This past week, and for the reason of talking about aspects of Catholic faith, I ventured a fact about the Catholic doctrine on sin to a Charismatic friend of mine. I noted to her that the Catholic Church obligates us to attend Sunday Mass. Should we not do so, it is considered a mortal sin and we must exclude ourselves from receiving the Eucharist until we have confessed to this negligence and sin.
Now my friend, like many Christians, has to work hard to give respect to the Catholic Church. After several small skirmishes between us over the matter of doctrine and practice, I found myself delivering a strong rebuttal on the common respect due Catholicism. I had learned at New Hope Ministries that Catholicism is more than frowned upon by many practicing Christians; as if it were some cave of lepers from the time of Jesus. So I was not surprised when what I received back for my offering was a look of disapproval and a dodge from discourse. Continue reading Purpose & Purity – The Obligation to Christ’s Church
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Along with Kathryn, I attended a seminar at St. Peter the Apostle Church a few nights back in Naples, Florida. The speaker was Father Matthew Linn, a Jesuit and healing therapist from Minnesota. He asked the question at the end of his talk, “Can you think of what you have been most grateful for this past year?
My answer was immediate and simple, and also a little shocking for me. “I was most grateful for the fact that God had revealed a truth to me about human choice and human willingness.” I say shocking in the fact that this realization seemed to come so easily to a person who lived his adult life not really defining gratitude, let alone coming to any conclusion on something spiritual and meaningful.
The result of this revealed understanding – in the physical – has translated into an incredible deepening of my spiritual relationship with God; His Word, and His will through the reading of the Old and New Testaments, and an intense study in Philosophy and its relationship with Theology. In the physical, it brought me an exercise routine this year – walking – that has improved my overall health, and has brought about a loss in weight of twenty-eight pounds. In the physical, I am being led to walk the Camino de Santiago; to fulfill the death of my past and ensure the life of my future in God. Continue reading Choice or Willingness – Part Two
What I Was
This is the first real opportunity I have taken to accumulate my letters, notes and ramblings on the birth of my spirit – ‘born-again’ – as many would call it. Where is it in the Bible? Yes, in John 3:3, Jesus answers Nicodemus with, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” Better late than ever, I would say, as my birth came in my 57th year of breathing air upon this earth.
I’ve always had trouble in adopting the term ‘born-again’ to refer to what happened to me. The simple truth is that I had no spiritual life within me; up to the rather dramatic call that God made upon me on January 13th, 2009. Rather I was a man of empirical evidence, logic, and reason. I not only did not know whether a god or gods could exist, but I couldn’t imagine why there would be a need for a god or gods, or even care about such matters. The meaning of life was towards the bottom rung of priorities, unless of course its contemplation could advance my goals. No, I wasn’t one of those totally self-centered, amoral humans that we all know. I had been told many times by various sorts of people of my good moral and caring character. Moderation in all things was my motto. You might say I was extreme about moderation. I could do good as easily as I did evil. I was pious as well as a sinner.
Agnostic? Certainly. Atheist? If pressed for a strong opinion. However, I do remember that at times I could spin the pantheistic formula for the world. God is everything; the ecology of community of all inanimate and animate things and creatures working together in wonderment of self and sustaining creation and transition. In other words, the term God is a condensation of nature in work, and an acknowledgment of nature’s omnipotence. Religion was scientific ignorance, and science is the new religion. It resolved all things without and material that this body and mind of mine had to work with in this world, except it had no answer to all of the things within and immaterial that left me in perpetual wanting of something beyond my grasp. Continue reading My Testimony of the Birth of My Spirit