Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Friend Request: Jesus. Ignore? Confirm!

Every story needs an introduction, so here is mine. Want to know why I am a Catholic? Well, I'll tell you!

On April 18th of 1991 I was born, and on June 30th of that year I was baptized as a Catholic baby. In May of 1999 I recieved my first communion, and in April of 2008 I was confirmed as a member of the Catholic Church. My family and I went to church every Sunday or Saturday (with the exception of a few weeks, we are only human afterall) and we attended all holy days of obligation. I myself attended every religious education class offered for 12 years, I sang in the choir for 6 years, played the guitar in the choir for 2 years, helped teach CCD for 5 years, joined the youth group for 6 years, helped lead the youth group for 2 years, and assisted in all the church functions as often as I could for as long as I could. I guess you could call me an active member of the church.

I thought I was religious. I thought being so involved in church activities automatically made me religious. I was wrong. One day my friend invited me to her Baptist church to hear her boyfriend (now husband) speak at a service. I am very glad I went, he was an amazing speaker! If only I had caught it on tape... After that service, I realized that I was not getting everything I could out of Catholicism, I began freaking out that I was on the wrong path. I immediately began going overboard, listening to only Christian songs, searching for Bible verses that I would find inspirational, and taking any free literature that they gave out at concerts sponsored by the local church. I was so scared of losing my faith in God that I almost actually considered throwing away my Catholic background and starting somewhere else entirely new. My father didn't like this new plan, and my mother and grandmother both supported me in making my own decisions, but prayed I made the right ones. I thought this was the way to go, again I was wrong.

It wasn't until a good friend of mine told me this over a text-message conversation that I finally understood what to do:
"I respect your choices, but I think you read too much into the faith stuff and get caught up in looking for a bigger picture when you are in the "here and now," smaller picture stuff with your regular life. It's like your purpose in life rather than seek it out day by day, let it come find you."

When I got to college, I had the liberty of practicing my faith on my own. This was just the opportunity I needed to figure things out. I immediately went to mass every week, not only because it was my duty as a Catholic, but because I wanted to. I wanted to listen and hear God's voice. He was calling out to me, but I was not listening close enough, which is how I got to my panicking stage. My neighbor in my dorm I believe was put here for me by God. I was listening to one of the songs I acquired during my all-Christian-all-the-time music stage. She walked by the door and immediately recognized it as "Better Is One Day" by Kutless, so she offered me her ticket to go to a concert (one that I had been wanting to go to for months now) and see them play live. It was with a campus group called Bryant Christian Fellowship, a group that I meant to join, but missed out on the first meeting so felt awkward. On the day of the concert, I stood at the meeting place, watching the new faces walk towards me, introducing themselves, welcoming me more warmly than I could have ever imagined. I met so many new friends at this concert, and for some reason, I was not the shy person I normally am. They were talking to me and I was talking back as if we had been friends for years. They told me about BCF and this organization called Intervarsity, it sounded really cool so I told them I was definitely coming to future meetings. That was the best night of my first month at college.

Yet I was still not completely satisfied. Eventually I joined a Bible study with the campus's Catholic priest and a few other students. I had always wanted a Bible study, but it was never offered at my other church, so this definitely helped. With BCF, weekly Catholic masses, Bible study, and a new prayer group on Mondays, I had set my foundation for my second shot at strengthening my faith.

Now that you are all caught up in my background, we can move forward in my journey as a Catholic girl.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6

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