Hey there, and welcome back! Glad you didn’t jump ship after that last post. I’ll continue the story today. In the meantime, grab a glass of something and find a relaxing spot. Thanks to all of you who have chosen to listen respectfully, and maybe agree to disagree. It’s the same Jesus, so let’s all love like He loves. Now, back to the story.
So, back to the original question: Why Catholic? Especially after all these years of solid evangelical preaching and teaching? Two years at a local evangelical Bible College? Another semester at an evangelical school of worship? What happened to me?
After severely backsliding, and then spending 8 years in a spiritual desert, I was really searching for anything to bring me back into a solid relationship with the Lord, back to consistent and solid prayer. I began to search for something tangible to help my prayer life and discovered the Anglican (not Catholic, it’s completely different) rosary on Pinterest- one uses it to pray their own prayers or Scriptures, or whatever. It helped.
That and another pin on Pinterest really got me going. The pin spoke of the beauty and richness of the Catholic faith, and my heart resonated with that. I needed more ways to express my devotion. Denise, the initial pinner, became a good friend and led me to several resources. So, I began to study Catholicism and kept finding truth that I agreed with. I read voraciously – testimonials, apologetics, devotional sites. Biographies. I found two sets of RCIA classes (Catholic instruction classes) on You Tube and watched them both. And the more I read, the more I saw, the more I believed that the Catholic faith had a truth to it that resonated with me. I loved the reverence, the truth, the accountability, the social justice, the stability. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is easily the most amazing book I’ve read next to Scripture. If you really want to know what the Catholic Church is about, read that – don’t take anybody else’s word.
For a list of specific things I love about the Catholic Church, see my early post, “Drawn to Rome“. I wrote it the day I made a pros and cons list on my lunch hour. Thirty-one pros; two cons. The two cons were Mary and the Real Presence. I was pretty much a goner.
Why do you have to confess your sins to a priest? Jesus gave His apostles authority to forgive sins. John 20:22-24 is the place most often quoted. The book of James, 5:16, tells us to confess our faults to one another and pray for one another. There is a built-in accountability and humility here, as well as the comfort of hearing that we are actually forgiven if we are truly sorry. Going to a spiritual authority and hearing it from them is also a comfort, there’s some substance to it. The priest acts in the place of Christ who forgives. The priest is sort of like Jesus with skin on, a human touch that we can more easily relate to. The only ‘required’ time to confess sins to a priest is if they are very serious and really break our relationship with God, or once a year during Lent. Lent is sort of like spring cleaning for the soul to get ready to celebrate Easter. There have been times in my life as a Protestant where I sought out a pastor and ‘told the whole story’ and asked him to pray for me.
Why doesn’t the Catholic church believe in salvation, like, say, the Baptists? We do! We actually have an ‘altar call’ at every Mass. You just have to realize it’s not at the very end, it’s at the beginning, before communion. We believe that Jesus is our savior, that we must be cleansed of our sins by His blood and receive His forgiveness. We ask for that forgiveness right off the bat. The priest invites us to ‘acknowledge our sins’ and we have a time of silent confession, then corporate prayer asking for His mercy. We believe that He is continually ‘saving’ us from our sinful selves, that that we will eventually be ‘saved’ and go to heaven for eternity. We stand and recite the creed before communion at every Mass. In the creed, we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, that He is our savior who was raised from the dead. Hopefully, we believe it in our heart. That’s pretty much a perfect fulfillment of Romans 10:9.
I’m going to quit for now. If you have issues in your life and wish you could talk to someone, find a pastor or priest. They can help. I’ll finish this series with the next post, I promise. Then back to something fun!