Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Analysis of a Conversion - Why I left the Catholic Church, party time

Yes, party time.

I think it was St. Francis of Assisi or it might have been St. John Vianney, who, having passed by a bar where everyone was singing and enjoying themselves, arrived in Church to witness all the sad faces and quipped, "No wonder the bars are full.  Who would want to be a Christian after looking at your gloomy faces?"

It reminds me of the scene in the Emperor's New Groove, where Gronk's shoulder demon says to him, "Don't listen to that guy (pointing to the angel).  He's trying to lead you down the path of righteousness.  I'm trying to lead you down the path that ROCKS!"

And yes, that is a very real phenomenon.  At least, it was for me.

In me, you had a child who was not convinced that God exists.  And therefore, was not convinced that there was any such thing as absolute truth or right and wrong.  And was convinced by the actions of people on the streets, that might makes right.  And was beginning to believe that love, except for the love of a mother for her children, love was a fiction.

Self sacrifice and righteousness seemed like good things but out of fashion.  In reality, good guys finish last.  Girls really don't want nice guys, they prefer the bad boys.  And so, there was very little incentive to be good.

Add to that the fact that church going people seemed really uptight.  Except for Pentecostals.  There were a couple of Pentecostal churches around the corner from my house.  And after their gatherings, there were accounts I heard of throwing babies in the air and fat women falling on the ground.  They seemed too wild.

Otherwise, church going people just didn't seem interesting to me.  They were full of "thou shalt not's".   They pretty much, just said, "no" to everything.  They didn't seem to have any joy in their life.

For me, it was party time.  The Catholic Church was nowhere on my radar.  Except, maybe, as something to bash.


So, what is the solution to this?  

Well, its grace.  Before my conversion, I had no joy in anything religious.  But afterward, God poured His grace into my heart until it felt as though it would burst.  And then He shot me with, what St. John of the Cross called "love darts".  These experiences filled with me with an ecstasy which I can only compare with one other thing in life.  The marriage bed.  I hope that doesn't sound vulgar, but its true.

That doesn't mean that I don't suffer.  I still suffer.  But I can now, most of the time, suffer with joy.  As the Scripture says:

Acts 5:41 And they indeed went from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus.

When I was falling away from the Faith, I heard about this phenomenon.  But I rejected it and, in fact, ridiculed it.  But, I wasn't ready to receive His Word then.  God's prevenient grace had not made my soul fertile ground, yet.

So, then what?  Is it hopeless for us to preach to anyone?

If it is all by God's grace, why should we preach to anyone?  Precisely because it is all by God's grace.  As the Scripture says:

Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him, in whom they have not believed? Or how shall they believe him, of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear, without a preacher?

It is God who prepares our hearts to accept His Word.  We don't know whom God's prevenient grace has prepared for His message.  Therefore, we must constantly preach the love of God to all who are within hearing distance.  Especially to those whom we love the most.

And we don't have to preach by words.  Let your light shine before all men, that the Father of lights may be glorified in you.

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