Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Christian Reads

Right now I'm reading Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton. I just finished Heaven is For Real, by Todd Burpo, about his three-year-old boy visiting heaven while under anesthesia for an emergency appendectomy. Before that I was reading Forever Erma. Her piece about mothers of handicapped children made me cry, but I laughed more than anything and was inspired by her talent. Earlier on I read Scott Hahn's Rome Sweet Home about his conversion from being an anti-Catholic Protestant to a Catholic who currently writes scholarly and elucidating works on the Eucharist and many other aspects of the Catholic faith.

I related to Hahn very well, having once been very anti-Catholic myself. However, there is an important difference. As a doctor of theology who had studied extensively, he knew why he supported Luther and denounced Catholicism. I, on the other hand - like many Protestants, I suspect - simply inherited prejudice from my Protestant culture without knowing or comprehending what exactly Luther believed that was at war with Catholic doctrines (for instance, the Lutheran concept that we are justified by faith alone and that man is inherently bad or the Catholic view that, no, we are justified by faith and works and man, though broken, was created in God's image and therefore is inherently good).

I am fixing my lack of knowledge now through intense study of Scripture and the works of various Christian writers, and I am absolutely loving it. I find things in the Bible that support Protestants and Catholics - imagine that! We are all one body.

Speaking of Scripture, for years I was not reading anything but a children's Bible to my kids occasionally. During my childhood my dad encouraged his children to read Scripture, especially the Gospel, daily. During my teenage years I tackled the Old Testament and found some of it quite disturbing, actually. Then, just barely in my twenties, I married a Catholic, walked into Mass and was astounded by everything I found in the liturgy - The Creed, The Lord's Prayer, the Eucharistic Prayer - that sprang directly from Scripture. But, doubt not, I held onto my Protestant pride for years. I wish I hadn't. I wish I had read about what Catholics believe and why instead of simply enjoying the liturgy and ignoring my own obligation not to stand in a pile of ignorance.

Worse, of course, is that I fell out of the habit of reading the Bible regularly when I became a wife and mother. There was so much else to occupy me, and at the end of the day, I preferred to plop my bum down in front of the TV or tilt my mind to a good mystery tale than exert myself mentally and spiritually. And in the mornings? Heavens, it was enough to try and believe myself awake and functioning!

But then I went through RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) to be confirmed in the church the same year as my son, my oldest boy, and 10+ years after first attending Mass. Shortly afterward I became a lector and now have the great pleasure of reading the Word of God a few Sundays. Then God nudged me through two fellow Catholics to volunteer in the RCIA program. This year I gave a presentation on prayer and almost drove myself to distraction preparing for it. Reading Scripture was my preparation, asking Dad for suggestions on passages I should read. Dad told me that every person should take 10 minutes each day, just that, to read the Bible.

So God has brought me to this place where I am trying to be faithful to letting the Word settle in my heart, where I read Bible chapters to prepare for Sunday readings and broaden my understanding, where I must expose myself to the light of truth regularly in order to help capably in RCIA.

So now I've told you where I've been. I prefer this blog not feel like a ghost town, but I'm sure it regularly does of late. But I will be honest. I feel like God is pulling me on a journey, and I wouldn't think the journey was a worthy one if He were not the one guiding it. Should I write about what I learn? Absolutely! But it's a daunting thing. I find I am better at learning than spreading the Good News right now. In the future I hope to do better.


  1. Good! So, so good! It's all-too easy to lose sight of the fact that the church, in all its many denominational flavors, is, truly one body.