What they're missing...


#1

I finally was allowed to go to my Baptist friends’ youth group, something I have been wanting to do for years. Every single one of my friends is Baptist, and I’ve always sincerely missed the fellowship they share with each other…we all share our love of Christ with each other constantly, but I’ve always felt, as the only Catholic in the group, a little left out. They’re always together in church and missions trips, and I have very few Catholic friends my age to share that with. When I asked my parents to go in 8th grade when I first met my friends, it was an immediate no. Though I did not understand this at the time, it was because they were afraid I was too young in my apologetics as a Catholic and could be easily turned from my church. I hated this for a long time, but only this year truly began to understand it. I was suddenly faced with several pressing and difficult questions about Catholicism from my friends that I wasn’t able to answer, and had to search for on my own for answers. As I began to learn more and more about my faith, I realized how truly uneducated I was, and how easily I could have been swayed. It was then that I knew that I personally wasn’t ready to attend their youth group because I wasn’t yet able to defend and understand my own faith.
A couple weeks ago, one of my friends began pressing again that I come to their youth group, and I finally had permission.I hadn’t seen any of my friends since school got out, so I thought it would be nice to get together with them again and maybe get to do some praise and worship, so I went
There were two things I got out of this great experience. The first thing I realized is how much fellowship and witnessing Protestants dedicate themselves too. I have always known this, but never really took it in until I heard an entire room talking about it. It made me sad that, at least in my experience, Catholics are more reserved in their faiths, possibly because of the heavy discrimination we recieve…I mean, it’s one thing to be Christian, but to be CATHOLIC? OMGosh!!! I think that many of us are more hesitant to witness our faith to others because of the constant ridicule we recieve even when we aren’t witnessing. I wish this could be changed…I can’t imagine how many could be changed if we TRULY started witnessing for the God and His Catholic church as much as other churches witness.
The second thing I learned was not something I expected…I have always thought of my friends as having the strongest faiths of anyone I know, including myself. I admire their love for Christ so much, and I was eager to see their youth group and experience that kind of passion…but I was amazed when we actually began to do the “lesson” planned for that evening. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good message, and it was strong and definitely valuable…but it was so…generic, shallow almost…it could have been taken to so many different levels, but they seemed to only scratch the surface. I sat there and realized that what I had been so jealous of wasn’t really there. Grantid, it was only one meeting, but it made me feel so sad that that was all there was. One of my closest friends made a comment about being part of the body of Christ, and I wanted to just shout out about how much more there was to the body of Christ, how much more spiritual and physical it could be with the Eucharist…it was heartbreaking to think, to realize that the people I admire most in the world, who have faiths unmatched by anyone I know, could be missing so much…
and then it hit me…If only we could combine the faith and fellowship my friends have with the history, the teachings, and the love of the Catholic church…they could have soooo much more! They could experience God on SO many different levels that they’ve probably never dreamed possible. One of my friends once told me that he believed Catholic didn’t have a deep connection with Christ like other denominations had…but it’s the other way around!
This is a sad situation…I said once that I wished the whole world could be Catholic for just one day with out any biases, and then we would see how many of them came back to the church when they saw what they were lacking. It’s true…I wish, I pray, that my friends could be Catholic, to have their undying faiths strengthened even further by the Church…and still, I know it will never happen. Maybe one or two might consider it, but most if not all will never be able to experience what I have had my entire life…and it’s just by the way we were raised…I was born a Catholic and raised to be a devout Catholic, and they were born Protestant, Baptist, raised to be devout Protestant, many of them with a hate of the Catholic church…and I may never have the fellowship they have, but they may never have the blessings I have in the Eucharist.
It’s a horrible situation, I just thought I’d share.
In Him,
Britty


#2

I agree with you 200 percent. the fellow ship in the catholic churches i have been to is really poor. we like to be strangers to eachother.

What would Jesus say if he went to a Mass stood in the Back and saw all these people not fellowshiping or actually being involved with eachother at all?

I think the prots have this part right and i think that the churches in Pauls letters were like small communities with lots of fellowshiping going on.


#3

Britty,

I want to praise you for your insightfulness and your depth of faith and knowledge of the Catholic Church. If it weren’t for the youth group details, I would have guessed you to be much older! You are wise beyond your years.

One thing that makes the Catholic Church so wonderful is that its just that—catholic, which means universal. It includes everyone. There are styles of masses, bible studies and prayer groups that fit everyone. And the best part is they all have the Eucharist. No matter if the homily and music lifts you or bores you, we always have the most important part. If a baptist service lacks a good speaker or good music, they have nothing.

Your great idea of combing the faith and fellowship of your friends with the Catholic Church really already exists. There are so many vibrant Catholic youth ministries now, with bible studies, prayer nights, and social events. I know they exist because one is in my parish. Did you ever think about finding one to join or even starting one?

Also, pray for your friends. I wouldn’t assume it (conversion) will never happen. You can plant the seeds. The Holy Spirit can make them grow.

God bless you because you are a blessing to your friends.


#4

I agree with you 200 percent. the fellow ship in the catholic churches i have been to is really poor. we like to be strangers to eachother

I am a Catholic and i belong to a Catholic community the CFC-Youth for Christ and our fellowship is the best. I found lots of friends in that community and it is a fellowship with a common goal to serve GOD by helping other youth to know GOD.


#5

Hey Britty,

I’ve been to this youthgroup you speak of on several occasions. Yes it is very very shallow and most of the people there either see the problem and refuse to change or they just don’t see it! That is why it isn’t my home youthgroup.I hope that one day you can come to sam and I’s youthgroup. And yeah there will be some shallowness in places there too but mainly within individuals. I challenge you to look deeper into individuals rather than the group the individuals are in. Some people in this youthgroup you attended recently are quite uncomfortable there with the shallowness that is present there…and I pray that I or someone else will confront it soon. It is really is sad. The lessons they teach there are just a bunch of questions to make you think. Nothing solid. Nothing to bring you deeper. Please please please don’t say that what you are so jealous of isn’t really there. Look at the individuals not their church or youthgroup. That church is messed up in a lot of ways. Please before you dismiss youthgroups forever as shallow…come to mine and Sam’s. You can come see our band too!!! We’ll totally hook ya up! But yeah we should talk about this some more sometime! God Bless You and I apologize for such a bad introduction into a youthgroup.

Ryan


#6

a great little book for teens, written by Catholic teens who are also a minority among their Southern Baptist friends, is Rock Its a Catholic Thing from contemplationcornerpress.com

apologetics you can really use, answers to all the common questions and misconceptions your friends will have about the Cahtolic faith, and helps you crystallize and express your own beliefs. they also have a great Rosary guide, teens took the pictures and wrote the meditations.


#7

[quote=santaro75]What would Jesus say if he went to a Mass stood in the Back and saw all these people not fellowshiping or actually being involved with eachother at all?

I think the prots have this part right and i think that the churches in Pauls letters were like small communities with lots of fellowshiping going on.
[/quote]

I think the worshipers in the protestant churches are having an outwardly emotional experience that they share with one another. And the Catholics have more of a personal emotional experience when receiving the Eucharist.

When we are at Mass we are focused on the Liturgy of the Word and the Eucharist. If we were fellowshiping or interacting with one another (besides singing hymns, praying together, and exchanging the sign of peace) we wouldn’t have our focus on where it should be – Jesus Christ.

We fellowship after Mass when we have donuts and coffee and when we gather in our communities with our friends. It’s true that we don’t always focus our discussions on Jesus Christ but sometimes we do. Outside of the Mass is the time to be Catholic, demonstrate our faith in what we do and what we say and how we treat others. When we use ouf gifts that God gave us to visit the sick or volunteer in the community or participate in family and civic activities we are witnessing our faith.

That written, I understand the main point that is being made – that Catholics are reticent to talk about our faith in Jesus Christ because for some reason it makes us uncomfortable or different.

We come to Mass with our sins and either though the Sacrament of Confession (mortal sins) before Mass or in the Penetential prayers (venial sins) at the beginning of Mass we are able to “dump” them on our Lord. We ask for his forgiveness. This is a humbling thing to do and when we feel humbled we act humbled. When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, it is a personal and private experience. It has brought tears to my eyes at times. Admitedly, at other times I sometimes forget to even pay attention to what I am doing and my mind wanders. At those times I watch the people returning to their pews and see many heads bowed, tears in eyes, or indifference.

I think the difference comes down to how we express ourselves emotionally – not how faithful we are.


#8

Britty,

I can relate to your experience. When I was in junior high and high school, I was an active member of a Presbyterian youth group next to my Catholic Church. Our Catholic group never really got going and I was invited to the neighboring group by some friends. The only horrible experience that I had was on my first overnight group when a youth leader took me and two Catholic friends into a stairwell and started talking about how the Pope is Satan and Catholics are not Christians. To make a long story short, the youth leader was later made to apologize. She said she was told to “take us under her wing” but she didn’t really know anything about Catholicism.

After that incident, I was never specifically bothered about being Catholic and I actually enjoyed the group. We went on trips and camps and it was socially a lot of fun. But I felt the same way about the actual theological study. It was very shallow. To me it was like the difference between going to a fastfood restaurant for a quick meal or sitting down for a long, elegant meal in a beautiful setting. (This is not the most profound comparison but I was not as mature as you at the time.) I stayed true to my faith throughout the years that I was a member of the Presbyterian youth group but still enjoyed the social aspects. Although you weren’t there to convert anyone, your presence at the group may actually inspire some members to investigate what Catholicism is all about. I hope that was true in my case. You never know the influence you may be on someone just by being a nice, fun person who “happens” to be Catholic.


#9

Thanks guys…pretty much all of what you all said is exactly how I feel. And again, it’s definitely not the depth of my friends’ faiths that I am questioning, it’s the structure of their theology. It killed me, literally killed me, when my friend made that comment about being part of the body of Christ. He has one of the, if not THE, most profound and amazing faiths of anyone I have ever met, and when he said that it just made me realize how much more he could have…to be truly and physically part of Christ’s body, to share at that literal table of Christ like we do every Sunday! I just tried picturing him in Adoration of the Eucharist, and feeling a spiritual, physical connection with Christ unmatched by ANYTHING! To take his amazing faith and magnify it with the strength of the Catholic church and her teachings, it would be incredible!

Of course, they probably think the same thing about me most of the time…and again, it’s mostly just by the way we all were raised. The saddest part is that I know we’ll always somehow be divided by our two different faiths. No matter how hard each of tries to bring the other closer, we’re both just too loyal and connected to our own faiths to be able to come together completely as one.

I’m not sure really what to do now, honestly. I know that a couple of my friends (hey ryan:)) also view this site, so maybe we’ll get to talk some more and figure some things out…but it’s really just sooo sad. No matter who’s “right” in the end, we’re bothing missing out on merely the connection and fellowship we could have with each other though ONE solid faith. Division is killing God’s children, I just don’t know how it will ever change…we’ll see, He creative like that:) Thanks for all your replies:)

In Him,
Britty


#10

Britty aren’t there youth at your local RCC church to fellowship with that have strong faith like your baptist friends? Is there a youth group at your church?


#11

[quote=santaro75]Britty aren’t there youth at your local RCC church to fellowship with that have strong faith like your baptist friends? Is there a youth group at your church?
[/quote]

Oh of course!!! My youth group has disbanded for the summer, but I love going. It’s very small, and I’m usually kind of a loner there, but it’s always an amazing experience nonetheless. And I do have several Catholic friends with very strong faiths, but my closest friends, my greatest and best friends, are strangly all Protestant. I’m not sure why this is, we just kind of accidentally came together one day, and since then have never parted.
Still, my Catholic friends are few, and we don’t usually see eye to eye or hang out a lot…and it’s not because we don’t want it, we just are part of different groups of kids…and sadly, I live in a small community where I simply am in an age group where there are not a lot of Catholic kids.
But I do enjoy Catholic fellowship by attending Steubenville conferences and this weekend I will attend my first TEC (teens encountering Christ) retreat…but at home, my close Protestant friends are often the only fellowship I have with Christ…but like I said, being the only Catholic, that often leaves me left out a lot.

Like I’ve said before, God blessed me with the most faithful, encouraging, Christ-light friends I could have ever dreamed of…and they came at a perfect time and pulled me out of a place that could have been very disterous for me…and especially in my faith…they renew me everyday, and remind me of how much God is in my life. It was just at this youth group that I suddenly wanted more for them…I wanted for them to be able to experience some of the things I often take for grantid…and then I realized that, by the differences in our faiths, this would never be possible. And that’s what hit me hardest, and what made me write this post.

I love my friends more than anything in the world, and they have never encroached on my Catholicism or tried to change me, they’ve completely and totally accepted me. And I have tried to do the same…but it just made me so sad when I thought about what *could *be, and what probably won’t be…and it’s all because of the stupid division of God’s church.

I really have no idea where I’m going with all of this…it just made me sad…the fact that what I want most for them will most likely never be…the fact that they have such amazing faiths, but I believe those faiths could be so much more if they were blessed with what I have been blessed with…and the fact that these differences in our faiths will always keep us somewhat separated, and that this is not something easily changed, it’s a separation thousands of years old…I don’t know, I’ll just keep praying that God has something in mind to help bring His children together finally, and that it will hopefully happen while I’m still here to witness it.

In Him,
Britty


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