Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Come to Jesus Moments

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

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

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

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

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