I’d like to thank David over at mycatholictube.com for inviting me to share my conversion story. If you are new to my blog, it is a good place to start. It is an in depth interview of my life and conversion to the Catholic Faith.
I consider it a tremendous honor that people would want to hear it. My prayer is always, that Christ would use my life and my experience to draw others closer to Him. Here is a link to my interview —–> Here.
a transformative change of heart; especially: a spiritual conversion
As a Catholic, my conversion is ongoing. It is not something static. I am still becoming a Catholic.
My journey to the Catholic Church began in 2012. Each day since has been an opportunity to grow in the image and likeness of Christ. I’ve done a fantastic job on some days. On other days, I haven’t done so well. I learn more from the days I fail, than the days I succeed.
I think I would like to blog about those ups and downs some more.
I started this blog in August of 2012. I wrote more than I ever thought possible. I may blog here occasionally or cross post. However, this blog has really come to an end.
I’m not blogging enough.
I haven’t been blogging at all. I have been thinking a lot. (I know, I know! Thinking does not count.)
I’ve been thinking about habits and sin, progress and not perfection, saints and Saints. I wondered out loud the other day, “When did the pursuit of Virtue become undesirable?” I have protestant friends who constantly claim VICTORY in Jesus’ name. Often I seem to be surrounded by people content to stay in the shallow depths of feeling good.
I sat in adoration the other day. I spoke one sentence from the depths of my heart.
“Lord, I don’t want to be such a jerk anymore.” I cried quite a bit after that. It is great to feel good. It is probably awesome to proclaim victory over sin. I’m a realist, I guess. I’m not sure that will ever happen. What I have noticed is a change of heart. A big one. (not a perfect one.) An aversion to (some) sin. A sense of guilt around others. An honest desire to do better. An attempt to (however feeble) to be the best me I can be.
I trace all of it back to that first encounter with the Eucharist.
I realized last night that I never discerned vocations in my life. I really don’t know if it matters or not. I’m single, celibate. I’ll either be doing that or be a monk? a priest? It doesn’t really sound all that exciting to think about. Not to mention I am a little lazy. And set in my ways. And lazily set in my ways being lazy.
I will do something I do very well. Sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
This is what I feel when I go to confession…once I am in there. Prior to the moment in the picture above, it can feel like a fight for my eternal soul (at times). I usually go to confession aka the Sacrament of Reconciliation at least every two weeks. I feel better when I do. I’m human. I make mistakes. I sin….fairly often. So do you….but that really isn’t my business most of the time.
Going to confession can feel embarrassing. Especially when I end up confessing the same things over and over and OVER. Not long ago, I ended up in the confessional a train wreck of guilt and shame. I was confessing the same thing, AGAIN. It hurt, I was ashamed, and I really did not want to talk about it. (Side note: I prefer face to face confessing. It is an option, even in the confessional. One side, you go behind a screen. The other side is an extra chair and you are face to face with a priest.) Back to the story at hand…
I was a ball of pain, pity, and agony. I asked Father Jim one question. “Why should I confess this sin and that I am contrite when I KNOW at some point soon, I am going to do this again?” I’ve been confessing this sin(s) for quite a while. It gets frustrating. The nice thing about going to confession face to face with the same priest is that you can build a relationship with him. Fr. Jim knows me pretty well. He looked me in the eye and said, “Do not presume to understand the depth and breadth of God’s mercy. Keep confessing, keep avoiding the occasion of sin.” He said some other things, but I want to keep those little treasures close to my heart.
I cannot begin to tell you all the wonderful things about going to confession. I can tell you one thing I have learned though. The former Catholics, the fallen away, the “recovering” Catholics, the angry ones, and the ones who grudgingly admit they were raised catholic seem to have one thing in common. They are hostile towards the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I understand and am not judging them. I cannot let my struggles guilt and shame me into staying away from Christ. The struggle can be difficult. Once I am in the confessional, my fear slips away. I am able to admit my faults and mistakes. I am truly sorry and regretful. I detest them. I am human though, and very frail. I screw up. All. the. time. I don’t do it on purpose, knowing I can confess it later. That would be a blessing in a way. No. I wake up, do my best, and fail. Everyday. I believe that when I confess my sins to the priest, that Christ is standing there. The absolution given by the priest only has worth because Christ gave it to the priests, here.(John 20:23)
Prior to any sacrament of reconciliation it is customary to examine ones conscience. There are numerous guides, checklists, apps, and suggestions for doing this. All of them have one thing in common. They only work as well as the person doing it is willing to be honest. I have used several. I was recently given a different one called, “A Contemporary Adult Guide to Conscience for the Sacrament of Confession” by, Fr. Richard J. Rego. Its brevity belies the wealth of information it contains to help one on their journey to reconciliation.
Here is a quote I would like to share with you
…”Frequent reception of Holy Communion without the practice of frequent confession leads to a sterile and ritualistic reception of the Lord Jesus. these two great sacraments ought to go hand in hand. In reality, the more on receives our Lord in Holy Communion, the more he should realize his own unworthiness and his own inner need to be cleansed in the Sacrament of Penance…The more we receive the Sacrament of Penance the more we understand our own helplessness and human weakness..our complete dependence on the Savior.”
This is proving very true for me. I realize more as each day passes, just how much I need Christ in my life.
If you have been avoiding going to confession, I urge you to go. Lent is coming. That is a great time of year to go. If you are scared to go, take someone (me) with you. You can also call your (a) priest and make an appointment. I pray that you go.
I just ran across THIS article. I had no idea Edgar Allen Poe had written a hymn/poem about Mary.
As a quick reminder to my friends, this is the Angelus Prayer:
V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with Thee;
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen
V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done unto me according to thy word.
Hail Mary, etc.
V. And the Word was made Flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary, etc.
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
LET US PRAY
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Read more: Here!
Last weekend I went on a CRHP retreat. (pronounced chirp) It is an acronym for Christ Renews His Parish. It is a 2 day retreated, segregated by sex. It is a renewal weekend. A time to remember who we are in Christ.
This last Wednesday, was what I refer to as our decompression session. Time is given for those who want to share about their experience. This is extended to both those who went on the retreat and those who helped with it.
From last weekend to Wednesday, I am amazed at how similar all of us men are. We all have our own crosses that are distinctly unique. The feelings and experiences that go with them mirror the same themes of pain, lack of trust, mediocrity, and more. I really didn’t have any intentions of sharing my “stuff”. The theme of greater risk equaling a greater reward is still running rampant. I took my leap and shared with the entire group that I am a celibate gay male. I’ve had blow back before, revealing my sexuality in religious settings. I didn’t Wednesday night. For this, I am truly grateful. There are many preconceived notions about homosexuality. Not just within the church, but from without as well. I cannot battle them all. I can however be open and honest in my journey with Christ.
I am a firm believer that conversion is an ongoing process. At this moment it is a refreshingly bright experience. It isn’t always. Sometimes being refined by God’s love feels like a furnace.
The next 12 weeks I have the opportunity for some faith formation with the men from CRHP. I am looking forward to it. I need it. My 3 closest friends are female. That is fine. I do need some male friendships though. Call it a hunch.
One thing I was reminded of this weekend is just how male I truly am. I really don’t like opening up to other men. Expressing feelings isn’t on my bucket either. That doesn’t mean I don’t think I am a man, or not man enough. It was just a little detail, a reminder, that just like 30 other guys, I’m human and I am seeking Jesus.
I just saw this. Not bad for a very neglected blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 710 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 12 trips to carry that many people.