More Reflections (Feb-Mar 2004)

Some these are only excerpts from longer blogs. I only included comments that related to my Catholic journey... although I guess it's all related to some degree... but I left out the other fluff.

Wednesday, February 9

Though I am not yet a practicing Catholic, I'm wondering if I should participate in Lent. I'm still considering conversion, but haven't taken much action on it other than reading at this point. But giving up something for Lent would probably be a good thing.I could cheat and say I am giving up sex, but since that's not a possibility anyways, it wouldn't count. I think I may just continue on my "plan" and keep giving up fast food and alcohol. (Though I did cheat some today - but I am sick so that's my excuse.) Question for my readers:If you are Catholic, what are you doing for Lent?If you're not, but were, what would you give up for Lent?It's something I'll think about and maybe decide this evening. Right now I'm going back to bed. I'm getting sick, it's in my throat and I'm getting achy. Not good signs.

Wednesday, February 23
I did it

Well, I did it. I sent an email to the local Catholic church asking about their RCIA classes. I'm still not 100% certain of it all, but felt compelled to do it. After all it's just a question. Doesn't mean I have to do anything yet. I've just been putting off the question for a while now. But I've continued to be drawn to it all. I'm even participating in Lent to some degree. Marty surprised me the other day saying he was going to go to Mass on Sunday. He didn't make it, but the fact that he said he was going to go really put a little pep in my heart. He's been lapsed for quite a long time now and wasn't even confirmed. I know he's been thinking about going back to the Church too. Perhaps that is the reason we've been drawn together. Sometimes I call it fate or destiny, but I think that perhaps it's the Man upstairs doing His part.I've been away from church in general for about 14 years now. I've been soured by a lot things like hypocrisy, questioning they why's, and the fact it's a heck of a lot easier to live in sin than it is to be perfect. I'm finally realizing though that I don't have to be perfect because we're simply human. But I also understand that I should live better than what I have. I still have an attachment to sin which makes things more difficult for me, but I still think it's something I should look back into.Since I started this journey, I have found that there isn't anything in the Catholic teaching that I can't agree with. There are some things I know I'll have a hard time dealing with, but overall it just seems right. One of my biggest questions regarding religion has been "Who's right?" Among all the denominations who truly has the right answers. For me it's a matter of going back to the beginning. The Catholic Church is the original church of Christ. All the other Christian denominations are from people that broke from the Church thinking they knew better. So for me it's not a matter of which Church any more. It's a matter of whether I can embrace Church life or not. It's also a matter of whether I can get an anullment on my marriage.So I've taken another step. The first was having the simple curiosity about the church followed by my research. We'll see where it all leads.

Friday, March 18
Jumped off the wagon

Even though I'm not Catholic (yet), I've been trying to follow the practice of lent in giving up things. I decided to continue my abstaining from fast food and alcohol as well as observing abstinence from meat on Fridays. I've actually done pretty well. Today was not to be an exception as we were planning on going to Red Lobster for dinner and I was going to have fish and shrimp. But this afternoon, without thinking I had leftover sausage pizza for lunch. It didn't even dawn on me until I was getting ready to go out to dinner. It may not be a really big deal and even Catholics have been known to cheat or not go through their giving up something during Lent, but I really wanted to make a concerted effort. Then tonight after dinner we came back to my aunt's mother-in-law's house to visit and I had some wine. I could have easily declined, but I didn't. Again, not a big deal, but I do feel a little bad about it.

Sunday, March 20
Palm Sunday

I went to Mass today. I felt a little awkward as I tend to do in new situations, but it wasn't bad. Since I've attended Episcopal services with my aunt many times, I understood what was going on. I even chimed in on some of the responses. I sat with the lady I contacted regarding RCIA classes. After church we went to McDonald's and had some orange juice. We had a nice conversation and it turns out that I went to school with her daughter and we graduated in the same year. Small world isn't it?So I've jumped in. I still don't know if it's the right thing, but I feel I need to explore it more. And that's what I'm doing.

Saturday, March 26
I have no life

I've been going to church. I went Thursday and Friday evening and will attend the Easter Vigil tonight. It still feels a little weird, but not as bad as being in protestant church. No offense to anyone out there, but they just seem to grate on my nerves lately. I'm finding that in the Catholic services the spirituality is more genuine and it feels more like a worship service. For example, last night was the veneration of the cross. The congregation passes a large cross over them all around the people and then they go up to the front, bow and kiss the cross. It was really very moving. I still feel a little awkward there, but it's really not bad. I'm just not sure of some of the things I should be doing & saying.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Time of Reflection

Since I haven't had much to say lately, I thought I would post some entries from my other blog about when I first started considering a step back into religion in general. I started my Catholic blog right before RCIA this year in September, but I began having thoughts about things religious a year before. So here are some previous entries. It's kind of interesting to see how far I've come since then.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

The Reunion and Religion

Well, I made it through the big family reunion with Marty. He has a HUGE family. And I only saw a portion of them. But I did very well on remembering names. I didn't feel uncomfortable at it either. There were a few moments that he left me alone longer than he should have, but it wasn't too bad. At least I already knew his parents and siblings. (You have to understand that I'm still a little shy in big social situations) He seemed to think it was a pretty big deal that I went with him. It seems that his ex was intimitated by such a large family and would never go. He told me that he loved me even more for going to it. I didn't think it was a great sacrifice on my part. I was actually flattered that he had invited me to go before we had even gotten very serious. I would have been even hurt had I not been invited to go. His family was very nice and he tells me that they all like me. He kept acting like they were a bunch of weirdos and that I should be worried about getting involved with a family like his... but I had news for him... my family is very much more on the strange side than his. His were quite normal. The only thing about them is that they're all pretty much devoted Catholics... which isn't strange, just something that was interesting to witness. Since then we've talked about Marty's religious background. He's kind of in the same boat as me right now having a distaste for religion in general. But it's something that I think he's interested in looking into again. We went to Barnes and Noble last night. He bought himself a Catholic Bible. I got a book on understanding Catholicism. If nothing, it will be interesting to learn about it. I think that anything has got to be better than the Baptist upbringing I was involved in. (no offense to the Baptists out there) I just felt that too many of them were being judgmental of me and I saw a lot of hypocrisy.. which I know exists in probably every church. It just ended putting a sour taste in my mouth about it and for the past 13 years or so I haven't actively been involved in a church. Not that I think I should have been. I guess I'm still at a confused place where I believe in God and His mercy and grace, but I can't allow myself to live a hypocritical life. Perhaps I'm at a point now where I can look at another spiritual journey.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Spiritual Reckoning

I've been thinking about religion quite a bit lately. This is something that hasn't really been on my mind actively for about 14 years. It started again with Marty. You can see my post about his reunion and religion. Well, since then I've read two Catholic books and ordered some other books on Christianity.
Though my faith might have waned to some degree, I have always believed in God and feel that despite my pagan state, He's taken care of me. I figured if He wanted to get in touch with me again and speak to my heart, He would when it was the right time. Perhaps it's now.
But let's get some background. My first religious experience that I remember was around 2nd grade. I was not raised in the church. I vaguely remember going with my aunt when I was little, but never my parents. I used to go to vacation Bible school in Canyon. But in 2nd grade I was invited to go to San Jacinto Baptist church with the promise of skating parties, ice cream socials etc. Of course I wanted to go! And I got the fire and brimstone speech that scared me into salvation. I was told all about hell and what a horrible place it was and how I was going to go there unless I was saved. And all I had to do was to say a prayer and ask Jesus in my heart and I would be saved. Simple as that. Nothing to it. So one Sunday I went up to the front of the church with all the other people that wanted to be saved and knelt on the steps and waited for someone to come talk to me. And nobody came to talk to me. I was scared and felt like everyone was staring at me. Finally after what seemed like forever, a grown-up came to talk to me and took me out to another room. He asked me the typical questions like did I believe that Jesus was the Son of God. Did I want to be saved etc... and I said the prayer and got Baptized the same day. I went to Sunday school and learned the books of the Bible and stories about Jesus. It was grand. And best of all were the skating and ice cream parties. What fun! I went to church there for about 3 years I think. After that, we moved to the middle of nowhere and I didn't go to church for a while. I remember that after I was Baptized, my aunt, who was Episcopalian, said that I could participate in the Lord's supper at her church from then on. So I got a taste of the Episcopal church for several years off and on when I would visit her. I went again when I was a freshman in high school. I went with some friends to Paramount Baptist church. Again, I got the fire and brimstone speech that scared me and I thought that before I might not have been really saved before and so I did it again. But that was a one time thing really. I only went to church a couple of times after that. Then I started going to church with Bret. (the one that I was in love with from about 9th-11th grade) His dad was a preacher at (you guessed it) a Baptist church in Amarillo. They would pick me up from my house in the middle of nowhere and take me to church every Sunday. I didn't go through a salvation process at this time. I remember that I barely listened to the sermons and faked the singing. God wasn't really speaking to me. And then finally I was in college. And I still hung around Bret, who by that time was a preacher in his own church. (Once again Baptist) And during my sophomore year, he and another guy from band (who was "born again" the year before) had a party. It wasn't your typical college party. This one involved a sermon more or less. And once again I was "saved". This time was weird though. During the time when everyone's heads are bowed and they're telling you about your need to accept Christ I started shaking. I couldn't stop. I wasn't cold and yet I could not stop shaking. I took it as a sign and I felt that this time I would really be "saved." So I talked about it and once again said the prayer etc... blah, blah, blah. I was Baptized for the second time. But this time I did get involved with the church. I started going to Bible studies. I went to church religiously (pun intended). And I earnestly tried to learn about living a Christian life. That's when it started to get difficult. The more I understood about living a Christian life, the harder it became. And then I was very, very bad. I got pregnant. And boy did I feel judged. And I know I was. But I still went to church for a while. Then all of a sudden, Kevin (the convert that was part of the party that "helped" me) got up one Sunday and told the church that he discovered recently that he had not really been saved. And that he just recently totally committed himself to Christ. So I began to question my salvation once again and thought, how does one ever really know? And I started seeing a lot of hypocrisy in the people of the church. And I felt judged. And I guess I preferred being the sinner that I was rather than trying to live a life that I didn't feel I could live. So I stopped going.
So since then I've continued to pray from time to time. I've continued to believe in God. I started to think that I didn't need religion to be spiritual. I wondered why we had so many different kinds of religions and how would you know which one was right. And if they were all right in their own way. I also felt that if I were going to get involved with a church again that God would speak to me and I'd be guided by the Holy Spirit.
So now I've got an interest in it. And I'm trying to understand the different parts of Christianity. What it's all about really. And what the difference between the protestant denominations are. And what Catholicism is. And so far it's been interesting. And a little frightening.
I'm starting to think that maybe I am going to be called to get involved in church again. And perhaps even become Catholic. And what scares me is once again living that Christian life that I found so difficult before. I worry that in doing so, I'll lose part of my identity. That I have to give up part of me to be a part of Christ. That I have to really change. Not that change is bad, but I kind of like who I am at this point. And knowing me the way I do, if I do decide to jump into it all again, I'll go at it full force. With all my heart. And maybe that would allow me to be able to deal with it better. But at this point I'm still just seeking knowledge.
So those things have been on my mind lately. I was thinking about it in the car today on my way home from my dance workout class. And all of a sudden I saw a rainbow. A perfect rainbow. Every single color distinguished and vibrant. In a perfect arch. A spectacular, beautiful sight.
Do I take that as a sign?

Friday, November 11, 2005

RCIA week 9

This week's RCIA was probably the most interesting class yet. We toured the church and learned about all the different parts of it. I learned a lot of things in this class. I love how every part of the church is special in some way. The fact we have a new church building that is so very beautiful makes it even more wonderful. In fact this coming weekend we will be having a special mass where the church is blessed. Although this class was very informative, I find myself at a loss for words to write about it. So stay tuned. I'll try to be more prolific later this week.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Singing in the Choir

I've been singing in the choir at Church. We've been without a director for a while so we recently started rehearsals for a special dedication Mass that is being held a week from Saturday. We had a choir director for a brief period, but tonight we had two other professional people that led us in preparation for the ceremony. There's a LOT of music to sing.
Although I've said for some time that I really can't sing and can barely carry a tune, I still enjoy it. I was a music major for two years, but I was an instrumental major. And I hated sight singing. But I still have a passion for music. I started singing this summer for another special ceremony. It was great to get to meet new people (to me) in the church and to just sing.
My problem with singing is that a lot of times I focus too much on the music itself - singing on pitch, the melodies etc. that I forget to focus on the words themselves. And the words are so powerful! Hopefully I'll get to a point where I know the words by heart. I'm learning several songs that way as we sing them often in Mass, but still not there yet. But as I can focus more on the words themselves, I find that I am drawn closer to God and His blessings.
Choir is another evening gone out of my week, but I really love being able to praise God in that way. And perhaps with a little bit of practice I'll improve.
Tomorrow I will try to update with this week's RCIA. I apologize for not having posted yet, but it's been a busy time lately.

Monday, November 07, 2005

My how things have changed

I am amazed at how much has changed for me since I started going to Mass regularly. A little over a year ago I bought my first book on Catholicism. In October, a year ago I visited Marty in Connecticut and began realizing that things weren't as rosy as I'd thought in our relationship. Almost exactly a year ago I realized even more that things were not going as well as I thought when Marty didn't do anything for my birthday. He did remember, but no card, no flowers. He made up for it later, but it was disconcerting at the time. As he started to pull away from me and as I tried to fight even harder for him, I realize now that he had served his purpose in my life by igniting that spark in me. And he doesn't even realize that he did that or the impact it has had on my life. I now realize that God used him in such a way that I almost didn't even see it coming. When I contacted the local church in February, I still had not committed to becoming Catholic at all. Even after I started going to mass, I still wasn't certain, but felt drawn to it. As my sponsor would introduce me to people at church and tell them that I was going to go through RCIA, I still didn't know. But it seems that shortly after Marty and I broke up and I got through the hurt, I realized that the uncertainty faded. Don't think my decision to become Catholic is because of a rebound situation from Marty. It is absolutely not. It just made things more clear and I saw the role he played. And the more I attended mass, the more certain I became. I finally felt at home. I knew it was right. And there's nothing I want to do more right now and that includes riding rollercoasters. (Though it's a close second.... lol.)
So I came from a year ago questioning whether or not I could let God in my life, if I could be burdened by having to go to church, and if I could make such a commitment again after failing at it so many years before. But you know, I always had the thought that when God was ready for me, and when He knew that I was ready, He would let me know. And He did. It wasn't a single ah-ha moment, but He seemed to take me gently by the hand and lead me home. And I am so blessed that He is in my life. Not that he wasn't ever there, mind you, but I'm at least taking part in the relationship now. And that burden of having to go to Church? It is truly a blessing now. I can see why not going to Mass is a mortal sin. Because the more I go, the closer I feel to God and the more blessed and peaceful I feel. I honestly can't wait to receive the Eucharist because that will be a whole new level of blessing I can't even fathom right now. I have begun to realize that sometimes our timing might not be God's timing and our plans may not be his. But He does have a plan and He steps in when needed. And I thank Him for that.

Sunday, November 06, 2005


Just something I've wondered about. I find that when I say "Amen" during the mass I pronounce it "ah-men" rather than "ay-men". Both are acceptable pronunciations, and I thought it might be a regional thing, but actually I hear more people saying "ay-men" during mass. So, blog readers... how do you pronounce it? Leave a comment. Thanks!!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

RCIA week 8

It's been two months since beginning RCIA. Time moves so fast. I was pleased to see several people there that have missed in the past few weeks. I took my rosaries with me to class tonight and had the deacon bless them. It was very fitting since we discussed Mary tonight.

On Mary...

I am learning what a great Saint she is. I know that many protestants and several people that eventually convert to the Catholic faith have problems with Mary. I have never had problems with the doctrines of the Church in regard to her, but I guess my issue is more of a relationship issue. Perhaps it stems from my own relationship with my mother.

Now to get a little personal....

I'm not saying I had a bad relationship with my mother. We were simply not close. I loved my mother, but I can't remember telling her that. I don't remember her saying those words to me either. It was just understood by the fact that she took care of us. My mother was an admirable person. She went through a lot of things. My parents almost divorced at one point, but she stuck things out. She worked a full time job leaving at 5:30 in the mornings and didn't get home until 5:00 p.m. and still cooked supper every night. She always did extra things especially when it involved baking for my classes as a child. I always had a special birthday cake made and decorated by her. She would make costumes for my sister. In her last year I saw great faith in her spirit and she was remarkable in the face of death. And as I think about all of that, especially in light of it being almost two years since her passing, I am beginning to understand what an amazing role Mary played.

I can't fathom the kinds of things that Mary had to deal with like she did with such amazing grace. My son is the most important thing to me. I would do anything for him. For years I would wake up in the middle of the night and go check on him just to make sure he was still o.k. I admit that even now I check on him from time to time. It's just a mother's instinct. But can you imagine knowing that you must witness your child's death. Not only death, but a horrible, agonizing death. Even the fact that she accepted God's will when she said yes to God's will during the visit from Gabriel. She risked getting stoned to death by accepting the task of carrying a child as a virgin. Can you imagine that kind of faith?

Some people may think that because she was immaculately conceived (remember this refers to her conception, not that of Christ) and was born without the stain of original sin, then she had it easy. Quite the contrary because she could identify with humans and their sufferings more than we who are born with sin can ever do. Her perfection ultimately opens up her to more suffering. Yet, she does everything because of her faith in God. It's the kind of faith that we should strive to have.

Her selfless act of accepting the will of God by carrying God himself in human form is so very deserving of our adoration. Who better to ask for carrying our prayers to God than she who is the Mother of God. I know some may have problems with this concept, but she is the mother of Christ who is equally human and divine. He is not more of one or the other. Because of that, Mary is truly the Mother of God in his human form. She is not the mother of God our Creator, but Christ who is the second person of the Trinity.

There are many misconceptions about Mary that I would like to clear up, but time prevents me from it in this post. I will cover in another post the concepts of the Immaculate Conception, Mary as ever-virgin, and the apparitions attributed to Mary.

But for now, I'm am learning what a wonderful woman she was and am thankful that she is there in Heaven to intercede for us. She is a wonderful guide as our moral compass. She leads us to Christ through her example as a Christian, a mother, and in so many other roles.

Friday, October 28, 2005

A Response to my Baptist Friend

My friend Bret that is a Baptist minister posted in his blog a while back his opinion of the priest scandal and some thoughts he has on the teachings of the Church. I have wanted to respond for a while and finally found the time tonight. I am not claiming to be any kind of expert in all the teachings of the Church, but through my own studies, searching and opinions I have responded to his post. The first part of his post follows and his words are in red. My response is italicized.

The ongoing saga of sexual abuse by Catholic priests plummets deeper today as documents are released showing years of abuse and denial by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the nations largest Roman Catholic diocese. Tell men they cannot marry (or allow homosexuals in as priests), teach a system of salvation that says grace must be achieved before it is given and grace must be regularly earned to be maintained and surround yourself with an ecclesiology that hides behind ecclesiastically infallibility, and you have the perfect mixture to bake up the kind of scandal that currently exists in Catholicism. It is a system that is sure to make one feel spiritual but fails to actually change the heart - thus the evidence of which we now read.

There are a lot of arguments in this one paragraph to cover so I’ll take it one thing at a time. 1. Tell men they cannot marry – There is a reason for this in the Church and those that are priests make this decision knowing what the Church requires. They do this in order to devote themselves more fully to God and their parishes. A married man tends to have a divided heart and one that takes the vow of celibacy can truly devote himself to a life of ministry. It’s not to say that priests are perfect… all men are sinners. The scandal in the Church was highlighted because of poor judgments of those men and those in authority above them. There are certainly men of all kinds of religions, sexual orientations, married, and unmarried that have done heinous things to children as well. It cannot be blamed on the teachings of the Church, but the fact that some people seem to have little control over their sinful lives and have made bad choices. It is true that we are sexual beings, but in the Bible we are called to chastity. Marriage was designed for those that are unable to be chaste. Virginity is highly esteemed. In 1 Cor. 7:8-9 It states “now to the unmarried and to widows, I say: It is a good thing for them to remain as they are, as I do, but if they cannot exercise self-control they should marry, for it is better to marry than to be on fire.” Once again, it is a choice. If a priest cannot take this vow, he should know that he has not been called to the priesthood.

2. Or allow homosexuals in as priests – I believe and many Catholics do as well that homosexuality is a disorder that some are born with. I think for some others it is a choice. You cannot conclusively dump the fact that a priest might be gay and thus unable to control his sexual urges. I feel that although a gay person might be more inclined to seek a partner of the same sex and unfortunately make a horrible decision to seduce a child, their orientation isn’t necessarily why they do that. It is because they are human and once again are sinners that do not seek enough of God’s guidance to help them through their temptations. Coming from a very sexual background, it’s a difficult thing to overcome, but not impossible. Look at my son’s father. He was absolutely not gay, but made very bad choices.

3. Teach a system of salvation that says grace must be achieved before it is given – This is not what the Church teaches. We believe as protestants do that Grace is a gift from God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states “Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life.” This grace is sanctifying grace that is received in Baptism. The Catechism continues stating “Sanctifying grace is a habitual gift, a stable and supernatural disposition that perfects the soul itself to enable it to live with God, to act by his love.” Although grace is freely given to us, we believe that our salvation is a process that continues throughout our life rather than a single defining moment of faith. We are indeed justified by faith, but not faith alone. Works are manifestations of our faith. The Bible even states that works are a part of our salvation. James 2:14-17 states “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” So grace is a gift from God, we must accept that gift and have faith, but continually build on that faith and demonstrate it through our works. All of this plays a role in our final justification when we come before Christ. Our salvation depends on the state of our soul at death. Although 1 John 5:13 states “I write these things to you so that you may know that you have eternal life, you who believe in the name of the Son of God.” Although protestants take this that one can definitely know they are assured of a place in heaven, they must realize that this statement comes after four other chapters outlining what it takes to have that reasonable assurance. One still must live righteous lives and be in favor with God. Certainly if we have followed his commandments, accepted his grace, had faith and shown it through our works, then yes, we might be certain of attaining heaven.

4. surround yourself with an ecclesiology that hides behind ecclesiastically infallibility – I am not sure what you mean by the fact that the Church hides behind their teachings of infallibility. Just to be certain, you must understand that the concept of infallibility does not mean free from sin. It does not mean that the body of the Church, the Bishops or even the Pope is sinless. I don’t see how the Church hides behind their teachings of infallibility in any way. They make it clear to all their believers as well as those who do not agree with her teachings. Infallibility is simply the fact that the doctrine the Church teaches is true. It does not mean that the Church dictates every interpretation of the Bible to it’s members, but when it does clarify something, it is bound by Christ’s statement that “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.” Although there has been a scarred past of Popes that were not even close to perfection and did some very bad things, none of their statements in regard to an official Church teaching has been against what is true within the Bible and tradition.

5. you have the perfect mixture to bake up the kind of scandal that currently exists in Catholicism – you sound as if that this scandal is all that the Church is about. It isn’t pretty, nor is it acceptable, but the Church is more than this incident. You cannot make a blanket statement that it is the teachings of the Church that caused all of this. If so, then you may have to explain the many abuses of those of the Baptist persuasion. ( They may not be grouped together as they have been in the Catholic Church, but they are just as heinous.

6. It is a system that is sure to make one feel spiritual but fails to actually change the heart - I beg to differ from personal experience. I can say that I have never had a desire to love Christ and grow in his word as I have since I began my journey into the Catholic faith. A change in heart comes from God’s grace and the free will of a person. The teachings of a church can guide a person on that journey, but you seem to be assuming that Catholics may be spiritual but are lacking in true faith. I feel that Catholics have a better idea of faith than many protestants as they are constantly working out their salvation through their faith.

Not that similar situations do not happen in protestant churches, especially the kind that care little for spiritual fruit as the indicator of conversion (not as the means to achieve).
Protestants have their own moral black eyes due to their own theological aberrations such as the weekly push for quick profession-of-faith prayers, thus populating congregations with unconverted people, the exaltation of pastors as celebrity personalities, the redefinition of corporate church life in terms of popular opinion, pragmatism and moralism, rather than a careful and humble submission the sole authority of Scripture.

O.k. I indicated above that you are right. Protestants have their own scandalous stories and issues. (Though I won’t necessarily point out in this particular post the problems I have with general protestant beliefs) I do believe that as a regular church-goer at Fellowship Baptist, there seemed to be a great push for those quick profession of faith prayers and attempts to grow the congregation. Those visitations to local houses in order to “win people to Christ” were most uncomfortable. I find that the Catholics I’ve gotten to know don’t push their faith on anyone and are more accepting of other denominations than many Protestants. They demonstrate their faith by the way they live. No, not all are perfect and there are some Catholics living in sin, but if I look at the group as a whole I see more true believers than I did as a Baptist. It is a relief to not be asked if I am saved.

A careful and humble submission to the sole authority of Scripture – Catholics seem to be far more careful with the idea of a careful and humble submission to Scripture. Again, they don’t dictate every interpretation of the Bible to the body of the Church, but they do clarify important doctrines. But no, the Church does not abide with the concept of Sola Scriptura for many reasons. The first of which, if the Bible is all that is necessary for living out a Christian life, then where in the Bible does it say that? There isn’t any place. It does state that the Bible is good and useful, but not the only source necessary. Second, tradition is called for within the Bible itself. 2 Thess 2:16 states “Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours.” People at the time of the teachings of Christ had no Bible. The Bible wasn’t completed until years after Christ’s final ascension into Heaven. What then were the Christians to use? Then you have to consider the fact that the Bible wasn’t readily available to all of those teaching the message of Christ. Some of those teachers had been followers of Christ directly, but many others were followers of the apostles. Therefore, the Christian doctrine was passed on through oral teachings and it’s traditions. There are numerous other reasons for the rejection of the concept of sola scriptura and I am not adequate to explain them all, but feel free to check them out at

Catholics and many aberrant protestant groups have much in common in their theology that creates a climate for such cases as described in the NY Times. May God be gracious to us to provide a genuine reformation in the hearts of people to adhere to the sole authority of Scripture that produces a singular passion for the glory of Christ, rather than creating our religion from the passions of depraved human hearts.

Once again, I don’t feel that the Catholic teachings in any way create a climate for the scandals that have occurred. On the contrary, the teachings of the Church are very much against such actions. But because there are some priests that failed as sinful humans, they have given the Church a bad name. But you cannot place blame on a few and assume that they made choices because of the Church’s teachings and it’s expectations of a priest. It’s not like a priest doesn’t go through a rigorous examination of conscious when deciding to pursue a life as a church leader as well as study for many years before becoming a servant of Christ. Adhering to the sole authority of Scripture does not mean a person will not sin. Once again, it is a matter of free will. I have far more of a passion for Christ in this Church that teaches that adherence to Scripture is a part of living a Christian life, but also that tradition plays a role as well. Just because the Catholic Church accepts both does not mean that their followers have depraved hearts. I see a total devotion to Christ in a Catholic mass. Since Catholics believe that Christ is actually present in the Eucharist, we honor and venerate His presence by kneeling during the process of transubstantiation. We also demonstrate this when we stand during the reading of the Gospel and by genuflecting when we enter the church.

I know my friend that we will continue to agree to disagree on various matters. I have wanted to respond with my own thoughts to your post for a while, but you know how time seems to get away from us. I feel that despite the fact that you are in a church that has doctrines that I disagree with, you are still a righteous and spiritual man with a true love for Christ. I admire you for that. I hope you don’t take offense at anything I’ve said. You are my friend and I love you as my friend.