I am not sure if this is the right place to post this but here it goes. I have a sister who is 50 y/o and left the Catholic Church about 25 years ago. She belongs to a non-denominational church which is very fancy, has an auditorium better than most high schools, food cort, youth rect center w/refreshment bar and band stand. I talked to her about our differences a few years ago and got nowhere but it was a civil discussion. I just started a dialogue again and she says the reason she left the church initially was because she went to a protestant church and it was alive while the Catholic church she used to attend seemed dead and people just going through the motions. She said that at the present time she doesnt believe the Eucharist is the body,blood soul & divinity of Christ, she also doesnt believe on confession to a priest and also does not believe in purgatory.
Here is her latest reply to me:
If I was witty enough I would have ranted on as if I was highly offended by your first message and given you a heart attack and written just kidding at the end, but I didn't think of it...darn! :)
I will say that over the last year or so I've come to believe that God is much bigger than any one religion that is out there today. I think He is much more concerned about where our hearts are and the process we go through becoming more like Christ than any particular ritual we perform. That said, can you become more like Christ living in sin and not examining your heart and harboring bitterness, no, but do I think you need to go to a priest to receive forgiveness if you are truly sorry and if you've offended someone and asked them for forgiveness, no, but if that helps you examine yourself and confess to God, good for you, but I also think you can go straight to God. I know as a kid I found myself coming up with a laundry list of things to tell the priest just so I had something to say. It really wasn't connected to a repentant heart. I do think there are certain things he commands us to do which are found in the Bible, so much about loving others as well as our enemies, caring for the poor, forgiving others that I tend to find myself getting caught up in those things that seem to affect my life every day.
I'm sorry I'm not being cohesive at all in this. Anyway what I started out saying was that I've learned to appreciate that some people enjoy a more liturgical service and I, at one time, could never understand that because I so much like to praise God with singing.
There's one song I'd like you to listen to that kinda describes that talking about when the singer gets to heaven. It's called I Can Only Imagine and the chorus says this "I can only imagine what my eyes will see when you are before me surrounded by your glory what will my heart feels? Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still? Will stand in your presents or to my knees will I fall? Will I sing hallelujah? Will I be able to speak at all? I can only imagine."
The point I'm trying to make is that I think they are all appropriate and you see all of them in the Bible. Isaiah said Woe is me, I am a man of unclean lips. David disrobed and danced before the Lord. I think our God is far greater than our own individual understandings of him. It is kinda cool thinking that others of like faith are reading the same passage all around the world but I also think it's cool to think that there are others all around the world worshiping God focusing in on all the other parts of the Bible as well. I wish I could express to you what it's been like for me when we were in India before to be singing songs of worship in a language I didn't even know but knowing that these people I was singing with were my brothers and sisters in Christ and we were worshiping the same Jesus!
Then another time when we were working at a soup kitchen in Philly for men, they had to attend a church service first before they could eat. It was humbling to come from our high tech church to this room full of bums off the street and a call and response chant broke out as a man from the front began and the congregation would respond with nothing but clapping for instruments but I felt God's Spirit so powerfully there.
God will work where He chooses to work be it a Catholic Church or a Protestant Church or an underground gathering in some closed country.
Yes, the alter is similar to the Jewish tradition with the animal sacrifices. All of that was pointing to Jesus as you said who was the perfect sacrifice. The only one who could pay the price for our sins and I'm so grateful!
Look up the song if you get a change on You Tube. I gotta get something done her today too!
Can someone help me with what I could say to convince her that God wants her in the Catholic church. She thinks that any Christian religion is the same as the next and God doesn't care. I would appreciate your input. Thanks!