Wednesday, March 2, 2011


A few years ago, I became friends with a man who was studying to be a deacon in the Anglican church. He called that the "Holy Catholic" church.  He called us the "Roman Catholic" church.  Unfortunately, he knew more about my church than I did.  I never successfully argued with him.  He could quote chapter and verse to defend himself.  He could tell me about the Council of Nicea and other details of my religious  DNA of which I knew little or nothing.  He had particular disdain for my "brand" of religion and many of its practices.  And I never could defend it.  It pains me to say that.

I started my study at the Catholic Biblical School after having known him.  He really showed me how little I knew.  I wanted to not be so ignorant of my faith.

In these last four years, I have immersed myself in the Holy Bible and literature about it.  I have learned much.  And I have learned how little I know.  I have barely scratched the surface.  As I am in my 60th year, I pray I don't run out of time too soon.  I feel that I am now where I should have been in early adulthood.    But I am grateful to even be here because it is a long way from where I have been.

The relationship with the above referenced man also makes clear to me that God does indeed write straight with crooked lines.  Here was a man who was cranky, argumentative, and cock-sure about everything that came forth from his mouth.  His intentions toward me were less than pure.   And yet, he truly motivated me to do something different.

I am so grateful that God sometimes has spoken to me in my own limited vernacular.  It seems he has bestowed so much grace from some really puny attempts I have made.  I hope to be able to improve my efforts, my motivation, and the purity of my heart.   This is my heart's desire.


  1. Amen, MC! As a convert, I feel the same way. I think if we studied our faith our whole lives, we would never run out of things to learn. Good for you for taking that course! I am simply hoping to read Faith of the Early Fathers, by William Jurgens during Lent. IF I can find it at the library. And go from there. As a convert, I like to be able to bridge the gap for other protestants, when the situation arises.

    Your friend sounds like that clanging symbol in first Corinthians. And God used it all for good. How wonderful!

  2. ' His intentions toward me were less than pure. And yet, he truly motivated me to do something different. '

    'And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose.'
    Rom 8:28 (English revised version).

  3. Whenever I encounter someone like your former friend, I simply remind myself that the most important things we must know about our faith cannot be learned with a brilliant mind and a hardened heart. I still think it's a good thing to learn all one can, but so long as your heart is in the right place and his isn't, it might still be a frustrating conversation (not necessarily with him, but with those like him).

  4. Oh he sounds like a jerk. I too identify with the lack of understanding Roman Catholicism, mostly from debating Evangelicals on internet sites. It dawned on me how little I actually understood. We Catholics I think focus more on being holy (through prayer, mass, and the sacrements) than in intellectually understanding our religion. For the past two years I have been on a mission to understand R.C. and the various Protestant denominations. I've bought a couple of college level courses, bought Scott Hahn tapes, visited internet sites, and religiously watch The Journey Home on EWTN. In no circumstance do I consider myself an expert, but I finally do get it, or at least I feel I do. As you can see from some of my comments I probably know more about the catechesis than ways of worship. You guys are really teaching me the worship part. ;)

    Some places in addition to The Journey Home I recommend to learn from are Catholic Answers, Word on Fire, Lighthouse Catholic Media (for lecture downloads), and Why I Am Catholic. If you google all those you should be able to find them.

    Oh, one last thing. Don't put the Eastern Orthodox in the same catagory as the Protestants. Theologically they are nearly identical to R.C. They just have different customs in worship that developed over the centuries. For instance they too have transubstantiation. It's my great hope that the Eastern Orthodox and R.C. will one day reunite to reform the original church.

    Great blog Mary-C.