Archive for ‘Miscellaneous’

August 2, 2011

Interested in Becoming Catholic, or Simply Learning more about the Church with no Strings Attached? RCIA is for you!

I just wanted to take a minute to let anyone who might be interested know that RCIA is approaching at Catholic Churches all over the country, and to open an invitation to anyone who would like to participate. RCIA runs from September until Easter, and serves several purposes: becoming Catholic if you are not, simply becoming more educated about the Catholic Church (no strings attached), and refreshing your faith if you are already a Catholic.

The most well-known and most used purpose is for people who aren’t Catholic, whether they have never been Christian or whether they are part of another form of Christianity and would like to come into full communion with the Church. RCIA stands for “Rite of Christian Initiation as Adults”, and has been around since the pre-reformation days in which the Catholic Church was the only Christian Church (which is why it stands for “Christian” rather than “Catholic” initiation, even though many people who go through the program are already Christians). However, over the years its purpose has expanded. RCIA is also there to serve those who simply want to learn more about the Catholic Church for their own educational gain. In other words, signing up for RCIA does not commit you to join the Church. You can simply sign up to hear the lectures, have all your questions about the Church answered, and hear firsthand, from priests and others educated in the Church,` what the Church actually believes, giving you a perspective that is different from the misconceptions about the Church that you may hear elsewhere. Also, if you are already Catholic and feel like you need to be refreshed on what you have already learned, you are encouraged to sign up for RCIA to gain a deeper and renewed understanding of your faith.

RCIA is something that I have been a part of at my parish, St. Charles in Nederland, for three years now. I first went through RCIA in 2008-2009 as a “candidate” (an already baptized Christian who is looking to come into full communion with the Church), and it was a wonderful experience. I learned so much, met and fellowshipped with other Christians,  made new friends, and through all this grew closer to God. In the two years after that, I have been a part of RCIA as a sponsor, which is someone who helps others out with their questions about the Church and walks alongside those who are making a decision to become Catholic. I absolutely love it and I plan to be a part of RCIA again this year.

Therefore, if you are interested in RCIA for any reason, whether you want to become Catholic, simply want to learn more about Church Teachings with with no strings attached, or want to refresh your Catholic faith, please let me know by messaging me on facebook or commenting here. RCIA at St. Charles in Nederland meets every Thursday night, starting in September, from 7 to 8:30pm. Food and snacks are provided, as participants alternate bringing food to share, and you will certainly meet new Christians, make new friends, and have a lot of fun, as there is always a great turnout.

So think and pray on it, and otherwise have a blessed week! 🙂

 

P.S. If you are reading this and you do not live in the Southeast Texas area, every Catholic Church has an RCIA program at the same time of the year, so simply contact your local parishes to find out which one has the best and most recommended program.

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May 27, 2011

Not a God of Disorder

I Corinthians 14:33 “For God is not a God of disorder, but of peace…”

This one verse is not much, but it when I read it, it confirms what I already knew in my heart about God. In a world full of turmoil and confusion, God is a refuge from this, as He is a God of order. This knowledge of God reaffirms my belief that Christ would not merely ascend back into Heaven without establishing an official Church, teaching office, and an ordained leader. He would not go back into Heaven without forming an office that would continue after the apostle’s death…a succession, so that His Church may remain consistent. A God of disorder and confusion might do such a thing as to leave us without an established Church, but that is not our God. And He certainly would not have left us with a only book, even thought it is a Divinely Inspired book, as our only source of the Truth. In His time period, that would have been the most disorderly thing He could have done. Books were few and far between and only the wealthiest owned them. It wouldn’t be for another 1700 years before the common man, whom Jesus died for, would have not only access to books, but the ability to read.

But our God, a God of order, had a plan to make sure that we would have a Church with orderly leadership and consistent Teachings. He sent His Holy Spirit over the Church to guide it, so that as an institution it would be divinely inspired. Yes, at times the leaders of the church would sin and do ungodly things while in ministry, but because of the Holy Spirit, this would not affect the infallibility of the oral Church Teachings, just as the sins committed by the writer’s of the Bible do not affect it’s infallibility. Jesus made it so that years later we would not have to debate on what He meant on various issues, for He provided for us the Truth through His Church.

When man broke away from this Church, this is when disorder and confusion occurred. It opened the can of worms for people to begin interpreting Scripture and Church Teachings their own way, and forming churches based on this personal, subjective interpretation. Christ had already spoken His Truths to His first apostles and ordained them as leaders of His Church. He sent His Holy Spirit to guide it so that what Jesus spoke to the apostles would be orally passed down over the years and these spoken words would be the divinely inspired Word of God (a divinely inspired game of telephone, if you will).

But in the reformation when man rejected this Church and decided to break away, he stepped outside of this divine guidance. Although the Holy Spirit is still very much present in the hearts of those who followed the separation and the Holy Spirit is present in all Christian churches (as the Catholic Church teaches), the God given promise of consistent, infallible interpretations and teachings is not guaranteed. This is why churches today are still being broken apart and new denominations are still being created due to theological disagreements, yet the original Church Jesus founded has been, theologically, the same since He handed the “keys” to Peter.

I wanted to share this with you all, but tonight I’m going to keep my post short and sweet, as I have a list of things I am hoping to accomplish this evening.  Good night and peace! 🙂

April 27, 2011

Something Bothering You about the Catholic Church? What Would you Like to Know?

Instead of creating a real post tonight, I want to stop for a second and let you tell me something that you are wondering about. If you have ever thought to yourself “One thing that really bothers me about the Catholic Church is…” or “Why do Catholics _____??”, then that is something that I would like to address and answer for you to the best of my knowledge and ability.

Please ask me your questions or state your confusions/concerns or whatever the case may be in either a comment to this post, an email at catholicforareason@yahoo.com, or a facebook comment/message. I will not engage in discussions via facebook comments (that sometimes does not turn out pretty, especially when there are disagreements, and I try my best to avoid what is not beneficial) but I will promptly address/answer these in my next posts. 🙂

Have a wonderful,blessed rest of the night and day tomorrow! 🙂

P.S. An Anonymous Poll to Take if You’d Like

April 15, 2011

Christ’s Plan for Christian Unity

I started my walk with God when I was fourteen years old. It was the summer before my ninth grade year, and before that year I didn’t really acknowledge God in my life. I believed in God, I had a Bible I thumbed through from time to time, and I went to church. But I wasn’t living a life surrendered to Him. He was a distant relative who crossed my  mind occasionally and who I visited from time to time, but who I wasn’t putting forth an effort to have a relationship with.

Summer before the ninth grade, God’s spirit won me over, and I found myself on my knees, giving my life to Him. About six months later I was baptized. It has been an amazing journey ever since. I was blessed to be raised in a church (a large Baptist church in my hometown) full of godly role models who I still look up to today, and amazing friends who held me accountable in my walk with Christ. I was highly involved in the youth group throughout high school, where I grew spiritually through summer camps, mission trips, and various events throughout the year. I am thankful that I had such a wonderful church to call home during an age in which temptations and threats to my walk with Christ were at every corner.

However, when I was about seventeen and a senior in high school, I began to question some things I had never thought about before. I questioned the concept of individual denominations. I wondered why there are so many different kinds of Christians: Baptists, Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Pentecostals, Church of Christ, etc. etc. etc., all of which are set apart by some sort of difference in scriptural interpretation or practice. Then you had the identification of Non-Denominational, in which I  soon learned that “Non-Denominational”  has become another denomination in and of itself, except that one Non-Denominational church may interpret scripture entirely differently from another Non-Denominational church in the same ten mile radius.

The more I thought about this, the more it bothered me that as Christians, we aren’t unified. Christ wanted us to be unified. He wanted us to be one body, all in agreement with each other. I Corinthians 1:10 says “I appeal to you brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say, and there be no divisions among you, but you be perfectly united in mind and thought“.

I remember going through a hard time, as I was so broken about the fact that the Church was split up in so many ways, which is not what Christ wanted. But who is right? Common sense clearly states that there can only be one truth, not multiple truths. But when five different people say the Holy Spirit showed them to interpret scripture a certain way, and none of those ways coincide…well, that’s how a denomination is created. But which one, you must wonder, is right?

This is where the Catholic Church comes into play in my story. I studied, researched, asked questions, and researched some more, and learned that the word “catholic” means “universal”, which is how it got its name. The Catholic Church, for the longest time, was not called “The Catholic Church”, simply because it was the only form of Christianity that existed, until the reformation (there is also the East/West schism, which differs because this was a political split, not a theological one, which I may discuss in later posts. Today, the products of the schism are in union with the universal Catholic Church).

After the reformation when the Church split and continued to split over and over into various denominations, a distinguishing name became necessary, and “Catholic” was chosen because it means, “universal”. The first, original, universal Church. Universal because the teachings are consistent throughout the world. In essence, the Catholic Church is ONE Church, divided into separate buildings only because it is physically and logically impossible to get everyone in the world into one building at the same time.

So what’s your point?”

Well, my point is that the more I studied this and learned this, the more I realized that Christian unity, true Christian unity as defined in I Corinthians 1:10, cannot be possible without a single, binding teaching office that clearly outlines and sets in stone what each scripture means, how it is defined, and what Christ intended through His words. As it turns out, I learned, there IS such a teaching office, which is as old as Christ’s assumption into Heaven, established by Him, and followed through by those Christ ordained to stand in his place in his physical absence (see Matthew 16:18-19), and their successors. And those who Christ ordained were people who walked the earth with Christ, who physically were the closest to Him. This institution still stands today, approximately 2000 years later, and its lineage can be traced directly back to the first apostles and Christ Himself.

This is simply AMAZING to me. Christ didn’t just die for our sins and then leave us with nothing. After rising from the dead, he spent just a little bit more time on earth, ensuring that we had a Church to call home. He ordained leaders to shepherd us and He taught us how to worship. And then, He sent His Holy Spirit over the Church, to guide the sinners with whom He so graciously entrusted it, to ensure that “the gates of Hell will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18b).  

That’s when I realized that I wanted what Jesus gave to us, just before He ascended back into Heaven. This physical Church was another one of Christ’s many gifts to us, and I wanted to be a part of that gift.  I wanted to be a part of something that was bigger than anything man could establish. I wanted to be a part of that physical, direct link to Christ and His apostles.

But more than anything, I wanted Christians to be unified as one, without divisions, as He intended. And I realized that meant going back to where it all began…