[quote=Matthew 25]Hi folks,
These are extremely interesting and fascinating responses.
If you all can bear with me, let me give you all a very brief summary of “where I am coming from.”
I became a Christian in 1976 after being led to the Lord by a man where I worked. He attended a Baptist church, and so I attended that church with him. I didn’t know or understand much about denominations then and didn’t really care. I just wanted to be around people who loved Jesus and my friend told me this was the place.
I remained a Baptist for 10 long years. And during that time, I was exposed to constant teaching/preaching, etc. about the “errors of Catholicsm.” I came to believe - because of all of this indoctrination (I was very young at the time) that Catholicism must be something very bad. In fact, I was actually scared about the idea of going to a Catholic church for a co-worker’s wedding.
Then, 20 years ago, I became exposed to the music and teachings of John Michael Talbot (a charismatic Catholic monk). I had met him way back in the mid-1970s when we were both involved in anti-Vietnam War protesting.
ANYWAY - I began to want to know more about Catholicism, especially the contemplatives and mystics. Thus, a great interest in St. Francis and St. John of the Cross, whose lives I have studied for 20 years (if I could be 1/10th of the Christian these two were, I’d be happy).
I have been blessed and encouraged to get to know many Catholics and to learn about the lives of saints, etc. This has really helped me develop my spiritual life from “black and white” into many colors and hues of Christian spirituality.
In recent years, I have confronted the error of my ways in condemning Catholicism - being essentially “de-programmed” from years and years of Fundamentalist teaching.
Recently, an old friend of mine from my Baptist days called me and in the process, said something very negative about Catholicsm. I rebuked him for it and he was very surprised at my reaction.
So, when I say I am not a “protestant,” I really mean it. Now, other folks may want to place that label on me because I am not Catholic. These labels may mean something to you, but it means nothing to me. I tell people that I am simply “a lover of and a follower of Jesus Christ.” Period.
I am wanting to understand more about Catholicism because I want to feel closer to my Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ. I want to hear it from Catholics themselves (not necessarily official doctrine because I have read most of that).
I am extremely doubtful that I will become Catholic. There are only a few obstacles to that, but they are pretty big obstacles.
Thanks for your informative posts about communion. It doesn’t hurt my feelings any less when I have to sit and watch others participate in this blessing - but it helps to know that even Catholics aren’t permitted to take it under certain conditions.
I should add, I have never been argumentative in any way with the priests. I tell them that I respect their doctrines. In fact, one elderly priest told me (he whispered this) that he would have given me communion - I had not gone up and afterwards asked him about church doctrine on communion. That’s when he said he would have given me communion anyway. I guess he didn’t consider me much of a “protestant.”
Maybe there is something to be learned from many years of experience and service to our Lord in the priesthood. Bless his heart!
And, while I am at it, Go Notre Dame Fighting Irish (smile)!
The Church is in Heaven (also). All salvation comes through the Church by way of Christs suffering, death and ressurection. The institution of His Church(not ours) and that of the Eucharist carry big permanent implications for all mankind. These things aren’t merely niceities or options for people. So whether you be Catholic or not, if you go to heaven it will be because of His Church militant now that you recieve welcome into the Church triumphant in Heaven. There’s much more to this, of course. When I came back after being gone for 25 years Iresearched and read all available things…this is important to do. Jesus didn’t start this Church to make salvation easy, HE DID IT TO MAKE SALVATION POSSIBLE. Why else would he have done it? So you are right in saying that God won’t be separating people into denominations, cause there is only one church, one faith that is alive now and until the end on earth as well as in Heaven. God can’t be divided, chained or restricted to conflicting views. The Catholic Church is full of sin from top to bottom because it’s made up of folk like you and me. But she has never waivered one stitch regarding faith and morals because She is guided by the Advocate who has convinced mankind regarding sin, judgement and righteousness.
As for your obstacles , Ihad them too, but obstacles in seeking the good are only to be overcome.
Peace and love and yes…Go Irish