- Name: Amber
- Location: Reno, Nevada, United States
I am a 34-year-old single mother of three. I am a convert to Catholicism and came into the Church on April 7, 2007. This blog is a collection of thoughts and things I learn in my journey of faith. All comments are welcome!
View my complete profile
I find it utterly amazing how much I've grown in the last few months... With all I've learned and all the Lord has shown me, I am truly blessed. I can even look back to the time I told my parents that I was going to join the Catholic Church and see how much of a "baby" I was then compared to now.
Upon reflection, I definitely would have handled it a bit differently. Not that the way it went was wrong or anything... just that I think I could have been more effective if I had been ready for the attacks they threw at me. Of course, there was no way of knowing which way they would take it until I actually approached the subject anyway.
The Lord has blessed me tenfold with other Catholics and others who are also joining the Catholic Church. I receive emails on occasion from others who are searching for truth and asking questions. Many are sincere and non-confrontational. I like this because it tells me who is actually seeking truth and who just wants to attack for the sake of winning an argument or because they believe I'm "going to hell" for becoming a Catholic... Yes, I've actually had people condemn me, as if they are The Judge.
This doesn't make assurance of salvation very assuring, however. After all, I've believed I was saved since I was nine, along with every other Christian in my family. Funny how many will bow out of this dilemma by merely stating I must not have been saved at all. But, like I said, how sure of salvation can one be in that case?
But I'm not taking this entry in an apologetic direction.
If you had asked me one year ago if I'd ever even consider being a Catholic, I would have scoffed at the idea. This was the very last place I ever thought the Lord would lead me, and here I am!
I can recall the devastation I felt when I realized what a decision like this would mean. I remember how alone and abandoned I felt and the anguish of nearly losing my faith. Today, I have made some wonderful new friends, mostly through the internet... and God has made it clear through them and in many other ways that I'm following him in obedience. I thank the Lord for each affirmation!
Thank you, Jesus, for coming into the world in such a humble manner in order to feel what we feel and show your undying, unconditional love for all sinners.
Thank you, Jesus, for bringing me into the fullness of truth that is found in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
Thank you, Jesus, for revealing yourself to me through others who love you so deeply.
Thank you, Jesus, for giving your Mother to us in your dying words on the cross.
Thank you, Jesus, for making your presence known in my life, taking my mustard-seed faith and growing it into something I can share with others.
Brian and his wife and their journey
Melissa as she continues to seek Truth
M.V. who is also seeking Truth but finds it difficult to accept some teachings of the Church
Labels: personal, reflections
Mary, Did You Know?
This is one of my favorite Christmas songs of all time. It nearly makes me cry every time... Really take in the words. It will move you too! Of course, we know that Mary *knew* but I think this just speaks to the awesomeness of God and how amazing it must have been to be His mother!
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will calm the storm with His hand?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you kissed the face of God?
Mary did you know.. Ooo Ooo Ooo
The blind will see.
The deaf will hear.
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap.
The dumb will speak
The praises of The Lamb.
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
The sleeping Child you're holding is the Great, I Am.
Labels: Christmas, Mary, personal
Thanks be to God!
"The Almighty has done great things for me."
As a single mother of three, I have been blessed beyond measure. I don't often take inventory of the blessings I've been given. Today, I'm going to take a minute to reflect on all that I have to be thankful for. This is a very random list:
- First and foremost, faith in God
- Jesus' death which atoned for my sins
- A good job that allows me to stay out of the welfare trap
- Three beautiful and healthy children
- Youngest son overcoming his speech disorder
- Oldest son coming through neurosurgery (7 years ago)
- Daughter overcoming her asthma condition
- A roof over my head
- The ability to turn on the heat when I'm cold and not worry about the expense
- A car to drive that fits my whole family comfortably
- The bad relationships which allow me to realize how blessed I am to have Damion in my life
- The Lord guiding me to the Catholic Church and all the people that have since inspired me to be a better Christian
- Catholic radio and all it's programming
- The brokenness that is bringing me healing
- Friends who care unconditionally
- My family
- My great-aunt Sue - a strong Catholic who gives me encouragement
- Plenty of food and good water to drink
- Being born in a free country
The list, of course, could go one forever... but these are a few things that came to my mind today.
What great things has The Almighty done for you?
Labels: personal, reflections
The First Church
This entry is in response to a question asked by "Melissa".
Here are a few points to get you started:
The first time that the words "Catholic Church" were used in writing was 110 AD.
Ignatius of Antioch - "Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop or by one whom he ordains [i.e., a presbyter]. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church
" (Letter to the Smyrneans 8:2 [A.D. 110]).
It is important to note here that that way this is read, indicates that there is already an understanding that those he is writing to already know this term. He is not addressing a new concept, requiring explanation or definition. So, it can be assumed that this term has already been in use for quite some time before this writing...
For other quotes from Early Church Fathers using the term "Catholic Church", you can go here: http://www.theholymass.com/catholic.htm
Also, Catholicism has a history of succession that can be traced all the way back to the apostles. No Protestant church is able to do this. While the founder of Protestantism is Martin Luther, the founder of Catholicism is Jesus Christ.
There is no historical evidence, in writing or otherwise, that any other Christian "denomination" existed at the time of Christ or for the first 1500 years:
St Augustine wrote: "[T]here are many other things which most properly can keep me in [the Catholic Church's] bosom. The unanimity of peoples and nations keeps me here. Her authority, inaugurated in miracles, nourished by hope, augmented by love, and confirmed by her age, keeps me here. The succession of priests, from the very see of the apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after his resurrection, gave the charge of feeding his sheep [John 21:15-17], up to the present episcopate, keeps me here. And last, the very name Catholic, which, not without reason, belongs to this Church alone, in the face of so many heretics, so much so that, although all heretics want to be called 'Catholic,' when a stranger inquires where the Catholic Church meets, none of the heretics would dare to point out his own basilica or house" (Against the Letter of Mani Called "The Foundation" 4:5 [A.D. 397]).
If you read the Early Church Fathers, you will also find that they are very Catholic in theology and practice.
The Early Church Fathers can be read online here: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.html
If you would like to find quotes on more specific topics, you can find them on catholic.com
. Just go the left-hand side of the screen and find the general topic you are looking for. Anything that says "(Fathers*)" after it, will contain the quotes.
Some will admit that the Catholic Church was the first church but then they will throw out another attack claiming that the Catholic Church eventually became corrupt and that the Reformers brought back the apostolic church as it was intended. The major problem with this concept is that it would essentially make Christ a liar.Matthew 16:13-16
13When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"
14They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
15"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
16Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
17Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
This passage shows us that Christ clearly established a Church... not just an "invisible-body-of-Christ" church but a visible church, with authority to bind and loose. Take special notice, though, of verse 18, where Christ tells us he will build a church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it! If Christ kept his promise then what church did he protect? The only available answer is the Catholic Church because it was the only church in existence until the Reformation (outside of Orthodoxy 1054AD).
Christ has protected his Church. In 2000 years, the Church has NEVER changed on issues of faith and morals. They have a solid doctrine that does not change with the whim of society.
It is undeniable that, if you dig deep in history, you will find the Catholic Church. I encourage you to keep seeking God... and continue learning more about the Catholic faith. A word of warning, however... MANY people are out there making all sorts of false claims about Catholicism. At all costs, learn about Catholicism from well-informed Catholics. I would also encourage you to call your local parish and talk to a priest. They have classes you can take called RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults). In RCIA, you will be able to learn basics of the faith. There is no obligation to join the church until you are ready to do so. Some people take RCIA for a couple of years until they feel God is truly calling them into the Church.
Before the Reformation, if you were a Christian, you were Catholic or Orthodox and if you were born in the first 1000 years, you were only going to be a Catholic Christian. The Reformation did a lot to destroy the unity within the body of Christ that existed for 1500 years. Perhaps you are being called to return to that unified body of Christ. Perhaps God no longer wants you separated from the Church He established. Seek Him and His will. He will not let you down!
Personally speaking, I have grown much closer to Jesus since I stepped forward in faith toward Catholicism. I have had a lot of confirmation from the Lord that I am moving in the right direction. I won't look back and I have no doubts or regrets.
If you have any more questions, Melissa, feel free to ask. You can also contact me via email through my website: This Catholic Journey
Labels: church, history
Relativism in the Body of Christ
As Christians, we know that God is truth. We know that there is truth that is universal for all people, for all time, regardless of what anyone thinks. We know there is absolute truth.
So how does relativism fit into Christianity today? One word: denominationalism. There are literally THOUSANDS of Christian denominations in the world. Churches split and form new churches every day due to differences in Biblical interpretation. In the process, many are wounded and some never return to any church at all.
Not long ago, before I even considered Catholicism, I thought, "Why can’t we just agree on the essentials? Let's just agree to disagree and love each other." I even proposed this idea on a forum, which turned out to be horribly anti-Catholic. I was admonished by a moderator who said I was promoting relativism. He did not want this idea to be floating around while he was working so hard to get people out of the Catholic Church. Looking back, I see that while his motives were not exactly great, he was right not to want to promote relativism and it make me realize that I had accepted a bit of relativism myself on a small level. After all, I went to a church that believed what I agreed with... and I never questioned whether or not it was acceptable to believe differently from other Christians...
I asked myself, "Is it enough to just agree on the 'essentials'?" I soon realized that it is not enough. Not even close.
Can you imagine the three persons of the Trinity arguing about doctrinal differences or deciding what should be considered essential for Christians to believe and what shouldn't? Ludicrous!
There is nothing in the Bible that outlines what is and what is not essential. There are no primary and secondary doctrines. Instead, there is a very clear call to be in complete unity with one another and there is one truth:
1 Corinthians 1:10
I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus...
(These are only two among MANY that speak of our call to be in unity with one another.)
But look at what has become of Christianity! Protestant denominations have been spreading relativism and diversity for 500 years, causing damage to the body of Christ. Don't like what one teaches? Start a new church and teach what YOU believe! The body of Christ was never meant to be so severed and split into different ways of thinking.
All things established by Christ are "essential" and they are not up for debate. We must accept all of God's word or none of it. We cannot pick and choose as if we are standing in a big cafeteria line of doctrines. This is one of the major things that caused me to seek truth... not relative truth found in denominationalism (by that, I include non-denominationalism, since it's a denomination of its own) that has SOME absolute truth.... but a complete, long-standing, historical, unified absolute truth. God is Truth and He told us that if we seek, we will find. There is only one truth within Christianity. ONE. As Christians, we must be diligent to seek it, find it, and tell others about it.
Christ established a Church to be the authority on all faith matters, not just an invisible church but a visible Church. This Church was established to be the pillar and foundation of truth (1 Tim 3:15) so we would know where to find it. So, how do we know which church? We go to the Church established by Christ himself... to the only Church that has been standing for 2000 years... to the Catholic Church!
As Catholics, we need to work to bring unity back to the entire body of Christ. We cannot let this doctrine of relativism continue to break us down. We have to continuously seek truth and put an end to the acceptance of the relativism that has divided Christians for the last 500 years.
There absolutely IS absolute truth and it can be known.
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Labels: absolute truth, relativism, truth
Relativism: The New Religion
Relativism is the new religion and its members are growing in number at a rapid pace. There have been countless occasions when I have been labeled as close-minded merely for being a Christian. Of course, whenever this is brought up, I simply turn it back around.
"Why are you more open-minded than I am simply because you reject Christianity?"
It is one thing to be tolerant of the beliefs of others... to allow each person to seek truth and allow them their God-given free will to believe whatever they want to. It is quite another thing to claim that truth exists for each person individually... and to claim that there is no truth that is applicable to all people. I believe the doctrine of relativism is one of Satan's greatest tools. It allows him to darken the minds of believers and non-believers alike.
Absolute truth is something that is universally true regardless if anyone believes it is true. Many make ridiculous claims that absolute truth exists within each individual... that each person has his OWN absolute truth. Of course, these people do not understand the definition of absolute truth. They will say things like, "Absolute truth is relative." Huh?
And 2+2=5 (at least for me)!
Many will also say that if you claim to know the truth (within religion for example), you are imposing YOUR truth on other people and you are being intolerant or close-minded. Ironically, this makes relativists intolerant of religion. Although I'm not sure why it matters, since truth is relative, right?
Let's examine some basic statements here:"There are no absolutes."
"Every truth is relative."
"No one knows what truth is."
"It is wrong for someone to impose his/her morals or truth on me."
Does anyone notice something about these statements? They are ALL absolute statements! They are all claiming a "truth" that there is NO truth or that truth is relative! Every statement is completely self-contradictory!
I don't know a single person who wouldn't be completely outraged at someone stealing from their home. But if everyone's truth is whatever they make it, then I could say, "For me, it's acceptable to rob my neighbor whether he likes it or not because what is true for me is I want and should have his stereo system." No one is going to respond with, "I think it's great this guy exercised his free will and his understanding of truth. He can come back any time and take whatever he wants!" If truth were relative, we’d all be in a heap of trouble in this world... and this makes relativism MUCH more imposing on others than any religion!
The problem? Many are coming to a wider acceptance of this viewpoint every day, using it to justify wrong actions in order to avoid being held accountable.
So, what if I believe with my whole heart and soul that 2+2=5? People will believe I'm crazy and they'll show me logically that this is not true... but what if I cannot be convinced? Does this statement become true? Not at all! Truth is truth even if I don't believe it... even if NO ONE believes it!
In my next post, I'll write about relativism within Christianity... Yep, it's found there too!
Labels: absolute truth, relativism, truth
Are they listening?
It seems I will never reach those close to me with the truth of Catholicism. It nearly seems like a pointless uphill battle. But then, I think of how I used to be. When I was talking about faith matters with Damion, and I found I could be wrong, I never admitted it. But this is what brought me into the state of seeking God that finally brought me into the fullness of truth. So, I realize that even if my own friends found that the Catholic position makes sense, they will probably not be quick to admit it either... In fact, they'll likely never let on that they'll consider it for a moment...
No one wants to be wrong. No one wants to think that what they've believed their whole life about their own faith could be lacking a bit of truth and very few non-Catholic Christians ever want to admit that Catholicism could have some truth in it. Non-Catholic Christians have been brainwashed with straw man arguments for so long, they have no idea what true Catholicism is!
This is something I need to keep in mind when I speak to my friends about Catholicism. While they may not let me see that I'm making sense to them, they may be hearing more than I think they are.
Often, when an airtight position is presented, people will begin to say the most ludicrous things and it's likely that even THEY will think that what they are saying is ridiculous.... After all, anything is better than admitting that you could be wrong, right? But eventually, they will be alone with God... pondering the truth. Eventually, it will all make sense. For some, this is a slow process. For others, it's nearly instantaneous. But we must always be ready... ready to share our faith with others, even when it seems they don't hear a word.
Labels: encouragement, personal
From Anguish to Hope
I've been so swamped with school and the month of December in general and my mind has been swimming with so many thoughts that it has been too difficult to write. Every time I've tried to start to write, I cannot seem to put a solid thought together.
I've decided I'd like to share a blog I started when my journey first began. This blog only has two entries but they explain the anguish I was experiencing before I gave Catholicism a thought and at the point in time when Catholicism was beginning to make sense.
When I read these entries, I am amazed at how far I've come in such a short time and I can see how much God has worked in my life in the last few months.
If you read these entries, please scroll down and read "Journey" and then read "Glimmer of Hope"... since it makes more sense if you read them in order. If you would like to comment, please comment on this blog.Click Here
"I said, 'Christmas'"
I believe this comic speaks for itself...