Friday, June 25, 2010

I Am a Catholic Christian

I was a cradle Catholic, or at least I was raised as a Catholic from my birth.  However, I took a sabbatical leave, as it were for about 10 years, in my rebellious twenties, until one day, as I stood in my kitchen with my wife, we both heard the voice of God speaking 3 words to us: "Go to Church."  Since life was very trying at the time, we eagerly obeyed that voice that we knew was His.

Since then, unlike most Catholic Christians I have been catechised, to a large extent by my involvement in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, which led me to study scripture and to read about and understand Catholic Apologetics.  Unlike our Protestant brothers and sisters, a large percentage of whom live with their bibles tucked under their arms and/or embedded into their minds, we tend to get our faith hits from attending mass if we so choose, not from falling in love with God, in His Holy Trinity.

This is not as it should be.  Our faith, Our Catholic Faith, is far too rich to be left to chance.  It is a beautiful heritage that our fallen away family both inside the Church and dear believers outside the Church are missing, and we, if we do not open ourselves up to God in our lives on a minnute by minute basis, are missing as well.

I have been engaged in a dialogue of sorts with a fundamentalist Reformed Christian brother from Williams Lake BC, who was raised in the Catholic Church, but was catechised after experiencing the presence of Jesus in his life, and left the Church.  He is very knowledgeable about the bible, and believes that it is important to share his faith with others.

I admire that in him, and his unwavering faith.

However, he has taken it upon himself to share the good news under the moniker Small Town Guy, with Father Tim Moyle over at the Where the Rubber Hits the Road blog.  My understanding of what I have read of his comment postings is that he feels compelled to save us from the Whore of Babylon, or as he abbreviates it, the RCC - that would be the Roman Catholic Church.

He does so by quoting bible scriptures, which he knows well, but does so ad nauseum, so where I want to know about him and his faith, so I can understand him, I get more scripture.  I really do want to know the real him.  I am fascinated by his faith journey.

When not quoting scripture, he references Loraine Boettner, a well known, long since deceased, Protestant apologist, who took it upon himself to write categorical denunciation of the Catholic Church.  I must say that all of the criticisms of the teachings of the Catholic Church are well researched (to a point), and well reasonsed, in the context in which they are written, except that they start from a bias.  When you know the answer to the question you are writing about before you start to write, you frame your answer accordingly, and this is how it is with Protestant apologetics.

When Luther effected the schism in the Catholic Church, centuries back, the protesters threw out the baby with the bath water.  I had planned to write that Luther executed the schism, and that would have been incorrect.  It is my opinion, one that I think I can well support, that the Catholic Church was complicit directly and indirectly in this schism, and must carry a great deal of the burden for grieving God's Holy Spirit at that particular time, and since then.

Those who began the protest against certain aspects of the Catholic Church, many of them worthy of heart felt protest, ignored the rich historic legacy and tradition of faith that had animated the early Church, in part because so little of it was evident in the Church of the time.  Yet, it is the relationship that the Apostles, and His mother had with Jesus that formed the basis of the teachings of the early Church, and indeed formed the basis for the discernment of what scriptures were to form the Bible.

We Catholics bear much of the responsibility for the separation that exists among Christians, and we Catholics must do all that we can to heal this division.  It is not just the job of Pope Benedict, though he is worthy of the task, and well suited to do his part. 

We must know our Church, her teachings, her devotions, but above all we must know Him who died to set us free from sin and death, and His Holy Spirit, who wants to teach us all things that are worthy of Knowledge and fill us with the Wisdom we need for our day to day journey to the foot of the Cross.

If we can present the truth, the Catholic truth, as cogently and as well researched as our separated brethren, then we can walk arm in arm to meet Jesus.


Philip Wheelan said...

'When you know the answer to the question you are writing about before you start to write, you frame your answer accordingly, and this is how it is with Protestant apologetics.'

Surely that very same argument may well be thrust our way? Bertrand Russell thought much the same of the Catholic philosophy/theology of Aquinas and concluded that: 'There is little of the true philosophic spirit in Aquinas.'

Arguments, whilst edifying and valuable for our own formation and that of others in some certain circumstances, rarely convert so well as that witness which has completely devoted itself in love to the service God. The fruits of that self giving are surely far more valuable as a part of that conversion experience than our reasoning on its own account.

Michael Brandon said...

Very Thoughtful comment, Philip.

I agree with you. My point was mainly that as Catholic Christians, we know far too little about our faith, and if you don't know it, it is hard to live it.

Self giving means nothing if you do not know the self you are giving.

Thank you and God Bless You


Philip Wheelan said...

Of course; you are quite right. I was, by the by, touched by the description of your re-conversion experience with your wife. It's a shame so few people are willing to share theirs.
My prayers to you and your wife - please remember me in yours too! I'm off to seminary this September and reckon I could use every prayer thrown my way!
God Bless,

Michael Brandon said...

Thank you, Philip.

Please provide me a bit more information so I can pray appropriately, like what seminary you will be attending, etc.

You can mail me directly if you would like.

Unknown said...

In 1973 I went to a Williams Lake & found work for the summer at a sawmill named Merrill & Wagner. I lived in a Coquitlam BC & was on my high school break.
Maybe I was programmed to believe what I was taught. Anyways after a month working in the mill ( extra: Merle Haggard was the performer at the Stampede that July or was it late June ? ) I was in my tent on a Saturday evening & wondered if Jesus is the way life the truth. Then got the idea " Why not ask Jesus directly in a prayer!!!!! " prayer is communicating with God right so follow me communication or prayer I can say or ask something. Well I want to know if Jesus is real so just ask Him directly.
So I jogged about 25 minutes to a Catholic Church in Williams Lake. Remember it is not far from a grave yard & city hospital. Few blocks away. It was about 9:45 pm & the door was locked as it should be on a Sat. evening. I am not crazy or on drugs. I knelt facing the two wood doors ( entrance ) & prayed with all my heart.
"God Jesus Holy Spirit I am not a holy person but if You are real would You show me" asked with all my heart.
Literally 3 supernatural things happened with about 2 minutes.
First I had a vision or short movie appear in front of my face/eyes. First & only time this had happened to me. In the short movie I saw the tabernacle inside the church & the tabernacle door opened up. I sensed a power exit from that tabernacle & then the movie stopped.
Second ; foot steps came walking down the hallway to words the front door where I was. The foot steps stopped inside the main door. I was outside. I thought maybe the door would be unlocked & open & maybe I will see an angel or Jesus in white cloths & He would give me an answer to my question. The door did not open & then the third thing happened. A bright light came from above me & zoomed all around my body in a split second. Came around me traveling at a very very fast speed. Snap of your finger. The Presence was very bright & had millions of atoms pixels or sparkling. Moving alive Light.
I only looked at the Light for 1-2 seconds before a closing my eyes. I was kinda afraid. Not that I was in danger but more of I 'm just a 17 yr old & this is God. I 'm not worthy. ( nobody is ) the Presence then touched the top of my head & slowly went inside my body traveling from my head to my chest arms down my legs to both knees & then in my thoughts I prayed"Ok God You answered my question so now please go away " well God heard my prayer in my thoughts & the Presence stopped at my knees & reversed all the way out of my body & when I opened my eyes everything was back to normal. I walked back to my tent near the sawmill.
In 1973 there was a sawmill & plywood mill there. Close by was an elementary school. Beside the south side of the yards where logs were dropped off & stored was a ditch wire fence & bushy area. That is where I had my two person small A frame tent. From that day on I fully believed that God was & is real. I now believe every word of scripture Old & New Testament. It is one thing to have info about the Christian religion but it becomes real to oneself if we have an encounter with Jesus. Born again or conversion experience. Basically all it takes is a heart prayer. John3:16 Ephesians 2:8&9 devil had his plan or traps devices...abortion crime cults false religions drugs evolution lies porn fornication adultery family break up divorce suicide unforgiveness love of $$$ is the root of all evil, ( like $ is ok but do not love or worship it. ) & new age, occult ,psychic ,ouija boards,,tarot cards sleep paralysis astral body travel numerology astrology Wicca satanism .Read Deuteronomy ch 18:10-12 God Word warns us not to dabble in the occultic demonic arts. Basically 100s of forms spiritulism divination black magic arts.