“Oh boy! I thought, now how much are you really after the truth? If you acknowledge this truth, it could cost you everything you have ever loved and worked for. The Catholic Church is the Church of Jesus Christ. This is the Church that was inaugurated in the Upper Room. This is the Church that has the gifts of perpetuity and incorruptibility. This is the Church of Jesus Christ, and what it teaches is truth!”Alex Jones No Price Too High: A Pentecostal Preacher Becomes Catholic, Ignatius Press
I stole the above quote from Patty Patrick, survivor and friend. It is on her blog. This man's story is an amazing one because he was a Pentecostal Preacher who decided to teach his congregation about the Early Church.
I like his story because it is so similar to mine.
I am a cradle Catholic, but I strayed so far away from the Truth that by the time I got sober in 1992 the only thing that made me Catholic was my word. I never called myself an 'ex-Catholic'....I was just a Catholic. Later I discovered I was a lapsed Catholic. Now I am a practicing one...because I am not very good at it so I have to practice practice practice every day.
Anyway, when I got sober I had no resentments against organized religion because (quite frankly) I did not even think about it. It was not on the radar for me. I had to figure out how to get up in the mornings, get dressed and go to work five days in a row so I did not have any interest in going to Mass or trying to be a good Catholic girl. Hell, I had not interest in trying to be good girl at all - I just wanted to be sober. I wanted to not be the source of pain for my family and I wanted my friends to stop talking about me like I was dead.
I was sober for a few years when it dawned on me during a step study meeting that all the stuff my first sponsor (Cajun Kenny - long may he reign) was trying to cram down my throat was the same crap I had been taught in preparation for my first Holy Communion.
So I started studying. I had a ton of questions and I found someone who never let me ask one that was stupid - instead, he would say, "Go read such-and-such. When you are done reading that, call me and we will talk".
Neither did this man ever cop out by saying "There are no stupid questions". Yes, there are stupid questions. Sometimes I am the one asking them, but they are stupid. I may get them answered, but I better be prepared to think if I am going to hang out with the crowd I admire.
What I discovered was that secular history bore out that which I had been taught by those Nuns with rulers (none of our Sisters of St Joseph ever hit anyone with a ruler, btw, but it is a popular icon and one bigots love to use. My response? Have another drink, Georgie....). If one starts going back in time one discovers that there was One Visible Church...and it was called Catholic...and the Bishop of Rome was considered the first among equals....and the healing that will take place between East and West will encompass all of this - and the word denomination? It means to detract from the whole.
So when I find myself confronted by someone who really wants to hate Catholics, I have to remember that my kind have been hated from day one. We were hated while Our Lord hung on the Cross. We were hated when He told St Mary Magdalene not to cling to Him. We were hated while we waited with Our Blessed Lady in the Upper Room and we were hated when St Ignatius was dragged through the empire on his way to martyrdom. We have been hated from the start. We have behaved badly and we have behaved well. We started the hospital system, the university system, were the patron of great artists and writers and produced the greatest philosophers the world has ever known. We have been wrong and we have been right and we have never forgotten that the source and summit of our Faith is The Eucharist.
When I attend Mass, I am not just going for good preachin'....I am going to receive His Body and His Blood because if I do not I will not have eternal life....how do I know that? He said so...and He is Truth.
So I am juggling employees who are so sick they can hardly stand it....and one of them is amazing. Her name is Jodi, she has come in despite having a sick family and today she is in even though she is sick herself. I am banishing her to her own home at 11am when another of my wonder-clerks arrives. Jodi is the way she is for one reason (even if she does not know it yet). She is a Catholic. She is not quite the Catholic-out-Loud that I am, but she is one who has that unmistakable mark on her heart and soul. It is a mark that makes it impossible for us to walk away from people in need, even when we may want to beat the living daylights out of them for being so STUPID.....
Thank you, Jodi. Thank you St. Therese....and thank you, Lord, for my life today exactly as it is...I would not change a thing, even if I could.....and thank you JAC for my flowers...you little cutie pie.