This Catholic Journey
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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!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Real Presence

Malachi 1:11

For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.

 

This passage in Malachi, written around 450 BC, is a prophecy of the Sacrifice of the Mass. At the time this was written, the Lord's name was not great among the nations nor was there a pure offering in his name in every place from the rising to the setting of the sun. But today, this describes the re-presentation of the one sacrifice of Christ on the cross that is offered in every nation all day long. Christ is the only pure offering that we continue to celebrate in an un-bloody manner through the Eucharist.

 

John 6:51-57

I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh." The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.

 

Many say that Christ was only speaking symbolically here. But there is nothing in this passage that indicates he was speaking symbolically. He does not tell us that we must symbolically eat his flesh and symbolically drink his blood. If this was symbolic, then why did they take him literally and ask, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" It is obvious they were troubled by what he was saying but he did not offer them an explanation to help them understand he was not to be take literally. Instead, he reiterated his words. If this was symbolic, then how do we do this? How can it be that the bread and wine we receive at communion can give us eternal life if they are only a symbol? What other way are we to eat his flesh and drink his blood in order to have this eternal life he speaks of?

 

John 6:60

Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?"

 

Even after he further explained, those listening to him still understood this in a literal way, saying it was difficult to listen to.

 

John 6:64-66

But there are some of you that do not believe." For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.

 

Did Jesus call the disciples back to him to explain? No. He said, "But there are some of you that do not believe" and He allowed them to leave because of it.

 

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.  

 

Here, Jesus tells us that the bread IS his body. He does not say, this represents my body or this is symbolic of my body.

 

1 Corinthians 11:27-30

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.

 

How can you eat the bread and drink the cup in an unworthy manner if it is only a symbol? How do we profane the body and blood of the Lord if the bread and wine is only a symbol? Christ tells us we must discern the body and blood in the bread and wine or we bring judgment upon ourselves! If the bread and wine are merely symbols, why would those who took it unworthily become weak, ill or die?

 

This simply cannot be written any clearer. But Christ told us that some will not believe. Today, many still do not believe. They limit the power of God by claiming this is not possible. They try to find all sorts of ways around it. But Scripture is SO clear, that it must be severely twisted in order to conform to any other view.

 

It must also be pointed out that early Christians understood this literally as well. I can quote at least 14 different early Christians who believed in the real presence but for the sake of brevity, I'll quote two.

 

St. Ignatius of Antioch

"Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes" ( Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2–7:1 [A.D. 110]).

 

Justin Martyr

"We call this food Eucharist, and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration [ i.e., has received baptism] and is thereby living as Christ enjoined. For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus" ( First Apology 66 [A.D. 151]).

 

In John 6:55, Christ himself said, "My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink."

 

To think of the Eucharist as anything less is to not believe in what Christ clearly taught us by his own words. It is to be as the disciples who could not take this teaching and who, therefore, walked away and followed him no more.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Looking Ahead!

Luke 9:60-62
But he said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home." Jesus said to him, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."

This verse spoke a lot to me last night. (Thanks, Dub!) I realize that, since I am following God, I cannot look back and there's no point in allowing my family, or anyone else for that matter, to take away the happiness in coming into Christ's Church. Each day, I find I am drawing closer to God, learning more... growing.

The Rite of Sending on Saturday was beautiful... My sponsor said that she sees how Jesus has been made real in my heart and my mind... It was wonderful to hear what each sponsor had to say about their candidates or catechumens as we were being "sent" to the bishop.

The Rite of Election was equally beautiful. Damion was there with the kids... Having them there to share in the event with me was great. I was amazed to see all the people in the diocese who have been moved along a similar journey to mine... some stepping into Christianity for the first time and others making their way to full communion with the Catholic Church... each one following God where He's led them. I do not know the numbers of those who stood up there, but I was filled with a sense of awe as I realized I was a part of something much bigger. All over the world, men and woman were coming forth in preparation for Easter Sacraments, celebrating God's presence and work in their lives, growing stronger in faith, and waiting with anticipation to partake in the Eucharist and become one with the Body of Christ.

It's moving to see how God has shaped people and moved them to the point where we could all come together like that. Beautiful!

After the rite, I had a picture taken with the bishop and then Damion, the kids and I went out for dinner. There was a nasty snow storm on our return trip to Reno and we feared we wouldn't make it back... our half hour drive turned into about 2 hours but we made it safely back home.

Now, I am looking ahead to the Easter Vigil! In less than six weeks, I will be in full communion with the Church established by the Lord himself!

Lord, keep me from all temptation and do not allow those around me to discourage me from following You. Keep me focused on Your will and help me forgive those who hurt me because they do not understand.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Elephant

As I expected, my family did not show up to the Rite of Election on Sunday. Saturday night, I had a feeling they wouldn’t be there and I was pretty upset about it but Sunday, I was a bit more at peace with the idea. At this point, I’m not sure I’ll invite them to the Easter Vigil. I can’t be disappointed if I don’t expect them to be there. My mom has always been one who does not like to miss “important” events in our lives but, apparently, there is a line she won’t cross, though I didn’t know that line existed until now.

Today, I’m feeling a bit angry that they didn’t show up... My sister graduated from a Catholic high school for goodness sake! What would they have done if she had converted while she was going there? If they were THIS opposed to Catholicism, what in the world were they thinking by putting her in that school?

I believe the worst thing about them not showing up is that they completely ignored the invitation... I received no response at all.

My conversion, to them, is the big elephant sitting in the middle of the room. Everyone knows it’s there and no one will talk about it, or acknowledge it. They simply step around it and pretend it doesn’t exist. They all treat me great. They aren’t mean or spiteful or rude. But on matters of faith, they are completely silent. It is, in a sense, a shunning that I didn’t expect.

On the other hand, the rites were AWESOME... I'm going to think a bit more about the experience before I post about it...

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Upcoming Rites

Tomorrow, I go through the Rite of Sending and then the Rite of Election on Sunday. I've invited my family but have not heard whether or not they will attend. These rites are exciting because they bring me that much closer to Easter Vigil! Please pray for me as I go through these rites. Please also pray that if my family comes, they will see the beauty in the Mass and feel God's presence... that their ears, eyes and hearts will be open.

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Friday's Feast #132

DessertFriday's Feast can be found HERE.

Appetizer
Where on your body do you have a scar, and what caused it?
I have a scar on the right side of my face close to my mouth... It’s hardly noticeable because it falls right in my smile line. I was bit by a dog when I was an infant and I had five stitches. If you get close enough, you can actually count every stitch mark.

Soup
What is something that has happened to you that you would consider a miracle?
When I first started college, my family had no idea how they were going to pay for a class I was taking. The day the payment for the class was due, my mom got a paycheck. It was for the exact amount, to the PENNY, that was needed for the class. A small miracle that left us all knowing that God is truly in control. Now, if I could just FINISH college, I’d be happy!

Salad
Name a television personality who really gets on your nerves.
Ellen DeGeneres... that woman annoys the heck out of me! Perhaps I should pray for her...

Main Course
What was a funny word you said as a child (such as "pasketti" for "spaghetti")?
I used to say "fa-fant" for elephant.

Dessert
Fill in the blank: I have always thought ______ was ______.
I have always thought oranges were orange... Ok, so I couldn’t think of anything that I have "always" thought... so I had to "go generic".

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Lent

ChristianI took the boys to the dentist last week. While preparing to get x-rays of my son’s teeth, the dental assistant asked, "Where do you get your eyes? From your mom or your dad?" Christian looked at her a bit puzzled and said, "I get my eyes from Jesus!" That’s my boy! My little guy, who refuses to go to CRE classes, but still manages to come up with some of the most amazing little things to say about God... and giving credit where credit is due!

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Today is Ash Wednesday... I talked with Clay last night about what he'd like to give up for Lent. He's going to give up sleeping with his "monkey" that he's had since he was a baby. The other two will not give things up individually. I am going to give up Diet Pepsi (eek!) but as a family we're going to do the following:

- No television or video games two nights per week
- No computer (this one's mostly for me) two nights per week
- One night per week without the use of electric lighting

In addition, I'm going to make a large effort to read more Scripture, pray more and teach my kids more of the faith. The problem is, I don't have any really good (and easy) ideas for doing this with the kids. If anyone has some creative suggestions on teaching kids (ages 5-8) basics of the faith, please let me know... I especially would like ideas on how to talk with them about Lent. Right now, I'm just trying to talk with them about the 10 Commandments and how those apply in their lives.

Also, does anyone know when children start to go to Reconciliation and how to help them develop their conscience (on their level)? Mine have not yet been baptized but will be in the next few months...

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

First Reconciliation

As I knew He would, God provided someone to watch my kids so I could meet with my priest yesterday. So I went down to the parish at noon. He asked questions about my background and baptism. I explained what I remembered and what my mom had told me and he concluded that I would not need a conditional baptism. This was a bit of a relief for me. I figured while I was there, I'd ask him a few more questions... It's not every day I have a priest to speak to on a one on one basis about the little things that linger in my mind so I took advantage of the moment. He was wonderfully patient and thorough.

 

He then agreed to listen to my first confession. I was quite nervous and somehow missed the Act of Contrition, which he said I could say as I leave, if I so wish. Prior to giving me penance, he said some wonderfully encouraging things. Specifically, I should try each day to be better, not perfect. To strive for perfection may only lead to disappointment every time I fail... but to strive to daily be better will allow me to continue to grow closer to God. Every day, pray a little more, read the Scriptures a little more, be a bit kinder than the day before, etc. In areas of wrong-doing, strive every day to do a little less: be less angry than the day before, less judgmental, etc. This was very encouraging since I often feel overwhelmed when I try to eliminate a negative behavior (or add a positive one) in one swift attempt and end up falling flat on my face in the mud.

 

I left with peace. I felt inspired to continue growing closer to God. I am working with a clean slate and I feel much lighter today... much less burdened and better capable of accepting God's merciful love for me. What an absolutely wonderful sacrament!

 

Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." ( John 20:21-23 NIV)

 

Forgiveness came to me from God through the priest. As I received absolution, it was not the words of the priest I was hearing, but Christ's forgiveness, mercy and love.

 

Thank you, Lord, for giving us a real and tangible way to receive and hear your forgiveness. Amen.

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Return to the Eucharist

I found a great little site "designed to explain the Catholic faith from a Catholic perspective, clarifying and explaining the misconceptions formed by non-Catholic faiths". I found the site to be quite informative without giving a huge amount of information, causing one to be overwhelmed. This is a great site to point to our friends who would like an honest look at Catholicism from a Catholic viewpoint. (I will post the link at the end of the post.)

Often what our non-Catholic friends know about Catholicism has been learned from already misinformed people... This was the case with me and it wasn't until I learned about Catholicism from it's source that I was truly able to understand the teachings. This site might also be helpful for former Catholics who, for various reasons, have been led to believe that Catholics do not believe in the Truth and therefore left the faith. Nothing could be farther from the truth but many still hold on to the misconceptions they were told which caused them to doubt Catholicism and leave.

As I was sitting in Mass today, I thought, "How could anyone miss the Gospel or the truth if they were actively paying attention in Mass?" The Mass is entirely from Scripture: the readings, the hymns, the Eucharist... It occurred to me that if these former Catholics, who got "saved" only after leaving the Church, took the time to go to Mass and re-experience it, they would experience it with new eyes and new appreciation and they would come to understand just how beautiful the reverence of the Mass is... how spiritually renewing and how unifying to the body of Christ.

I pray that all Catholics who've been led out of the Catholic faith will take a serious examination of what they've been told by misinformed (but well-intentioned) non-Catholic Christians. I pray they will read the Early Church Fathers, dig deep into the Catholic understanding of Scripture (which is simply much more solid than anything else I've ever experienced) and see the truth that Christ is just as central to the faith as what they've experienced outside the Church, if not more!

If you are a former Catholic reading this post, I urge you to return to the Christ in the Eucharist! It is a wonderful gift that Christ has given his followers and you are missing out! The Scriptures are clear on this: Christ said if we do not eat his flesh and drink his blood, we have no life in us (John 6:53-54). What is this body and blood that we MUST have if not the Eucharist? A mere symbol does not give us life... but Christ's presence in the Eucharist does! (Why do you doubt this? Are not all things possible with God?) 1 Corinthians 11:28-30 says, "Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died." Does this make sense if it's only a symbol? How can a mere symbol, taken unworthily, cause illness or death? Don't wait another day! You cannot be closer to the Lord than you can through the Eucharist!

Peace be with you!

Catholics: What do they believe? (I also put this link in my sidebar.)

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Assurance of Salvation?

As a Protestant, I always believed that my salvation was assured no matter what I did. I could sin away and it would not change my relationship with God or the fact that I was saved. Of course, I believed that if I really loved God, I would choose not to sin but I never imagined that my sin would separate me from God in any way. I believe this line of thinking actually allowed me to justify living my life "on my own terms". I easily fell into all sorts of things I never imagined I would. Looking back, I can see just how damaging it was to live my life this way. Though I continued to attend church, there were no real fruits from my faith whatsoever. There was an ample amount of grace from the people I attended church with, however... perhaps a bit too much. No one ever took me aside to explain that what I was doing was truly harming my soul and my relationship with God. I was assured of my salvation and so my relationship with God didn’t matter too much. Why did I need to do anything if I was already saved?

Can a person’s salvation be taken from them? The short answer is no.

John 10:27-28 (RSV)
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.

Amen! No one can take my salvation away from me...

But the real question is:

Can a person intentionally turn their back on Jesus Christ and knowingly sin, and in turn, lose their salvation? The short answer is yes.

When we sin, we damage our relationship with God and this act of disobedience can cause us, by our own doing, to lose our salvation.

In the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:21, "Not every one who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." Jesus said we would be persecuted and hated and that many will fall away "but he who endures to the end will be saved" (Matthew 24:13, RSV).

Notice here that "saved" is in the future tense and that we must "endure to the end" to be saved. This clearly indicates that we can lose our salvation if we fall into sin and are led astray.

This is also made clear in other passages in Scripture:

Romans 11:22 (RSV)
Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off.

How can you be cut off from something you don't already have?

Galatians 5:4 (RSV)
You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.

How can you be severed from Christ if you were not already a part of Christ? How can you fall from grace, if you didn't already have grace?

Even Paul feared being "disqualified" in 1 Corinthians 9:27 (RSV) when he wrote, "but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified." Paul further goes on to warn us, "Now these things happened to them as a warning, but they were written down for our instruction, upon whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall." (1 Corinthians 10:11-12, RSV)

Scripture is clear on the matter. If we choose to sin and separate ourselves from God, we can lose that which has already been given to us: eternal life. This has caused me to take a much more serious look at sin in my own life. The thought of being separated from God because my sin has so greatly offended Him, is not a happy one. I cannot just say I’m a Christian and do whatever I want with the idea that I’ll be saved “no matter what”.

God does not take salvation away from me... but if I deliberately sin and sever that relationship with God, I will be cutting myself off, falling from grace... and those who do not endure to the end will not be saved.

Prayer: Most High God, please help me to recognize the temptation of sin before I fall into it. Keep your word close to my heart and give me the desire to please only You. Give me conviction of heart, grace and strength to do what is right and to live each day in service to You. Help me understand that assurance of salvation comes only by knowing that I am striving to live my life on your terms and not my own. Give me the humility to work out my salvation in fear and trembling and to continue hoping for the day that I will see you face to face. Amen.

Romans 5:2
Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Vote!

I am proud to announce that I was nominated for Best New Catholic Blog for the Catholic Blog Awards 2007! Thank you to anyone who nominated me. Now it's time for voting!

Please cast your vote HERE. Registration is free!

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Small Update

I spoke with the RCIA director last week about my conditional baptism/reconciliation situation. She stated that the priest wanted to speak with me directly about the matter and that I could also do reconciliation at that time if it were necessary. So, I made an appointment to meet with him on February 19 th. Of course, this was before I realized that the schools are closed and I'll have the kids with me. I haven't quite figured out how I'm going to swing that one yet. What was I thinking?!?

 

Regardless, I'm relieved to hear that he'll be able to hear my confession at that time.

 

I just finished "By What Authority?" by Mark Shea. What a wonderful book! I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to learn more about the problems of sola scriptura. Evangelicals hold to Catholic Tradition without even knowing it in many cases and these are explained in detail in this book. I love how detailed the book was in the logical problems with the doctrine of sola scriptura without attacking those who hold this belief. It forces one to take a look at Tradition as Catholics understand it so that they cannot be confused the "traditions of men" that Catholics are accused of practicing.

 

I have much more swimming around in my head but I'll have to save them for another post.  

Friday, February 09, 2007

Friday's Feast #130

Appetizer
Have you been sick yet this winter? If so, what did you come down with?
Despite the nasty flu my daughter got, I have managed to avoid all sickness so far this winter. I feel very fortunate in this regard!

Soup
What colors dominate your closet?
Black... lots of it. When I shop, my eye always moves to black. It's been that way for years! Then I have the occasional plum or deep red. Maybe a pink thrown in.

Salad
How would you describe your personal "comfort zone"?
I'm not quite clear on what this question is asking of me... A physical comfort zone? I like my space... I’m not a "touchy-feely" person. In other regards, I despise change or anything that makes me have to do something beyond the ordinary, taking me out of my "comfort zone". That's probably half the reason I complain about my job but refuse to do anything about it by finding a new one!

Main Course
On which reality show would you really like to be a contestant?
I hate reality shows... they are SO UN-realistic! I would not want to be a contestant... I'm too happy with reality.

Dessert
Which holiday would you consider to be your favorite?
Christmas! I know it's a cliché answer, but it's true! I really love the non-commercialized aspects of the season: family, traditions, warmth in the midst of the cold and most of all, remembering Christ's birth.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Confused about the order of things

I added a chat box through Meebo... If you see me online, don't be shy! I appreciate the private messages I've received when I've been off-line as well... I thank those of you who've left messages, for your kind words of encouragement and your much needed prayers!

Based on the fact that I have no record of baptism, that the church I was baptized in no longer exists and the fact that my mom is terribly reluctant, if not unwilling, to sign a piece of paper stating that I was validly baptized, it has been decided that I will be conditionally baptized. What troubles me is that I was told I would not need to attend First Reconciliation prior to the Easter Vigil. And from what I can tell, they expect to conditionally baptize me AT the Easter Vigil Mass. From what I've read, this is contrary to the way it's supposed to be done.

For one, if my first baptism was valid, then I think this conditional baptism will have no effect, which means, I will still have sin on my soul and should not partake in communion until I have gone to reconciliation. (If this takes place at Easter Vigil, I won't have TIME to go to reconciliation beforehand!) I have also read that conditional baptisms are to take place in private. When I talked to my RCIA Director about this, she seemed surprised. She is bringing the following questions to the parish priest:

What are the effects of a conditional baptism if the first baptism WAS valid? (I believe I know the answer but I wanted the RCIA Director to ask since she wasn't sure.)

Does the conditional baptism need to be done in private prior to the Easter Vigil Mass?

Is reconciliation required before (or after) the conditional baptism and prior to receiving First Communion?

Based on what I've read, I should be going to reconciliation BEFORE First Communion. Some say I should receive a conditional absolution. Some say there is no such thing.

I'm a bit confused by everything at this point. I am 99.9% certain that my first baptism was valid and I would not be comfortable NOT going to reconciliation. If I am told something that conflicts with this, I'm going to make an appointment to meet with the parish priest.

It seems the RCIA Director doesn't have a clear understanding of the National Statutes for RCIA. It also seems, according to these statutes that while I'm permitted to go through RCIA, I could actually have been received into the Church at any time since I have lived my life as a Christian and have an understanding of Catholic teaching etc. I have also read that there are certain rites I am not, as a baptized Christian, supposed to be doing in the same way that catechumens are, such as the scrutinies. My RCIA Director talks of these things as if we will all be doing the same thing. I'm not sure, at this point, if I should just go with the flow and follow their directions or what?

At this point, I certainly don't mind waiting until Easter, since I believe the anticipation has been good for my growth, but I don't want to be taking part in the aspects of certain rites that are supposed to be reserved for those who are unbaptized... and actually, I'm not even sure if there ARE any in my class who are not baptized already. I supposed I'm just going to have to talk with the RCIA Director about what I've read... but I have a feeling that anything I say will be trumped.

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Blog Nominations

It's time to nominate your favorite blogs for the 2007 Catholic Blog Awards!

Go to http://www.catholicblogawards.com/2007

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Personal Relationship with Christ

It’s amazing to me how many people assume that Catholics do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In fact, I’ve been told personally that this is “not a Catholic term” and that this term “is often mocked by Catholics”. I cannot begin to express how far from the truth this thinking is! First off, my RCIA class is constantly talking about our growing relationship with Christ, encouraging prayer and the reading of Scripture. At Wednesday’s class, they had a panel of married couples who stressed the importance of keeping Christ in the center of the marriage. This is also a continuing topic I hear on Catholic radio... Every morning, I listen to “Food for the Journey”. This show is about our growing personal relationship with Christ... about maturing in our faith, trusting God, reading His Word, praying, and loving others. Isn’t that what a personal relationship with Christ looks like?

 

Even the catechism stresses its importance (with the same term):

 

2558 "Great is the mystery of the faith!" The Church professes this mystery in the Apostles' Creed (Part One) and celebrates it in the sacramental liturgy (Part Two), so that the life of the faithful may be conformed to Christ in the Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father (Part Three). This mystery, then, requires that the faithful believe in it, that they celebrate it, and that they live from it in a vital and personal relationship with the living and true God. This relationship is prayer.

 

No one can tell me that Catholics are not encouraged to have a personal relationship with Christ. Every Mass encourages this relationship through reading of Scripture, prayer, worship and, at the deepest level, when we partake in Holy Communion. I have found no deeper personal relationship than what I’ve experience since I decided to come into full communion with the Catholic Church and I imagine that it will only grow deeper and better as time goes on.

 

Catholics DO have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ... anyone who says otherwise is not taking a fair look at the Catholic faith.

 

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