Finally….Catholic….

After seven months in RCIA, I was finally received into the Catholic Church this past Easter Vigil on March 30, 2013.  How wonderful it is to be officially Catholic!

It was not an easy road mentally and spiritually, but I continued on my journey and I crossed the finish line.

There are still a few issues that I struggle with, but prayerfully, they will work out. (That’s for a future blog post 🙂

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It’s been a long time…

HELLO… hello… hello… Is anyone OUT THERE… out there… out there…LOL

Well, It’s been months since I posted and I apologize for that (to anyone who cares..lol).  I was really busy at work for a time and I also finally started RCIA class!!! YES!!

I can say, without a doubt, RCIA class has been very informative and helpful.  It seems like everyone in my class has made a connection with each other and we’ve also argued with each other too, believe it or not.  But we know that we are in this together.

Throughout this journey, my faith in God has strengthened.  I’ve even asked Mary’s help in prayer a number of times – not to mention all of the rosaries I’ve prayed (thanks to my two favorite apps – Holy Rosary and Pocket Rosary.)    I absolutely love it!

Unfortunately, my weightloss journey is another thing…sigh

 

Very Brief Update!

I’m still working a lot of hours on my job which is the reason for the infrequent posts.

Diet Update:
I screwed up.  Because I’m working so many hours, junk food has been my staple – especially chocolate cake or muffins.  Bad me!  I actually gained a pound (making my weightloss 3 pounds instead of 4).  I haven’t completely gone back to my old eating habits, it’s just a slack a bit.  I’m also very tired from the hours at work and my son being sick.  (a serious lack of sleep).  I am trying to get back on track now.

I realize that I eat junk when I get stressed and I’ve been very stressed lately.  It’s the old “comfort food” problem.  I’m wondering if food should be that much comfort…
Conversion update:  I was contacted by a Deacon at church who is in charge of the RCIA program, so I should be starting the process this month with a few inquiry sessions.  I am so excited and nervous.

Thank you, Lord, for my job and my life.  Amen.

Mary Mary…quite contrary….

…to what I have been taught (see what I did there..)

The way that some Catholics treat Mary was one of the hardest things that I have had to deal with as far as my conversion to Catholicism goes. When I told my immediate family about my conversion, they were supportive, but the one thing that was requested of me was no Mary or Pope worship! (I did explain to them the Catholic understanding of these topics. There request came from what they saw on TV whenever the Pope visited a country (kissing the ring and bowing) or a Mary apparition was found.)

The Catholic position of Mary being the “Mother of God” as well as the mother of the church is not where my problem lied.  Mary is indeed the mother of Jesus and the bible says we are to call her “blessed”.  Not a problem at all!

My issue is with what’s called as veneration to her.  Or even worse, consecration to Mary.  Veneration….consecration…devotion…those are some very scary words to a protestant.  It appears to take the focus off of Christ and on to Mary.  Not to mention, there are images that don’t look to cool to non-catholics (and orthodox), such as:

The most important thing to any Christian is to be focused on Jesus Christ, our Saviour.  Anything that takes the focus off of Him and on to something else is blasphemy, right?  St. Louis de Montfort is the most well-known saint to many Mary consecrators.  de Montfort, in his writings called “True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary” says “ “All that belongs to God by nature belongs to Mary by grace”, say the saints, and, according to them, just as Jesus and Mary have the same will and the same power, they have also the same subjects, servants and slaves.” He also writes Moreover, if, as I have said, the Blessed Virgin is the Queen and Sovereign of heaven and earth, does she not then have as many subjects and slaves as there are creatures? “All things, including Mary herself, are subject to the power of God. All things, God included, are subject to the Virgin’s power”, so we are told by St. Anselm, St. Bernard, St. Bernardine and St. Bonaventure. Really? Wow!  I do think some people, past and present, take things to far – bordering (if not crossing over) to marian worship.

You’re probably asking “is she gonna come to a point of all of this?”  The answer is “no.” LOL!!

However, let me say this: I have prayed the rosary several times.  At first, it was a little weird and uncomfortable. But every time after that, it was peaceful and serene.  The rosary is a fabulous way to meditate on the life of Christ.  And yes, it IS a meditation of the life on Christ, not on the the life of Mary.  I do love praying the rosary (did I just say that out loud?) and I truly believe it does draw you closer to God in your prayer life. (But be sure to be silent and listen for God to speak to you.)  I don’t do it as often as I believe that I should, admittedly.  I also feel drawn to her in a way – I want to know as much about her as possible.

Now, from what I understand, it is not a requirement that Catholics pray the rosary or venerate Mary (or any other saint).  However, I do believe that we should live our lives as Mary did: with unshakeable belief and worship to her son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Pros…and the labels…

Before I decided to convert the Catholicism (and before my son was conceived), I was staunchly pro-choice (not pro-abortion – that moniker is so inflammatory and divisive).

But something happened – the conception of my son.  My husband and I tried for 3 years to conceive a child (including some medical intervention) and by the grace of God, I became “with Child” last year.  This was our first child (neither one of us had any children).  He’s an absolute joy and such a happy baby.

It made me realize what a blessing and a miracle a child is.  I heard my son’s heartbeat when I was six weeks pregnant.  It was totally amazing!!

I just can’t imagine anyone aborting something so precious because they might have slept with a married man or felt like they were too young to have children (situations that I am personally aware of).  Using abortion as birth control is truly sickening to me.

I’m kinda on the fence in cases of rape or incest and threats to a mother’s life.  I can’t imagine being raped or molested and carrying the product of that horror for nine months.

Am I pro-choice or pro-life? I honestly don’t know.  I cannot tell another woman what to do with her body. Being pregnant is not exactly a walk in the park (but what a great reward!).

I can say that you will never see me on the street with pictures of aborted fetuses screaming in front of an abortion clinic. I don’t think that’s very effective and calling some woman who has agonized over her decision a “baby-killer” or “a murderer” just breeds hate.

What I will do is pray for them and spread the news about adoption via Catholic Charities so young women know that abortion is not the only way.  Also to let them know the the baby that they are carrying can be a blessing to a child-less couple.

You want to become Catholic??? But wait a minute….you’re black. Part 2

….my son was born…

God planted a seed in my heart. So, I began to research the Catholic faith.  I read everything that I could get my hands on.  (Even at this point, I am so sick of reading, but I cannot help myself – I can’t stop.)

I started attending mass on a regular basis and I kept reading and researching.

Then my fallen-away-from-the-Church husband told me that he was thinking about having our son baptized in the Catholic Church.  You could have pushed me over with a feather!!!  He then told me that he kind of wanted his son to grow up like he did – going to a Catholic school, being a alter boy, etc. I was floored to say the least.

It was at this moment that I knew God was calling me into the Church.  Through me, the Lord was calling one of is wayward children – my husband – back into the faith; back to being a Christian!  I knew my husband was watching me – my actions and my words.  He was/is very supportive.

I am not going to sugar-coat it: there was sometimes where I did not agree with the Church (and still do not) and the opinions of some of her people (I’ll save that for later posts).    But no matter how far away I tried to run, God kept pulling me back.

I eventually had to submit to His will.  So I decided to inquire about the RCIA (Right of Christian Initiation of Adults) classes.  They will begin the weekend after Labor Day!  I am excited, but nervous at the same time.  But my faith in Jesus is strong and I know that this is the right path for me.

You want to become Catholic??? But wait a minute….you’re black.

I’ve heard that (or some variation of it) for a while.  Someone is always surprised that I would convert to Catholicism because I am black (and I live in the South deep in the bible belt). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible_Belt

What they don’t know is I was introduced to Catholicism by my husband.  He is a cradle Catholic and he’s black (shocking, I know.)  His mom converted before he was born.  He fell away from the Church for a while and ironically, when he was away from the Church was when we got married.

About a year after we were married, I committed my life to Christ (got saved; became born-again; whatever you want to call it) and I started attending a non-denominational church.

[Just a little backstory: I’ve attended church all of my life – my mom grew up in the church – so church was no surprise to me. I’ve attended Holiness, African Methodist Episcopal (AME), and non-denominational churches throughout my childhood.  I was baptized in my mom’s childhood church when I was a baby. The church I attended before I was born-again was a predominantly black non-denominational church that acted much like a pentecostal or holiness church.  After I became a true server of Christ, I began to search for another church – all of the hooping and hollering and running around the church and “catching the Holy Ghost” wasn’t me (not saying anything is wrong with that.) Every time something like that would happen in church, I would sit quietly amongst all of the chaos and just pray. I just didn’t seem to fit there, so I went searching…]

I ended up in a really nice non-denominational church that was mixed, culturally – White, Black, Asian, Filipino, Latino, etc. all attended that church.  I loved it for the first couple of years, but something started to bother me. That church did not celebrate communion in a way that, I thought, Jesus commanded it.  It was more of an afterthought – it was done at the same time as the collection of the offering and it was optional. It was not done as an entire church.  So, I went searching again…

To make a long story as short as possible, I visited several churches including Lutheran, Episcopal, and Catholic churches.  At first, I did not like the Catholic Church. I didn’t feel the Holy Spirit there during the mass.  I really like the episcopal service, because of open communion and the movement of the Holy Spirit – BUT, I did not like some of their decisions of late – the openly gay bishop and the women priests (yes, I said it! Maybe in another post, I will explain my belief on this.)

Anyway, some time went by (maybe a year) and I was still attending my non-denom church. But I knew I couldn’t stay there.  Well, it was at this time where God planted a seed in my heart for the Catholic Church…

…to be continued…

-Part 2 of this story will be in my next post.-