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!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Peace be with you!

Today is the Feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle!

John 20:24-29
Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
But Thomas said to them,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”


I can recall moments in my life when I begged to feel the presence of God... moments when He felt so distant, I began to wonder if He were really there at all. It is in looking back that I know that God was there all along, perhaps even closer than I realized... but, for whatever reason, God did not permit me to feel his presence at that time.

I love this gospel reading... I love how Jesus just appears before them, the doors locked, and addresses Thomas right away by telling him to do the very things Thomas said he would have to do in order to believe. Jesus wasn't present when Thomas said those words. Can you imagine being Thomas? I love that, in this short passage, the rest of us were also addressed: "Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."

When I struggle in my faith and I feel God is far, I can think of this passage. Jesus didn't condemn Thomas for his unbelief. Instead, He helped him believe. Even while Thomas was doubting, Jesus knew Thomas' heart and mind. Jesus knew that believing without seeing would be a struggle for many... So, when I doubt also, Jesus knows my unbelief and He does not condemn me. Instead, He helps me believe!

"Peace be with you." I love these words spoken by Jesus. Can you imagine? Thomas... in his unbelief, hearing Christ say "peace be with you" and then having his eyes opened to see that the Lord was standing right there in front of him?! Each week, we say to each other during Mass "peace be with you". I wonder how many people feel touched by this simple exchange of words. The words of Christ spoken to one another: to the hurting and the joyful, the doubting and the believing, the loved and unloved, the weak and the strong, the rich and the poor. For that one moment, we are all in that room, Jesus reaching out to us and helping us believe!

Jesus, thank you for your peace and for helping us in our unbelief. Thank you for your patience and unconditional love. Amen.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

God Brings Peace

Often times, when one is walking the road of conversion, they may face a few moments of doubt. They may ask themselves if they are truly following God or simply being misled. Along my own road, I had several of these moments.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Doubt

My second RCIA class included a thorough tour of the church. It's nice to have a better understanding of everything. There's more I had written but I lost it all and I don't want to re-write it.

It seems I'm having a few doubts today but I'm not up for posing the questions that are in my head. I'm thinking that by tomorrow, I'll be feeling secure again so it would simply be pointless.

I'm really trying to do what I need to do to build on my faith but I'm still feeling so little. It's almost like I'm waiting for something more noticeable. It makes me wonder what I'm doing wrong.

I've been really unmotivated to write lately... Just letting things swim around in my head and visiting forums.

I'm seeking joy... genuine joy. It seems impossible to attain.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Difficult to Let Go

Yesterday, I suffered some doubts...

At this point in time, if the Catholic Church isn't "it", then I think I would be forced to be an orphan of sorts... and that idea terrifies me.

I suppose the doubts are normal.

I am still attending the non-denominational church with my parents as well as Mass with Damion. I am in a strange middle place, trying to get used to the idea that I have to let go of something I've loved for so long. See, some people don't like the "loudness" of non-denominational churches but it's all I've ever known and it saddens me to leave it behind. I don't hear "loudness" or a lack of reverence. I hear passion... and a great love for God. Thing is, Protestants love God no less than Catholics... just differently and they are unintentionally ignorant to the fullness of Christianity that is found within Catholicism.

I am not converting because of feelings. If I were, I would not be converting at all. I am converting because I am following God. This is, without a doubt, one of the most trying times in my life. I seem to go along just fine one minute but then I am brought to tears.

I don't have any particular attachment to the specific church that I attend, but rather an attachment to the WAY in which I've always worshipped. Catholic worship is so different and I'm struggling to "attach" to it...

I know eventually, over time, I will fully migrate over to the Catholic Church but I simply don't feel ready to let go of my non-denominational worship. Intellectually and theologically, I am no longer non-denominational. I do not participate in their communion anymore and I no longer hold to sola scriptura...

But I'm going to allow myself the freedom to slowly let go. I find comfort knowing that I don't have to give everything up completely. I love Christian music and though I won't hear the songs I've grown up with in church, I can still listen to them on CDs and on Christian radio.

I'm going to take my time... and I have faith that God will show me the beauty in Catholic worship and someday I hope to feel at home in it.

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