Questions and Faith

TBM Topic 27: Counsel the Doubtful

“Questions and Faith” by Julie Robison
Trista at Not a Minx, Moron, or a Parasite
Elizabeth at Startling the Day

We three are from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. We’re here to dispel the myths and misconceptions- please join us for the discussion on Facebook and Twitter!


During Lent, we will be discussing the Spiritual Works of Mercy every week.

Anything worth knowing begins with a question. ‎Philosopher Etienne Gibson wrote, “Faith comes to intelligence as a light that overflows it with joy and inspires it with a certitude that does away with question.”

I like asking questions, so perhaps I’m sympathetic towards the doubters of this world. I like to see them as truth-seekers, wishing to truly know and understand the kind of magnitude God has to offer us. I also like figuring out answers. If something doesn’t seem right, I push the subject till I am satisfied. If I still lack total comprehension, especially in terms of theology, I don’t mind. I read on. I think about it more, talk about it, pray about it.

But I never doubt God.

Perhaps this sounds prideful. Maybe it sounds like I’ve got this God response system down pat. I pray, he responds. No doubt about it.

Or maybe I take my place as his child more seriously. When Dad talks, I listen. When Dad says I can’t do something, I ask why. He tells me. I might ask a different way. He shows me. When I don’t understand, I look at it a different way. When I don’t agree, I seek his guidance to discern why the Mother Church leads me to believe such a thing.

What I love most about the Catholic Church is how she guides souls – authoritatively, gently, and humbly. She is sure of herself because her bridegroom is Christ. Her children may wander, but she is there to guide them home when they wish to return.

The hardest part about faith, I think, is that it is a choice. I choose to believe in God. I choose to believe Jesus is the Savior of the world. There are a lot of reasons why I choose these belief systems, and none of them have to do with making my life easier and more enjoyable. I like facts, so the resurrection place in history cements Jesus’ authenticity as God, verses a wise man who taught us good things thousands of years ago. Everything stems from that.

The doubtful must be counseled because it shows love towards their human development. Man must know God or remain incomplete as a person. Doubt is not a bad thing either – but it should be used as the fuel towards belief, guiding one’s prayer.

Last night, as I was playing Euchre with my fiance and his parents, I told the dealer to pick up the card and B. visibly grimaced. He didn’t know I had the two highest cards, plus one more to trump. I asked him, “Don’t you trust me?” and his expression turned to pure confidence. We won all five hands of that game.

God is no card player, but he does hold the ultimate trump card. The readings yesterday show us how God the Father did not make Abraham sacrifice his only son, setting up the world to see the great significance and sacrifice God the Son made, to willingly die for the atonement of our sins.

The doubtful may see all the negative parts of God before they choose to see the good, but the road to Damascus is not any easy one for any person. There can be no discipleship without the cross. As Pope Benedict XVI reminds us, “The cross reminds us that there is no true love without suffering, there is no gift of life without pain.”

Counsel the doubtful out of love, and perhaps the burden of doubt will turn into a freedom to believe.

For those truly struggling, as I have, I recommend praying a novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The Mount

Moments that remind us God fully exists
“The Mount” by Elizabeth at Startling the Day

The “Bright Maidens” were originally three from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. Now, we all take up the cross to dispel the myths and misconceptions. Welcome!

I blog.

Blogging is a lifestyle, not just a practice involving drafts, HTML, and comment boxes. When you blog, you start seeing life through the scope of your writing capabilities.

Bloggers get to a point wherein every lesson they learn must be assessed: can I share this with the world on my blog? Will I do it justice? Should I just jot down this thought on my napkin while no one is looking?

That point sneaks up on you until one day you have a really great cry, or your talking with your best friend about something you’ve never discussed with anyone, and you think, “I need to blog about this.”

It’s a similar problem that plagues Christians (the bloggers and non-bloggers alike) in their daily lives. I know my mind is littered with mental notes of the “perfect” analogy, or the “best” examples of Christian living, set aside to pull out in the middle of a discussion.

We get so wrapped up in the path we took to grow our relationship with Christ and want to share it with others that we forget that the Holy Spirit is at work all day, everyday. We start to judge, accuse, get comfortable, get lazy, and go through the motions.

In cases such as these, in His infinite wisdom, God provides for us His vast expanse of nature.

Mt. Rainier (I don’t own this picture)

When I traveled to Seattle and my beau joined me for a four day Northwestern excursion, we spent an entire day around Mt. Rainier. Upon arrival, the day was chilly due to cloud cover, but not enough for a jacket on the hike.

It’s no mistake that much of Jesus’ greatest work was accomplished outside, e.g., feeding the 5000, Beatitudes, Crucifixion, etc. The great outdoors opens the scope for larger crowds and a reminder of Original Man’s surroundings.

Rather than slipping into an 8th grade poem about crisp air, clear blue sky, white mountain tops and … oops, we’re already there.

There is no virtual reality game for hiking or walking around without the whuushhh of cars rushing by while you stare off the edge of a cliff in the presence of a snow-covered mountain in July.

It would be like trying to describe the vast experience of a conversion or enlightenment by explaining the wallpaper in the room one was sitting in when it happened.

“Then the LORD said: Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will pass by. There was a strong and violent wind rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD—but the LORD was not in the wind; after the wind, an earthquake—but the LORD was not in the earthquake; after the earthquake, fire—but the LORD was not in the fire; after the fire, a light silent sound…” 1 Kings 19: 11-12

When we ascended the mountain, with the iconic Rainier peak to our left and green-carpeted mountain piles on our right, a warm wind picked up. It slowly nudged the clouds over our heads and beyond our sight.

The sun emerged without threat of straggling cloud when we started descending the other side of the trail, illuminating the landscape and strengthening the color contrasts. In one [panting] moment at the high point of the trail, I felt God in the wind.

I grabbed a pen (still not free of the blogger’s crutch) and wrote this down, my leg as my clipboard:

He makes it so obvious to us and people still won’t recognize Him. Post about spiritual dry spells vs dry rainforests. You don’t realize how you could not see Him when it’s wet. The opposite when it’s dry.

I certainly don’t have it figured out and my homage to the spiritual jump-start I got that day at Mt. Rainer is to avoid describing it. Rather than belittling it, I just encourage anyone who is physically able to climb away from daily life, to do so.

Go somewhere you can watch out for Him and listen for Him.

Suspicious Superstitions?

Scapulars
“Suspicious Superstitions?” by Elizabeth at Startling the Day
Guest Post: Scapulars are Distractors from What’s Really Important” by B.

The “Bright Maidens” were originally three from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. Now, we all take up the cross to dispel the myths and misconceptions. Welcome!

I never realized how superstitious Italians and Irishmen are. They are also very proud people, so I’ll be clear: I get to say this because I’m both Irish and Italian (with German, for good measure).

Italians will not drink with out clinking glasses and you must take a sip from the glass before setting it down after clinking. It’s an involved process and must be handled with care. One must never toast with a glass of water in this exchange, however, because that is bad luck and will have a table-full of nervous Italians trading glances.

The Irish believe that a deceased aerospace engineer has it out for them. Edward Murphy, Jr., they say, preys on the Irish through his rule, Murphy’s Law. “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” There are many other superstitions involving bad omens that prey on the Irish. For instance, did you know women with red hair are most unlucky?

Is she unlucky? Or just unwise…

That is, as they say, the luck of the Irish.

Though I think superstitions are mostly silly and pessimistic, many stress that they can be dangerous if one truly believes the minute act causes a rip in the universal order of “luck.” If superstitious people honestly think that having red hair or toasting with water in one’s goblet will result in misfortune, they excuse a certain amount of faith in God and natural order.

This is what makes people so uneasy about the idea of a scapular. The item resembling a necklace, if worn at the time of death, is said to be a “ticket to Heaven.” Using this kind of language closes the proverbial door on discussion because it seems obviously superstitious.

Take, beloved son, this scapular of the order as a badge of my confraternity and for you and all Carmelites a special sign of grace; whoever dies in this garment, will not suffer everlasting fire. It is the sign of salvation, a safeguard in dangers, a pledge of peace and of the covenant” -Our Lady of Mt. Carmel to St. Simon Stock, 16 July 1251

I once wrote it off as superstitious and if I had worn a scapular anyway, I wonder if that would have been sinful. If I’m wearing it with false faith, I’m not really wearing it as a “badge of confraternity,” and I’m therefore trying to avoid the pain of hell without the desire to be in union with God.

A scapular played a triumphant role in my reversion, but that’s another story. When I wore it that day, I wore it with a profound faith that Mary would not have lied if she had made this promise. I was trying to turn back to God and my faith was in faith alone, though I was holding on by a thread.

I understand why people would object to the practice of wearing a scapular. As Catholic Christians, we believe, as the Bible explains, we will be judged for our faith and works (Romans 2:6, etc). It seems almost “unfair” that someone would bypass the system when it seems their only motivation is to avoid hell in the easiest way.

I argue that wearing a scapular with the believe in Mary’s promise is an act of faith, and is therefore an expression of both faith and works.

What other ways do we believe lead us to Jesus’ merciful judgment to bring us into Heaven? We believe our job as a spouse is to bring each other to Heaven. We believe parents are meant to lead their children to a path to Heaven. We believe that absolution of sin heals us as much as we can be healed on Earth, and in effect, if we were to die immediately after leaving a good confession session, we trust we’d go to Heaven.

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'” -John 14:6

It all comes down to God’s mercy and we should never presume we can limit it by determining we know who goes to Heaven and who goes to hell. We can have faith that our loved ones are in Heaven, but absolute statements about those going to hell take on God’s role.

Discern it, reflect on Mary’s words, and listen to see if God is calling you to wear an outward sign of faith. Perhaps wearing one will be a reminder to behave more like the person God created you to be.

Mary’s vapor rub

Mary, Our Guide
“Mary’s vapor rub” by Elizabeth at Startling the Day

The “Bright Maidens” were originally three from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. Now, we all take up the cross to dispel the myths and misconceptions. Welcome!

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.

I picture Mary in heaven cleaning up toys, dislodging tiny G.I. Joes from the toughening pad of her foot, slowly acquiring a nursing/psych/spiritual guide degree, with stretch marks to match her under eye circles, like mothers around the world. If I could pick anyone to give me vapor rub for my soul, it would be her.

The world is the toy room, bruises, scrapes, and boo-boos show up on her children’s souls, and her children around the world cry to her at night, stirring her awake.

Her soul magnifies the Lord for centuries so that He can reach more people who notice her motherly influence on their lives.  She is our mother, our comforter, and God’s message deliverer.

The house in which I grew up loved her everyday. I knew the Hail Mary prayer as well as the Our Father, we had several pictures, rosaries, and one statue of her in the “fancy room.” My parents needed her guidance in their lives, so they were happy to invite her into their homes.

When I was young, we went on a trip to Emmitsburg, MD, a small town where people said they saw Mary. I remember aiming the film camera at every corner of the house and grounds where she had allegedly appeared, praying that she might appear in the photo after development.

(I don’t own the rights)

I don’t know if that sighting has been made “official” by the Vatican, but the faith of my childhood was overwhelmed by the beauty of the possibility that I might see this woman I had called Mother throughout my life.

Shortly after that trip, when I was in fourth grade, I woke up one morning with a white pain in my right hip. I rolled off the bed, onto the floor and quickly learned I couldn’t stand up because of the pain.

It was as if I had not awoken and I was in a dream wherein I could try with all of my dream-like strength, but the body to which I was tethered could not move.

Fear overwhelmed me and heaving tears came down my face as I crawled into the bustle of the hallway where I knew my parents would notice their first born daughter, scared and in pain.

With their help, thanks be to the Lord, I could stand and walk with the pain still searing in my hip. Doctors did tests, people prayed, I repeated my own name during the prayers for intercessions at Mass, and I watched my parents whisper with worry.

They thought it was Rheumatoid Arthritis and that I would be in a wheelchair by the age of sixteen.

The morning that we were to get the test results from the doctor, my mom rushed in my room with damp cheeks and an encouraged voice and clasped around my neck her mother’s Mary metal on a silver chain. She said Mary came to her in a dream and told her it would be good news from the doctor and not to be afraid.

For the first time in days, her head was actively floating above water. Mary, whether it was her or just the comfort that my mom knew she could find in her image, provided my mother with peace of mind. She rubbed the vapor jelly on her soul, reminding her that she was not alone.

(I don’t own the rights)

The renewing dream was correct and the doctors concluded that I had contracted streptococcus in my hip joint. I needed some antibiotics and a few weeks for the pain to subside.

I doubt I knew how serious that episode could have been; I was excited to miss school for that appointment.

Mary provided my mother with the magnifying reminder that anxiety is the opposite of grace. The episode awoke the faith in my parents and my sisters and I grew and learned from it.

The comfort and wisdom that Mary used to assure Jesus that it was time for his first miracle guides us today. Because we know she lived life as a mother, she lost like a mother, and Jesus declared her our mother while on the cross, she leads us to a path to Him when we need it.

Hail, Mary!

Topic 8: “Why Mary?”

“Hail, Mary!” by Julie Robison
“Take Her Into Your Home” by Elizabeth at Startling the Day
“A Life Spent Loving and Looking to God” by Trista at Not a Minx

We three are from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. We’re here to dispel the myths and misconceptions- please join us for the discussion!

This past February, I visited a good Protestant friend in Georgia, and attended their service with her family on Sunday. I enjoyed myself, but I was struck by one part of the pastor’s sermon that I have not yet been able to shake. The pastor was discussing Jesus realizing he was the Son of God and his awesome responsibility on this Earth– “How did that happen?” he mused aloud, before declaring it a mystery of God.

Uh, no, I thought to myself. I couldn’t believe that this pastor missed a perfect opportunity to strengthen the importance of the family. God the Father had his beloved son born into a family for a specific reason – to show God’s love through a specific community of individuals, and to be properly formed by faithful Jews, so that he would come into fullness and fulfill the law. Jesus was raised in a family, supported by a family, and shaped by a family. He was given divine wisdom and knowledge by God the Father, of course, but his human nature had many, many people on earth too to help him– St. Anne and St. Joachim, his mother’s parents; St. John the Baptist, his cousin; St. Joseph, his surrogate father; and lastly, his mother Mary.

As Mother’s Day is this Sunday, I think it apt to remind Christendom that the fourth commandment – to honor one’s parents – does not only apply to one’s birth parents, but those parent-like figures who have helped shape and raise you, and perhaps continue to do so.

Mary, the mother of God, is such a figure. When Jesus was dying on the cross, he turned to John, his beloved disciple, and said, “Here is your mother.” From then on, John took Mary into his home and took care of her.

Are we not too called to have Mary in our home? To venerate her as we extol our own mothers, giving her praise for raising us and caring for us? Should we not keep pictures and statues of her around, as a tangible reminder to strive towards her chosen holiness? Should we not ask Mary to pray for us, as we ask our own mothers on earth to do? And more so, since she is bodily in Heaven with her Son Jesus Christ, is it not fitting to have her intercede on our behalf?

It is true—we can go directly to Jesus. We Catholics should, and we do. But Per Jesum ad Mariam: to Jesus through Mary. When you want to get to know a guy better, you go and meet his mother. Is it so different with Christ our Lord? He made his mother the Queen of Heaven – surely he wishes for us to show her due respect and reverence!

I have been told by my goodly Protestant friends that they avoid Mary because they do not wish to turn her into an idol and make her more god-like. I agree—Mary should never be idolized, nor would she want that. Mary says in Luke 1:38, “I am the Lord’s servant.” At the wedding in Cana, she tells the servers ( and all of us too!) to “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5).

Saint Maximilian Kolbe instructs us to “Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.” This Mother’s Day, I will be giving thanks for my mother, who gave me life, and thanks to Mary the mother of God, whose resounding “yes” to the angel continues to echo throughout salvation history, and who gave life to Christ Jesus, the Word incarnate and Savior of the world.

As the angel said to Mary in Luke 1:30, “Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God.” I earnestly desire more Christians to be open to the graces Mary gives us, to joyfully learn about and from her, so that we all can learn more about and from her Son. After all, if God favors her, shouldn’t we?

And so, we pray: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Take Her Into Your Home

Why Mary?
“Take Her Into Your Home” by Elizabeth at Startling the Day

The “Bright Maidens” were originally three from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. Now, we all take up the cross to dispel the myths and misconceptions. Welcome!

Those weird Catholics and their pagan ways, worshiping Jesus’ mom.

We’ve been accused of worshiping Mary on more than one occasion. You know what? Accuse me, brothers and sisters, if that’s the easiest argument you can make against the Church.

But I am sorry you have not seen the beauty in regarding Mary as your mother. She’ll love you from her place in the Communion of Saints.

John the gospel-writer was my least favorite of the four when I was growing up because of what I interpreted to be arrogance. “The Beloved” bugged me by seemingly hoisting himself above the rest. It didn’t help his case when I realized I was standing for ten minute long gospel readings during the John calendar years.

However, this year I realized what beautiful contributions John’s gospel made to our faith, including a strong explanation of love for Mother Mary.

On the Cross

(I don’t own the rights)

Jesus was suffocating.

Hanging on a cross, with a body that has been brutally beaten and drained of blood after scourging, makes one’s muscles collapse. He had to push up on his feet, just to reach for breath with his arms stretched wide and pinned to the wood with nails.

Imagine having to adjust yourself against the nails driven into your feet and hands, just to breathe.

Any words He spoke were spoken with purpose and many of them were to fulfill the Scriptures, as the gospel-writers address. One of the lengthiest speeches He gave from His place on the cross, He made to John and his mother, Mary, at His feet.

“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” –John 19:26-27

John referred to himself as “the disciple,” instead of “the beloved,” in this instance. He humbled himself in this moment of Jesus’ pained speech.

Those who stand at Jesus’ feet, looking up at the suffering Lord and looking to His resurrection are disciples. We are at His mercy and He has bestowed the grace of this sacrifice on us. Jesus was talking to all of us.

Mary gave birth to our Savior, she deserves deep respect and reverence. Jesus said so. 

Is it because she’s a woman?

The confusion about why we revere Mary as we do is understandable. Jesus said He is the way and we emphatically agree.

God didn’t exclude women from His plan. In fact, they were female hearts that Jesus trusted with the first revelations of his divinity and his resurrection.

Martha and Mary are iconic characters that teach us how to be followers of Christ. The woman at the well was the first to hear Jesus explicitly call Himself the Messiah. The woman who touched Jesus’ cloak had an overwhelming faith that actually drained Jesus of energy. Mary Magdalene’s conversion led to her discovery at the tomb. The angel revealed to Mary Magdalene that He has risen!

We need the examples of the disciples to build the Church. We need to learn from those whom Jesus taught directly and why He chose who He chose. We need to listen to His words and the traditions He passed onto his disciples instead of redefining them as we see fit.

And in accordance with His words, we need to revere Our Mother.

Young Woman at the Well

Week Seven: Why we chose Catholicism

“Young Woman at the Well” by Elizabeth at Startling the Day

This is the seventh post of a blog post series called “Bright Maidens.” We three are from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. We’re here to dispel the myths and misconceptions- please join us for the discussion!

During His travels, Jesus came to Samaria and sat by the stone wall of a simple well. He asked a woman there for a drink, which was confusing for the woman because of the tension between their nationalities.

Jesus said, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water” (John 4: 10).

He proceeded to show her how much He knew about her, though she thought Him to be a stranger. God revealed Jesus as the Messiah to this flawed, yet attentive woman.

Jesus came to me in this way many times in my life, but I was inattentive and failed to draw Him a drink.

I grew up a cradle Catholic in a home full of people who went to Mass, challenged me to ask questions, and who stressed the need for a relationship with God. I was elected “Class Chaplain” all four years at my Catholic high school and my knowledge of Bible stories was above average (or so I thought).

(I don’t own the rights)

As it tends to do, life got busy. My child-like faith needed more maintenance and I started going through the motions of faith.

I recalled the Younglife, Protestant kids I knew in high school and how lit up they acted in their faith. I also recalled the few, yet loud, hypocrites who didn’t act like Christians, especially when they were damning me for idolatry, following the Pope, worshiping Mary, etc.

That memory made me cling tight to my Catholic roots and avoid those who asked questions about my faith that I couldn’t answer. My closest friends were those I met through the campus ministry in which I was involved in college, but I wouldn’t allow God to light my heart on fire.

In college, I transferred before my junior year, shaking my routine. Many times in my life I have encountered varying levels of depression and this shift to a bigger school and a new routine hit me hard.

My prayer life was more of a nightly whine session. I never once asked, “God, what do YOU want me to do?”

To my delight, a journalism training organization offered me an internship for my last semester of college in Washington, D.C. The binds of depression loosened during that semester as I met countless new acquaintances.

My D.C. home was a large dorm full of international students and professionals. Sadly, this meant it was full of several types of religious apathy. We partied, we discussed politics, and we enjoyed friendships based on a love of cultures as well as a shallow foundation of worldliness. I left D.C. with the friendships of those from several countries, whom I love to this day.

But I was still thirsting.

Next stop: Chicago

My next internship was that summer under the umbrella of an libertarian-leaning education organization and it sent me to Chicago.

The Chicago summer surprised this Virginia gal with its beauty (albeit chilly beauty that hovered around 70 degrees most days), the little I saw of it. My rented Evanston apartment was a forty minute commuter train ride away from my office packed with libertarians.

Libertarianism philosophy values self above all others and holds that a selfish rule of thumb supposedly serves others in the end. There is a slim chance escaping the black cloud of selfishness when it hangs in the office air you breathe.

It’s also tough to avoid the pressing questions from atheists, as the libertarian world is high in their number. The influence of a few atheists in the office had a deep impact on my summer. Their persistence and my lack of bravery in combatting their questions of faith steered me back to a dark place.

(I don’t own the rights)

I was in a strange city, commuting ninety minutes a day instead of socializing, surrounding myself with bad influences, and concentrating my conversations on selfishness and politics. I was the devil’s playground, complete with a dry, thirsty sandbox.

I started to wonder about the very existence of God for the first time in my life. I started to doubt it. I was doubting Him.

Deep in depression, by the grace of God, another question washed over me: Had I been duped? What about my two decades of belief? Was I finally un-stupid?

My resounding answer was, “No!” yet the doubt remained.

I was not an idiot my whole life prior to that summer. I had not been duped and neither were my parents, Godparents, or grandparents. All of the most loving, best people I knew were Christians, most Catholics.

I decided I needed to reclaim myself and my faith.

My fasting week

Crucifix? Check. Scapular? Check. Earphones plugged into Christian music? Check. Pretending to be tired and sick so as to avoid unnecessary conversation at my internship? Check.

My cleansing week was an attempt to bombard myself with Christian media and reconnect with the prayer I had begun to doubt. Push, push, push, I was going to give it a full week if it killed me. Something told me not to surrender.

On Thursday night of that week, I was watching Fireproof as part of my Christian-stuffing.

All of a sudden, at a mundane part of the movie, the Holy Spirit moved something in me.
“Jesus is waiting for me,” I thought.

(I don’t own the rights)

All He needed was for me to make the decision to let Him bear me. I needed to give up my path and give myself to Him.

Before the third millisecond of this thought process, I was clinging to my scapular, laying in the fetal position, and heaving through wet sobs.

Relinquish control. Give of myself to the One who was patient and excitedly waiting for me.

I reduced/advanced myself to the state of a child once more. I was a helpless rag-doll in Jesus’ arms, giving up my controlling greed and letting Him take my weight while I sobbed in gratitude.

This quenched my thirst and lit me on fire to learn more about my relationship with the Holy Trinity.

Inter-faith relationship

The Holy Trinity continued to teach me about myself and about our relationship. I began to feel more fulfilled than ever and I could finally consider myself “on fire.” Within a year, I recognized this passion for Christ in a man and it attracted me.

My ex is a Baptist, though I didn’t realize this until we were already dating. His devotion to Jesus moved me to spend more time reading the Bible. He was committed to abstinence before marriage, as well, so I felt lucky to know him.

We got in more than one “discussion,” at high volumes about the differences between our faiths. We challenged each other and our relationship required me to research and learn about Catholicism thoroughly.

Introducing the major issues: His mother and his father were not pleased with their son dating a Catholic and they let me know (deja vu, verbatim from the mouths of the Younglife kids). We began to recognize the irrevocable issues, so we started allowing chastity to fly out the window, with the subconscious hopes that a physical relationship would help hold us together.

We maintained our major boundary, but we definitely allowed our physical relationship to dominate. God made it very clear to me that this was no longer a relationship that served Him or His mission. It was my longest serious relationship and the decision to break up was the easiest I’ve ever made.

I began to heal again, stronger than ever, and surrounded myself with the newly researched Catholic teachings and strong Catholic friends.

The passion I discovered as a result of that relationship is for studying the Theology of the Body because it weaves itself so tightly into the understanding of Jesus’ example of true Love and Christian teaching. Theology of the Body is the perfect scope into the beauty and completeness of the Church and it was the sealing agent on my journey back Home to Rome.

Every moment of this journey cast me as the woman turning the pump, or hoisting the rope attached to the container of water from the well. Though I didn’t always do His will and I tread very close to where the devil wanted me, God still guided me to the side of that well.

God guided me to Him through the mediums of mistakes, doubts, and obedience.