Friday, July 31, 2015

Standing on Solid Ground

Unfurl the sails and let God steer us where he will. 

For, truly, if He is with me,
I care not where I go. --Francis de Sales

Lord, I am yours;
I do yield myself up entirely to you,
and I believe that you accept me.
I leave myself with you.
Work in me all the good pleasure of your will,
and I will only lie still in your hands and trust you.
--Hannah Whitall Smith

            The prophet Ezekiel visualized our God who is ever beckoning us into deeper waters where the only thing left to do is to allow God to steer us where He wills. 

As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. He measured off another thousand,
but now it was a river that I could not cross because the water had risen
 and was deep enough to swim in--a river that no one could cross.
Ezekiel 47:3-5

            We all arrive at a place in life where we fear that swimming toward an unknown shoreline means death of our Self, but the security of treading in the known currents around us surely means death of our spirit. Learning to lie back in the grace of God and lie still while he directs the tides of our lives takes a lifetime--a lifetime of learning to trust our Creator. We have allowed the waves of our own history to carry us to the shores of The Catholic Church.  Looking back from this shoreline we can see how the providence of God carried us through the rip-tides of spiritual and emotional maturing.  We are grateful now that we put our hope in God rather than flaying about in the currents that were slowly sapping the life from our spirits.   We are grateful for the voices that called us toward shore, the individuals that helped to inform our faith in God over our lifetimes are many. It is their influence that drew us into the depths of God. Now that we are here, standing on solid ground, the joy of the Lord has indeed returned.  We have come to peace and rest in the universal Church, the Catholic Church, the true and reliable source of our Faith.
            A family member recently asked us to sum up what drew our hearts and minds toward the Catholic Church.  There is no short answer for that and the answers we give may not satisfy a thoroughgoing Protestant mind.  The Sacred Authority and the Sacred Tradition present in the Catholic Church is seldom understood or appreciated by Protestants.  It is regretfully apparent that unless there is a yearning for a firm foundation built with the trowel and mortar, few seem interested in looking past the rebellions that propagated  the Protestant Movement. 
            Picking up a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and reading its entirety corrects the barriers of misunderstanding.  Within the pages of the Catechism the Sacred Authority, Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scriptures of the Church are described and defended with the eloquence and gravity of the Faith.  It is the authoritative exposition of the historical one, holy, catholic and apostolic Faith handed down from the very first apostles and developed over time through the councils we formally referred to. It is, in its antiquity, the surest and most authentic text on Christian doctrine. Citations of the extant writings of the early Church Fathers and the Apostolic Fathers along with the Doctors and saints of the Church are included in the body of the Catechism. In short the Catechism is four-part apologetic on the Christian Faith.
            The misinformed conclusions that non-Catholics adhere to about the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist; Mary, the Mother of God; The Sacrament of Reconcilliation:Confession; veneration of the Saints; Purgatory; and the Celibacy of Holy Orders  are the heavy hitters of prejudice against Catholic Christians. During our last years of service to the Protestant ministry we found ourselves going through a mental checklist of what is wrong or right about The Catholic Church.  In the end, we found the Catholic Church less sullied, significantly so, than the Protestant Movement. In the end there was less wrong with the Catholic Church than what we had been led to believe.  In fact, there was so much right about the Catholic Church that we could not, would not, continue to swim against the tide of its 2,000 years of history.
            This blog includes some of our journey toward understanding of the Catholic Church in matters of the Faith that once caused us to trip on our journey home to the Catholic Church. Now they guide and console us as we rest on its sure foundation. The first step is understanding what the Catholic Church really teaches.  We are not apologists, we are travelers in the long obedience toward the Church Christ established through His apostles.  The purpose of this blog is not to debate or argue.  The purpose is to reflect the Light that has illuminated our lives.  Therefore, we will not banter over matters that are clearly stated in the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, early Church Fathers, the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  We will refer the reader toward the reliable sources of antiquity.

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