Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Page Updates

Now that I have had some time this summer, I am working on some page updates and my personal website. I have added a few new links on my sidebar of blogs that I enjoy reading. I also found a new group called "Catholic Converts" that I joined. If you're a convert, or considering converting, you might want to check it out.

I am also going to try to post a little more often here, but I can't make any promises. I have a lot of plans for this summer, but I'm moving pretty slowly on some of them. I do hope that I can now go to some daily masses.

So check out the new links in my sidebar and hope your summer is going well!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Missionary for Christ

One of the big issues I had with being involved in the Baptist church was their upfront protocol of knocking on people's doors and quite frankly asking them if they were "saved." I felt very uncomfortable in that role. Perhaps if I had truly been "saved" then I would have not had an issue with it and been excited to share the good news of Jesus Christ!! I really thought that it was in bad taste to interrupt people's lives in that way. And honestly though some people might have become "saved" in such instances, most likely it wasn't for real because we might have seen them in church the next Sunday and then they drift away again. I was an on-again, off-again Christian of sorts. For a long time I decided I really couldn't call myself a Christian because I couldn't or wouldn't live a Christ-like life and I refused to act hypocritical about it as so many others did. That's when I stopped going to church.

Today's homily was about our calling to be witnesses for Christ. I am glad that the Catholic Church isn't quite as overt as the Baptist church. Father said that one of the best ways to share is through our lives and how we live. When we are at peace in our spirituality and we are living according to values of the Gospel of Christ we are being witnesses to others. And at times other people may want to know our "secret." That's when we can share with them because they are open to reception. When we come uninvited there's already a kind of wall built up.

Father stated that we have been commissioned by the Lord to be missionaries of the Gospel. Certainly others are called to more bold in their service by going to places where they are in danger or doing different kinds of charity work. I am still not sure what God's will for me is, but at least my heart is finally in it. Perhaps it's no more than this blog. Maybe it will affect someone that reads it. Maybe not. Perhaps it already has. I don't know and don't necessarily have to know, but I write about my experiences because I do want to share how wonderful it has been for me.

The key in all of this is having a spirit of gentleness, humility and patience. That's a big step for some people and I certainly admit it has been for me. But I am finally in a place where I am garnering those qualities (at least some of the time.) I can say for a fact that I have really changed since I started going to Mass and since becoming Catholic. For the first time I have a true love for Christ and a desire to build a relationship with Him. I am living a more honorable and pure life. I love going to Mass every week. I sat in the pew today just smiling because I was there. Although I know that I'm still growing and learning, I continue to pray that others are able to see Christ in me. My sponsor told me that in a card she gave me and it was one of the best compliments I have ever received.

I know that God has already been working in me and I'm sure He will continue to do so. In the past two years, I have had more religious conversations with my son than I ever have in my life. And perhaps it will make an impact on him. Perhaps not right away, but I think a little sinks in. I think that although he still is in a place where he isn't sure about things, he has taken an interest in my journey and I've even gotten him to Mass a few times.
When I saw Marty last week he mentioned more than once that although he's not ready for any kind of return to Church right now, it is something that has been on his mind and he has been giving it some thought. Maybe I had something to do with that or not, but I will continue to pray for him.

I often can't explain how I ended up in the Catholic Church, but I am so thankful and happy to be home. I pray that I am able to accept and do God's will whatever it may be.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


Today's homily was about love. In the past year, I have learned a great deal about what love means. I know about the love a mother has for her child. That is an instinctive love for most. But otherwise, I am just now learning about loving others and what it entails.
I grew up in a family that I wouldn't say was stingy about love, but it was not actively shown. We never said "I love you." I know that may sound strange to others, but it was to be understood through actions and not words. Today Father Phan said that people can show love either by words or actions, but it should be shown to those that need to know it. I grew up with some resentment in my family because perhaps I didn't understand love. I resented them for not always being at band concerts or supporting me like other parents did their kids. I realize now that they did indeed love me despite their own imperfections.
I thought perhaps because of my upbringing that I might be incapable of really loving someone because although I did learn to say "I love you" to people other than my family, I still always seemed to have relationship problems. I know that I did play a part in many issues, but there's always two sides to every story.
In the homily today, Father gave the definition of love being "sincere concern for the well being of another." I think for the first time in my life I am capable of loving others. I wrote a post about forgiveness and I think that it really goes hand in hand with love. Without the ability to love, you cannot forgive. I came to a point with my ex-husband after our divorce that I had to forgive him. I wrote him a letter apologizing for the hurts I caused in our marriage and told him that despite everything that I appreciated having him in my life. It made a huge difference in things and we are now friends. I understood what forgiveness could do.
Now I'm learning that love is really a matter of being unselfish. This something that is quite a blow for me because although I hate admitting it, I have been very selfish when it came to relationships. I was in my marriage and I certainly was in my last relationship with Marty. Although I know that I had love for him, I think I didn't really love him the way I should have. I would get upset when things didn't go the way I planned or if he did something that upset me. There were many times that I look back (hindsight is always 20-20) and realize how selfish I was. He was going through so many things and I should have simply done what I could for his benefit rather than my whims. Now, I'm not saying that I was to blame for the breakup, he had his own issues to deal with. He too, didn't love me in the way that he could have. So now I accept that it wasn't meant to be for us. But the great thing is that it was our relationship that brought me in to the Church.
I am almost in a state where I am reprogramming my mind. I am learning to not have a selfish attitude. (Though I am still working on that matter.) I am learning to love others although they may be people that have hurt me or those that I don't particularly like. I have student that tends to drive me crazy in class. I find myself praying for him quite often. I pray for Marty on almost a daily basis.
It boils down to the fact that real love takes effort. It's not that happy-go-lucky feeling that happens in the beginning of relationships. It is something much deeper and if it's real, it lasts. Some things that Father Phan mentioned in his homily struck home. First, we have to realize that love is the measure of where we are in being in a state of grace. Having love for all people, even our enemies means that we are living the way that God expects of us. When we have hatred for others, we are missing the target.
Without love, we are nothing. Our love of our neighbor is what leads us to God. We should remember that it takes just as much energy to hold grudges as it does to love. We are better off simply loving as much as it may seem to hurt us in a moment. The thing is that moments pass, life goes on and we are so much better when we love rather than harbor ill will. As Christ commands, "Love one another as I have loved you." How many of us can honestly say that we have lived up to that standard?

Monday, May 15, 2006

A surprise

I was with my class in the library today when another teacher came in. She is a friend of mine and she asked about this one student that we both have. He's a really good kid and she kidded by asking if I send him to the office every day. I said, yeah, he's so awful that I gave him an award for the class. (which I did, but it was an outstanding award) She then asked me if I knew what his future career plans were. I said that I didn't know and then she told me that he was thinking about becoming a priest. She then had him come tell me himself. He said that he had gone to adoration in Amarillo and it was something that just struck him. I thought that was wonderful. He's only a freshman and fifteen years old. I know that he may not end up going in that direction, but I will certainly pray for him and I think he would be a wonderful priest. I don't know if any of my readers watched the A&E series "God or the Girl" that was on a few weeks ago. This kid reminds me a lot of the character "Dan." He was the one that had dark curly hair and carried the cross for twenty miles. I think this kid's personality is kind of similar. Well, I just wanted to share that with you today.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Abandon Ship!

Not really. I just have had a lot going on and haven't had time to do much posting. Although I try to stay fairly regular with my other blog, this one needs more thought so I may not post for a while. I do plan to post more regularly in the summer when I can do more research and planning. So please don't give up on this blog yet. I will return. Now that I'm officially Catholic, it is certainly not the end of my journey. I just have to get through the next few weeks at school. And yes, I am counting down the days!