Battles Converts Fight, Part III

In Catholic, Christianity on April 9, 2009 at 6:04 pm

Having written two posts on the challenges converts face, I thought I was  probably finished with the topic.  One post dealt with the difficult of not entering the Church, when the coherent doctrine and the richness of Catholic Christianity is so compelling. The other dealt with the unique challenge converts face, fearing they have been deceived (or are deceiving themselves), despite careful study and prayer. 

Imagine my surprise, then, when in the middle of Holy Week 2009 I was struck by absolute terror that perhaps I had fallen into error—a fear made worse because, through writing and teaching, I am pointing others in the same direction. James 3:1 is very clear that teachers will be judged with greater strictness.

I confessed my fear in the Sacrament of Reconciliation that same day.  My penance, by God’s grace, helped me realize that when these fears strike, we must go back to basics.  Psalm 27:1—”The Lord is my light and my salvation.”  Whose cross will I reverence on Friday?  Whose resurrection are we so eagerly awaiting to celebrate on Easter Day?  The Lord is my light and my salvation.

Yet back to basics in no way means “just me and my Bible,” a Church-less faith. Christ’s Church serves as a curb to our subjective fears and feelings.  It is, as 1 Timothy 3:15 says, “. . . the pillar and ground of the truth.”

  • Christ founded His Church.  He appointed Apostles and gave them authority to teach and to appoint others.  That apostolic succession and promise of teaching authority comes right down to today (and beyond!).
  • The Sacraments are not dependent on my feelings or any man’s doing.  Yes, God be thanked, our priests are set apart—called to do a work I cannot do.  But when we are baptized; when the bread and wine is changed into the Body and Blood of Christ; when we are absolved of our sins, God “does the doing.”  It is God’s action, God’s power, and God’s sovereignty that gives grace through the Sacraments; His power guarantees that these signs accomplish what they signify.
  • Scripture and Sacred Tradition are always there to guide us.  When we begin to think, “Did I?” or “Have I?” or “Am I?”, the second word in each of those questions is dangerous.  Go back to the Bible.  “Ignorance of the scriptures is ignorance of Christ” (St. Jerome).  Go back to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  One of the biggest red flags in conversation among Christians, or when musing on something ourselves, is “Well, I think.”  With all due respect for reason and disciplined study, what I think must be congruent with what the Bible teaches; what the living magesterium of the Church has taught and is teaching us.

May God bless this Maundy Thursday to each one of us, and through Word and Sacrament, may the peace of the Lord be yours always.

  1. David, You are so kind to ask (and thank you for reading Christianity Richly). I came into the Church last year, after three years of preparation and study. Thank you for your prayer for God’s blessings. I pray your Holy Week and Easter celebration will be richly blessed.

  2. Welcome home. Are you coming into the Church this Saturday, or have you already?

    God bless you!

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