Saturday, February 2, 2013
Before I understood the magnificent gift of Mystery as it relates to the Mass, Reconciliation, Marriage, Holy Orders ~ all the Sacraments, I understood I was a baptized child of God. In my pre-Catholic Christian life, my focus was upon Jesus alone. That is not to say that the Bible was not important to me. It was. However, it was to Jesus my heart yearned, and to Him alone. It was this yearning that led me to search the Holy Scriptures each day and to pray for a closer walk of faith with Him.
When I read the Bible I read it as His word to me. It was not just another religious book. Nor was it a book so unintelligible that I needed someone to guide me through it from verse to verse. It was not a book of fables or fairy tales. It was a love letter from God. It was a manual of how best to love Him.
As a Protestant congregant I was exposed to exegesis (interpretation, exposition and explanation) of Bible passages by my pastors. A section of Scripture and similar passages were read during sermons, each text used to focus a central point for the congregation to ponder or to view as an exhortation. The messages were not so much telling about a subject or issue, but rather how to flesh out what the Scripture was saying. And like any homily, the Holy Spirit used them to get my attention.
Because I read my Bible every day I had developed an ear to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. This is what happens to all Christians as they diligently seek the Sacred Heart of Christ.
I do not know how other Protestants have lived their lives of faith, but that is how I lived my life of faith. And it was that way that led me to consider the claims of the Roman Catholic Church during the years after my husband decided he must answer the Lord's call to be confirmed a Catholic. My story of that part of my journey is posted at: http://www.protestantandcatholicatcriticalmass.blogspot.com
What I address in the above blog title is what occurred to me earlier this week. During the last several months I had slowly lost interest in reading my Bible. I had developed an almost lackadaisical attitude. This awful attitude crept into my life through many small steps. One by one they took a toll: I was too tired to read one night, or too rushed in the morning to take time, or health issues left me unable to see the pages clearly, or my interests or the needs of others seemed to be more important. It was an attitude I had been fighting for a year. One I had taken to confession more than once and one that was binding me to a joyless spirit. This attitude deceived me into thinking, "Reading the Bible was ok but not that important." As if the love letter of Holy Scripture was for someone else and not me.
Although I attended Mass each week and went faithfully to a Bible study at our church, I had not experienced an in-your-face exhortation to question my actions, and I needed one. I heard good messages from our priests: to think right, act lovingly, participate in the Sacraments and the life of the Church, and my community. These are good things.
But yesterday as I listened to a radio preacher I suddenly knew what had happened. My eye had grown dim, my ear dull and my heart cold because I had ignored the primary source of Christian teaching ~ The Word of God.
The Blessed Holy Spirit needed to prick my conscience by sending me phrase after phrase of exhortation to renew and refresh me. It was too much. The words were so all encompassing with heavenly love I almost wanted to push them away. It was like trying to gulp down great swallows of cold water on a sweltering day. I turned off the radio for a moment, only to quickly turn it on again to hear: It was time I acted as I ought, and make no more excuses.
How could it happen that God would speak to me through my hardening shell of indifference? Perhaps it was His answer to the silent pleas I’d made to Him for help. I needed God's grace to free me from what had become a bad habit.
I am thankful the Holy Spirit moved on me to turn on the radio and randomly seek a station. Though Jesus has placed me within the Roman Catholic Church, He can still -- and He does – use whatever means available to call me to take up anew my faith journey with Him ~ loved and beloved.