i was raised Catholic but drifted away because i didn’t know my Faith & found it much easier to “have no need for religion because i am a good person!”
i was able to be my own God, my own Pope & decide what was right & wrong, & pretty much rationalize or justify any behavior because in my mind, the ends always justified the means.
This sounds great & was easy for a while, but eventually i bent the rules so far that i believed the people i was working for had cheated me so i was justified in ‘reclaiming’ (STEALING!) the money i felt i was owed.
i ended up depressed & eventually in prison. It was there,at rock bottom that i realized there is right & wrong & there are absolutes, but how could i know them? Obviously i could not rationally decide for myself.
More importantly, i searched for the meaning of life. i had been given everything, a world class education, a loving wife & family, money & possessions, world travel…, but it was never enough!
**One day in prison, lying on my bunk at 3am unable to sleep & trying to pray (beg for help) but only the most painful & agonizing groans would come from my heart.
Romans 8:22 & 26 came into my heart;
“We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now;… Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.”**
i finally realized that it was not me who was in control, it was God. Once i accepted that fact, everything else became perfectly clear.
Initially, i was still reluctant to return to my Catholic Faith because i didn’t know Sacred Scripture & the teachings of the Church & it was much easier to go the “me & Jesus” route!
i tried to find out the Truth so i could disprove the ‘false teachings of the Catholic Church’ as many of my Protestant friends urged me to do. As i read Sacred Scripture, the Catechism, the Early Church Fathers i realized that the Catholic Church was the only place i could find the Truth, the whole Truth & nothing but the Truth!
Too many people, Catholics included, dismiss the Truth of the Catholic Faith because it’s members & clergy are all sinners & are all flawed human beings. Even Jesus’ chosen Apostles betrayed, denied & abandoned Him at the hour of His Passion & Death, but that did not diminish the Perfection of God & His Word!!!
Being intellectually honest is not easy, but it is what Jesus calls us to be. My Protestant friends were angry & even some family members who were raised Catholic, but were poorly catechized & did not understand what the Church teaches, ridiculed me as being overzealous & desperate?
Long story short, choosing Catholicism is never popular or easy, but it is the Truth of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. Only Jesus provides us with the meaning of life, the key to fulfillment, Love. Not ‘love’ as our society defines it 'sex, power & possessions, but Agape Love, true total self giving Love.
i still struggle & fail daily, but at least now i know of the Love & Infinite mercy of Jesus & strive to do the best i can.
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!