Sunday, November 11, 2007

Backseat Driver

In my (almost) two years as a Christian, I have seen witnessing and evangelism that made even those of us in the fold cringe.

I'm sure you're all quite familiar with the raging fire-and-brimstone proselytizing that makes its rounds in the Christian community, often sending its victims running away as fast as humanly possible, not accepting Christ as planned.


Other situations find a Christian doing his or her best to witness, and, when things are going south, find themselves frustrated. I've seen that happen just the other day on a forum, with lots of bold letters, italics, and most importantly, YOU'RE DENYING THE TRUTH. IT IS WRITTEN.

Looks like someone forgot that Rome wasn't built in a day. ;)

There is, however, a similar evil on the other end of the scale. We can be gentle, we can love our non-Catholic friends to death, but what happens when that love turns into complacency and compromise of the truth? I can't be sure, but as a friend reminded me the other day, if we deny God, we in turn will be denied by Him. That, frankly, is something I don't want to risk by being a sissy.

Pride is a vice that loves to play head games. We sometimes manage to get it into our heads that all we have to do is say the right thing, make the right argument, give the right answers, and they'll convert. All it takes is a little convincing, no? Just no. And may Christ have mercy on me for ever thinking that was the way it was done! I've been a fool.

Again, it all comes down to grace. No matter how difficult it may be from the outside, there's nothing we can do to change the hearts of those around us. That responsibility is in God alone. That doesn't mean that we give up, of course, but we need to listen to the Spirit and act accordingly.

My heart is in the right place, but I'm not doing the right thing. And I may be more of a hindrance than a help to God right now, as long as I think there's "something I can do".

The only thing I can do is love, and love unconditionally. The rest is in His hands. He is more than capable. I was so entirely wrong for apologising for speaking the truth. As much as it hurts...I can't be sorry anymore.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The I'm Sorry Jesus Maneuver

It seems that I am, at long last, beginning to climb out of a hole I fell into with some particularly nasty sins a few months ago.

I can recall quite easily what my faith was like when I was fresh out of the occult. The closest thing I had come to a church was online, in ExWitch Ministries and its affiliates. When my computer was off and I lived in the 'real world', however, I was completely alone.

My family and friends are all, with the exception of a precious few, secular. I had no one to be accountable to, and, because of that, sin ran rampant in my life. Of course, there was no one to apologise to but my invisible Savior--what I like to call the "I'm Sorry Jesus Maneuver". You've sinned, you tell Him so, you swear you'll try again...

And you fail. Because, really, who will know? There is no damage to your pride, your reputation, if you live a life of sin. And as for Jesus, well, He'll always forgive. Apathy sets in quickly, and soon we no longer apologise. We sin, and sin, and we sin, and expect to get by...


We go to church, and the pastor strokes our egos, reminding us again that all we have to do is ask His mercy...and, as we walk out the door, we are the same people we were yesterday. Oh, yes, we've sinned again, but alleluia! God will forgive. God loves us.

All of this, mind, is true! But do we really expect that we will get away with all of this?

Hardly. And the Sacrament of Reconciliation has opened my eyes to that.

You know, you never realise how destructive and shameful sin can be until you look a man (just like us!) in the face, and make known all that you have done to spit in the face of our Maker. If you expect to walk out of there with a scrap of pride, or the slightest intention of sinning again, you my friend, are in for a surprise.

What you get, instead, is the tearing down of the facade you worked so very, very hard to build. The person waiting beyond that facade is dirty, stained with sin, and not at all worthy of our Lord. How could we ever dream of being worthy with a soul this broken?

That is where the beauty of absolution, and our salvation, comes in. Not by our works, or by our faith alone, but by His grace.

When we peel away those layers of pride, selfishness, and sin, we are left with a creature that God could not possibly love more. And, even dirty and broken, we are beautiful in His eyes. It is only when the pretenses are gone that God can begin our healing--and it is very hard to reach that with a simple I'm Sorry Jesus Maneuver.

With a priest to guide us, however embarrassing it may be (and sin should be embarrassing), it makes finding the straight and narrow again much easier. "If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them," said Christ to the Apostles in John 20, "and if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained." That is, indeed, quite the responsibility. But, to me, it is worth so much more than simple ego stroking.

The next time you feel the temptation to sin, think of how difficult it is to wash away those stains on your own. His grace is simple and free, but the destruction we cause in our transgressions will take much more than that to heal.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, and His mercy endures forever.

No news is good news...


Yes, it has been a horrifically long time since I've updated this blog. For that, I apologise--I sincerely doubt I have many faithful readers anymore, but for those who remain, I am always glad to have you!

So much has happened in the past four months. The sudden death of my grandfather, the start of university and the consequent end of high school; my coming of age, the beginning of a new novel, and more than a few anniversaries, one of which being particularly dear to me.

I am eighteen. I am still, somehow, miraculously, by the grace of our Lord, Catholic. It has been a terrific (in the wonderful and scary sense), rough, ecstatically bumpy ride. And I am in love in more ways than one. I really don't think I mind in either scenario.

I've finally found fellowship, and while they are Protestants, I am so very grateful to them for taking me in. It has also given me some hands-on apologetics work, which can be so good for building on my faith. Coincidentally, I will be meeting someone new, a Catholic, who goes to both my college and parish, at tomorrow's Mass. This may be what I've been looking for.

As for faith and family, well, it's one day at a time. Blessings aren't always obvious, and I'm making it my sole purpose of late to seek out those blessings, even in the most tangled of situations.

The lack of updates, honestly, has come from a lack of material. For the first time in months, things are calm and steady. I'm beginning to grow suspicious--there is always a storm. It's only a matter of time now, I suppose, before the wind kicks up again. When it does, I will be ready. He is my strength.

It's always good to keep the mind working, even in good times! Hopefully, you will be seeing a little more of me in the coming months. That's the plan, in any case. ;)

In Christ's Divine Mercy,