faith Journey?


#1

As a catholic who has lived his entire life in the Church and a medical student, I have started to defend the faith to protestant friends and muslim friends.and thus I have taken a deeper interest in discovering the faith.

on a summer job this year I discovered a man (whom I have know for a year) to be the most devout Christian I have ever met. I have discussed him with my priest, who believes him to be a mystic.

This man has got very catholic views although being from a protestant background. He does not deny transubstantion as a possible interperation from scriptures, and he does not believe in once saved always saved. He has told me and another girl that God has got great plans for us! He says he knows God has been talking to me for a long time, which is true.

But he said " when you are a christain…" ie I am not a christain now. when I mention baptism he will say you must believe before you can be born again(or from above) with the spirit. In my experience being baptised is the start and each day is a constant stuggle, to reaffirm ones faith in God, to do what is right and just, every day seems like it needs a “second conversion”, rather that a “road to damascus experience” which this man has experienced.

However at dinner one night this week, his christian friend, said infants cant accept christ, it is parents doing it on their behalf, and you dont see any change in the lives of these kids after baptism or confirmation. I had nothing to say to her! I got more and more depressed until I have reached breaking point as I dwelt on these words, and have felt that possibly I am still outside and do not truely Christ.

my other friend at work, who was at dinner who was a not very religious protestant, asked God for a sign of his love and interest in her that night of the meal on the way home, she asked for something to run out in front of the car, 2 secs later a cat ran across the road in front.

I feel that she has accepted Christ in a more basic way, whereas My faith is intellectual, not heart felt enough, and God will not show me a sign as my heart is hardened, to defending church teachings.

Is the Holy Spirit possibly lacking in my life, and should I on the suggestion of the devout christian man, go with him the the local catholic Church charasmatic group?

can you help me with any insights?

I really appreciate your help.

M.O.P.


#2

[quote=blackfish152]In my experience being baptised is the start and each day is a constant stuggle, to reaffirm ones faith in God, to do what is right and just, every day seems like it needs a “second conversion”, rather that a “road to damascus experience” which this man has experienced.
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I for one am very glad that we’re not limited to being born again just once. Our faith teaches that we are called to constantly turn away from sin through the sacrament of Confession. I personally have experienced several distinct periods of repentance and renewal, always deepening my trust and dependence on God.

[quote=blackfish152]said infants can’t accept christ, it is parents doing it on their behalf, and you dont see any change in the lives of these kids after baptism or confirmation.
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That’s just Catholic-bashing bunk. The early Church fathers including St. Paul himself, baptized entire families when they converted believers. The early fathers had the memory of Jesus fresh in their minds. Perhaps it is your friend who is wrong, and St. Paul who was right.

[quote=blackfish152]My faith is intellectual, not heart felt enough, and God will not show me a sign as my heart is hardened, to defending church teachings.
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In my view, the strongest faith is the intellectual faith. You and people like you are the solid, steady rocks of the Church. Feelings are pure biochemistry; they disappear when we die. The intellectual soul is immortal. I wonder if this is what Jesus was referring to when he talked about the house built on sand that blows away, and the house built on solid rock? Perhaps a faith built on feeling is a narcissistic and ultimately vacuous faith.

In addition, the Catholic faith is distinct from primitive religions precisely because it is imminently reasonable. The first men to recognize the infant Christ in Bethlehem were wise men, that is to say philosophers, from the East. This is an important symbol.


#3

Think of it this way. Christianity came out of Judaism. The Jews circumcise their male babies at the age of 8 days old. At that time, the parents are, quite literally, saying that they promise to raise that child in the faith. Later, at about the age of 13, the child has his Bat Miztvah. Girls these days have a Bar Mitzvah. At that time, they are agreeing to continue in the faith.

Like I said, christianity came out of judaism. The apostles still considered themselves jews. They were kicked out of the temple for preaching Jesus Christ as the Messiah. Infant baptism came out of that. In fact, I’ve read that the early church discussed this. Some were for having the baptism when the child was 8 days old. Others said it should be done immediately,or at least as soon as possible.


#4

Life is an ongoing conversion process.

We are all at different points along the path.

Remember the Apostle said that he hopes that he has not run the race in vain, it takes a little work, like a love relationship.

There will be periods of dryness, there may be doubts. There can suddenly be a point when you will be utterly convinced in your faith and ready to die at that very moment to see God!

Then when you haven’t died you will need to forge on… :wink:

We all go through this, for Catholics and Orthodox we are saved in community, it is a journey we all take together. Your infant baptism (if it was as an infant) brought you into the saving community where we all promise to care for you, teach you and defend your faith. It is in community we are saved. The Apostles baptized entire families, from the oldest to the youngest, and they undertook their faith journies together.

Some people have been denied this life-giving faith and, through no fault of their own, believe that one is saved through emotional enthusiasm. They might think that if you have one epiphany you are converted. Then they tell you you are not because you didn’t yet have the experience.

But conversion is an ongoing, lifelong process. It will involve your head and your heart, it also requires trust. Trust in the church Christ gave you, in the same manner you would trust in love.


#5

I had feelings very similar to yours. Intellectual faith only. Then I went thru a series of life changing events and discovered the ultimate truth - Love God with you whole heart, soul, mind and body. You are correct, intellectual faith is very good, but not enough. The love of God is above all else. Plus you get an added benefit…

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you”. Jas 4:8

Jesus thru the Catholic Church is all we have to live for in our short lives. Don’t ever, not for an instant, let yourself doubt the Sacraments.

Love and peace.


#6

There have already been good points made, Baptism as the “new circumcision” and that Scripture says whole households were Baptized" It doesn’t say whole Households except for babies or “only children who are at the age of reason” I believe that sanctifying grace comes to us through Baptism when origional sin is washed away, no matter what the age or intellect. St. Paul said “see how we are saved through the water of Baptism” A person receives sanctifying grace through the Sacraments unless they intentionally try to block it out and refuse it, a baby cannot do this. One of the sad things about the protestant denominations is that with the reformation they threw out the baby with the bathwater and lost sacraments given to us by Christ so must replace them. Many use Baptism to also replace the Sacrament of penance and confirmation, so they criticize us for using Baptism for what it was actually intended for, but ignore Scripture relating to the ministry of confession and the Eucharist.

There are times when I strongly feel the presence of the Holy Sprit and I feel so filled with Grace that I have no fear or any emotion but love and peace. This is a precious gift but a person can’t experience this every moment of his life, I guess unless they are like the Blessed Mother, “full of grace” What I’m trying to say is that teh Holy Spirit is with you even when you don’t realize it. We are all given different gifts, and a person who is honestly experiencing charismatic gifts is humble about them. The fact that you weren’t given a sign has no reflection on your faith. God chooses to show us what He wants us to know or experience at a given moment. The man you speak of has his personal relationship with God and you have yours. There is nothing wrong with experincing the charismatic movement but be cautious that you stay true to the Catholic Church. A person very close to me joined a charismatic renewal group and began questioning alot of doctrine…Questioning is fine, its how we learn and grow, but if a person in this position does not stay with the firm foundation of the Sacred Tradition in the Catholic Church, they could lose sight of Truth. The man you speak of may have gifts of the Holy Spirit but is still just a man. You are no less worthy or loved by God.
God Bless you,


#7

Thanks,

I have asked a great priest, and he is taking me with this man to the charismatic prayer group. The priest has confirmed all that has been said thus far, that baptism is the start and that we are on a journey of growing in faith, and this requires patience. And although the gifts of the holy spirit may not be obvious, they are none the less indwelling, waiting for us to manifest them in our lives.

[quote=Peace-bwu]A person very close to me joined a charismatic renewal group and began questioning alot of doctrine…Questioning is fine, its how we learn and grow, but if a person in this position does not stay with the firm foundation of the Sacred Tradition in the Catholic Church, they could lose sight of Truth. ,
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I realise your worries, but I dont think I would abandon Mother Church, based on my own ignorance and doubts. Like Pilate, I ask “What is truth”. I have faith in this Church which Christ instituted, but I am trying to have increased “Faith through understanding”, with my head I try to understand, and this leads to a increasing faith in my heart.

Does anyone else have this experience?

God bless.

M.O.P.


#8

[quote=blackfish152]my other friend at work, who was at dinner who was a not very religious protestant, asked God for a sign of his love and interest in her that night of the meal on the way home, she asked for something to run out in front of the car, 2 secs later a cat ran across the road in front.
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You must be very careful when dealing with things like this. Do not test God, I know Protestants like to ask for signs such as these and they think God is speaking to them or guiding them when these strange things actually happen. What is the difference between doing something like this and flipping a coin to get an answer; is that a way to make decisions in your life? Can you not compare this to the Jewish practise of casting lots to get answers from God? Remember that the devil does exist, and does have power in this world to make things like that happen.

I have a hard time getting my point across, I just hope you get what I’m trying to say.


#9

[quote=Heath]You must be very careful when dealing with things like this. Do not test God, I know Protestants like to ask for signs such as these and they think God is speaking to them or guiding them when these strange things actually happen.
.
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I understand entirely your point. But why in this case would satan want to let this girl who felt quite far from God and religion, want to let her know that God has an interest in her life and is watching her and wants her to love him.

The devout man I refer to has also asked for signs and has received many. Including a time when he did not know what God wanted him to do, whether to go to Israel or not in the future? So he prayed that a man he knew who never comes to his house would come the next week at a certain time. Sure enough this man came at that time. I suppose you could say the devil may be at work to deceive this man, however I cant think of one evil thing which could come of that girl knowing that God is looking out for her.

best wishes

M.O.P


#10

blackfish152,

*we are on a journey of growing in faith, and this requires patience.

I have faith in this Church which Christ instituted, but I am trying to have increased “Faith through understanding”, with my head I try to understand, and this leads to a increasing faith in my heart.*

You seem to be only talking about “faith” which in your context is Protestant theology. I have tried to tell you that “faith works thru love”, “faith without love is usless”, “even the demons have faith” and “…the greatest of these is love”.

Peace and LOVE


#11

Chrisg93,

I would be interested if you could clarify what you mean by faith in my context is protestant theology? I dont understand.

Faith alone, is all that is needed, I undersatand Faith Is a term which Includes HOPE, CHARITY working in LOVE.

I know love is the greatest.

But what is wrong with striving to understand the faith of the church, as to give you increased assurance of say the sacraments.

Does this for you defeat the purpose of faith in the first place???

M.O.P


#12

[quote=blackfish152]Faith alone, is all that is needed, I undersatand Faith Is a term which Includes HOPE, CHARITY working in LOVE.

I know love is the greatest.
[/quote]

Not to get off track, but this is an interesting statement. Similar to saying that “I know that I am alone; there is no one here except for me, my friend here and my other friend both standing next to me.”

I am not trying to be facetious.

Faith, if accompanied implicitly by HOPE and CHARITY, then it is not alone.

“Faith alone” is a protestant doctrine, claiming that only Faith is needed to be saved, be justified, go to heaven. If a protestant REALLY believes that Faith means Faith, Hope and Charity, then it is linguistic gymnastics to be able to say “Faith Alone” and they are in reality very close to Catholic dogma.

I pray this helps!


#13

This has got off the beaten track somewhat but you are completly correct.
Protestant Faith alone is the broad accecptance of God’s offer of salvation. (including faith hope and charity) The catholic Church uses faith in a specific narrow theological sense,ie Intellectual faith, which is insufficient for salvation,(baltimore catechism) that is why Mother Church adds hope and good works onto the list for salvation.

Really there is no big difference, its all a difference of meaning in the words used.

God bless

M.O.P.


#14

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