In honor of the International Day of Yoga I assumed one pose and that was: curled up on the couch with Miss Lucy Dawg, surfing the web, researching yoga for something I want to write and to further my understanding. I’m not ready to write in depth about it yet, but as a former new ager and one who studied yoga longer than I practiced the asanas, I’ll go on record to say, as I’ve said many times before: Yoga is emphatically NOT compatible with any form of real Christianity. Sure, you’ll find lots of Christians who will argue that it is compatible, and you’ll find yoga and other forms of occultism offered in many ostensibly Christian places by many people who are ostensibly Christian, even in religious houses where people are ostensibly consecrated to the Christian religious life.Continue reading
Been a long time since I’ve posted here. Yes, I’m still alive. Yes, the blog is still alive. In my mind, anyway, even if I haven’t posted in a while. A death in the family and tending to family matters left me with not much time or energy for writing here or anywhere else. But things are getting better and I hope to be back to at least semi-regular writing and blogging soon.
In the meantime tomorrow is a very special day for me: the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary. If you aren’t familiar with the story of the Battle of Lepanto and the role of the rosary and the Blessed Virgin Mary in that battle, you can read more here and here.
Thank you for reading. I hope you’ll enjoy your visit. God bless you! :)
I posted a brief version of my conversion story on the About Me page a while back. But during a conversation here on the blog someone (Hi, Lauretta!) asked me what drew me to Catholicism. I don’t know if she knew what she was letting herself in for, but I wrote a few paragraphs by way of reply and thought I’d share that reply in a post of its own (slightly edited because I can’t ever just copy/paste anything without editing it and because it’s a post now and not a reply). Bear in mind that even though this goes into more detail than the About Me page does, I’m still leaving out a lot. I didn’t go into all the various false paths and blind alleys and dead ends I wandered into along the way before I found Him Who is The Way, the Truth and the Life. So without further ado, here’s the story of my conversion, take two.
My Conversion Story: What Drew Me to Catholicism
Scott Hahn played a large part in my conversion (and I got to tell him that when I met him at Samford University a while back). His conversion story was out on cassette tape then and somebody gave me a copy of it or we had it at the Catholic bookstore where I was working. While I was a Buddhist, I might add. Yes, you heard that right. While I was still a Buddhist. Had been for many years, though I was raised Methodist. But I had many questions as a child and young adult and I never heard answers that were satisfying to my heart or my mind, so I went on a long journey of exploration and experimentation. And when I say long, I mean long! Forty years (counting my whole life up until I finally heard the call) of searching for truth and finding glimmers and tantalizing hints here and there and yet I knew that I had not found IT and I didn’t even know what IT was, only that I had not found it.
In the meantime a close friend of mine had decided to get serious about her faith or, rather, the faith of her grandfather who was Catholic. She went through the RCIA and got very active in the Church. And since we did everything together back then, I got very active in the Church right along with her, helping with the music side of things, playing guitar for the youth group when they sang at Mass, washing dishes and cleaning up after Lenten meals, things like that.
On the way home from work one day I happened to spot a little Catholic bookstore. Aha, I thought, I’ll have to tell my friend! I dropped in to explore a few days later and fell headlong into an entire world that I had not even suspected existed.
I started working there as a volunteer without any thought of converting, mind you. But I had volunteered to put the books in order (they were just placed any old way on the shelves and that drove me crazy!), and to put the books in order I had to at least read a little bit of them to see what kind of books they were. So I read a little of this kind of theology and that (who knew there were different kinds?), a little Church history, the lives of a few saints, a few of the great spiritual writers, some Fathers of the Church, some apologists and some Bible studies. Then I discovered Scott Hahn’s tape sets. I was hooked! Fascinated! When I became the buyer for the store, I started stocking every tape set of his I could get hold of. And listening to them over and over. Thrilling stuff!
And then my friend and I got into an argument. She said that I should be Catholic and I was perfectly happy as a Buddhist. Even though I was still searching for the ultimate truth and was beginning to suspect that the Church might have at least some of that truth. (Oy, how hard-headed could I be?) Then the new Catechism was published and we started carrying stacks of them at the store. Couldn’t keep them in stock. And everywhere study groups were popping up and my friend mentioned that her parish was holding study classes on the Catechism. And I shocked her by asking if I could attend the classes with her. Well, why not, I said, I’ll just collect another religion if nothing else. That was what I was thinking but God had different plans.
The class was led by a facilitator who somehow somewhere sustained an injury early on and the parish priest took up where she left off. And the class really took off, too. How mysterious are the ways of the Lord! The priest was from Ireland and had been in this country for many years, a good faithful devout knowledgeable priest. And he made Catholicism come alive for us! That was one of the best summers of my life and by summer’s end I went to the priest to ask for instruction. Our instruction class only had four people in it, we didn’t do the RCIA, just a simple talking about the teachings of the Church and what it means to be, to live as a Catholic.
I was received into Holy Mother Church at the Easter Vigil in 1996. I was on fire then. I’m on fire now. I have my struggles but the good Lord and His Church help me through them. My struggles are not with the Church but with myself. I accept all that the Church teaches and I wouldn’t change a thing even if I could. Would that more Catholics would embrace their faith and live it! But I know many who do. Sometimes I wish I had grown up Catholic but I realize that God can use even the stupid things I did to bring good out of them.
So, in answer to the question, what drew me to Catholicism, I’d have to say: Truth. And He Who is the Truth. In Catholicism I discovered the Church and the Church led me to Christ. I also discovered the Blessed Mother and she also led me to Christ. I discovered the Catholic interpretation of Scripture and Scripture, read in the Church at Mass and interpreted by the Church, also led me to Christ. The Rosary led me to Christ. The Divine Mercy devotion and teachings led me to Christ. Devout Catholics led me to Christ. Thanks be to God! May nothing ever separate me from Him or His Holy Church as long as I live! Amen!
Since the HHS Mandate was foisted upon us, I’ve been told many times that I can be a Christian all I want…as long as I keep it to myself and limit it to worship inside the church building. But is that what it means to be Christian? Yes, worship on Sunday (or daily for those who go to Daily Mass) is part of being Christian. But can we reduce Christianity to that one hour on Sunday (or seven hours a week for the Daily Mass attendee)?
For me being Catholic Christian is what I am at the very heart of my being. Catholicism shapes my thoughts and desires and I seek to live my faith through every moment I am alive; even when I fall short of that goal, the goal remains. Saying that I’m free to worship in the church building on Sunday but not free to live according to the teachings of Christ and His Church is absurd. The whole point of attending Mass and receiving grace in the Sacrament of the Eucharist is to be enabled to bring the light of Christ out from within the gathering and into the world where darkness reigns, for Christ to act upon me and make me into a new creation, to fill me with new life. A participation in His Divine Life. But what I’m hearing from various people is that I should keep that light within the sanctuary, that it has no place out in public where — horrors! — someone might see it!
I don’t demand that others be Catholic Christian. I don’t demand that they talk about atheism in the privacy of their homes but never around me. I listen to atheists preach at me nearly every day of my life. They witness to me, they evangelize me, they try to convert me. I fully expect them to come to my neighborhood, knocking on doors and inviting folks to the local atheist potluck supper and tent meeting any day now. And will I tell them to keep their un-worship to themselves? No! I won’t!
Truth is, I ‘d like to see what kind of party they throw. I might even take a covered dish.
EWTN’s The World Over focused last week on the HHS Mandate, not surprisingly (see video below or watch on YouTube). I finally got to watch it tonight (as I type this, as a matter of fact). Make no mistake: this is not merely a Catholic issue. Everyone’s freedom and liberty and right to conscience is about to go out the window if this mandate is allowed to stand. Goodbye, Liberty, Hello, Brave New World. Unless we stand up and speak out and say NO NOW!
If you don’t want to listen to the Newt Gingrich segment, watch the first segment with Michael Warsaw, CEO of EWTN which is suing over this outrageous mandate, and then fast forward to Fr. Sirico of the Acton Institute, and then watch the Rep. Chris Smith segment. Then learn more and share all of this with friends and family. United we can make a difference!
I haen’t seen a movie in a theater since “Sherlock Holmes” was playing. But tonight I splurged and went with friends to see The Rite. I’m going to wait until I’ve had a little time (to think, read, pray, pray, and, oh, did I mention, pray?) before I try to write a more in-depth review. I want to do justice to this film. My first impression? It’s good. I want to see it again. I’ve been doing some research tonight and downloaded the book. Look for the actual review in a couple of days (give or take one or two).
Rating The Rite
In General: 5 Stars for a Ripping Good Romp That Made Me Jump (for scaring the you-know-what out of me and making me throw my popcorn on the ladies in the next row).
Representing Catholicism: 4 Stars and Better Than I’d Expected (and the priesthood was unexpectedly respected!).
Taking Evil Seriously: 5 Stars for The Conversations and Soul-Searching Provoked (and inspiring me to an even deeper commitment to resisting the devil and his culture of death with all my heart and mind and to my very last breath).
Well, I’m not a catechist. Not yet, anyway. But I’ve been grousing about the deplorable state of catechesis in our parishes for a long time now and my theologian friend asked me today, “Why don’t you do it?”
Do what, I said.
“Be a catechist. You could even train catechists.”
You’ve got to be kidding, I said. Continue reading