Friday, August 3, 2012

Heaven and the Catholic Church


I always regret being too personal on my blogs, but right now I just want something out there--out there as a document about what I think, in case I get hit by a car. And somehow I am more inspired to write this than do my regular Friday morning paying bills.

(Eye roll--I KNOW this is going to sound sooo prudish and arrogant. I really am NOT.)

But I've been a good girl my whole life. I mean, really really really absolutely trying my best to do what was right. And it was and is difficult to do. Just a little example:

During a fourth grade spelling test, our teacher had to suddenly leave the room and another kid (Duane! the class clown) started spelling the words out loud to everyone. My stomach went sour and I was filled with tension for I thought I was being held hostage to this cheating (even though I plugged my ears so I couldn't hear and didn't change any of my answers).

Oh woe unto me! What to do, what to do!?

I didn't want to be a snitch, but then I couldn't be part of the cheating either. Let me tell you--to a fourth grader this was a purgatorial moment. What was right? I sweated it out....

Later when everyone was at recess I went to the teacher and asked her to give me an F on the spelling test earlier. I told her that I didn't cheat, but that I still wanted an F. (Somehow that just seemed right to my immature little brain.) The teacher insisted on knowing why and I confessed for the kid without giving a name since I also at that time though whistle-blowing to be some kind of sin.

I am not scrupulous, but my life is packed-filled with such incidences. I have turned myself in for almost cheating on many occasions, gone back and apologized for somewhat lying--almost lying--well--having the intension to lie and making up a truthful excuse without being totally truthful.... And because of my conscientiousness--- became the most hated kid in school-- I was such a goody-two-shoes.

There are those who enjoy the role of tattle-tale and goody-goody, but I didn't. I really didn't. I hated myself for it. But I loved Jesus more than I hated myself and so I pushed myself into sacrificing my own popularity to do what is right. And I was relentlessly teased and mocked, made fun of and shunned.

Believe me I didn't always succeed at doing the right thing, but no one ever has tried harder.

The only problem was that I was always unsure what was the right thing. So many of my friends and family didn't behave like me. They just didn't see a big deal in little white lies and little compromises with doing the right thing. I got ulcers over trying to decide what was the right thing to do. Who was I to think I was smarter than my teachers, pastors and parents? This was a very huge burden to bear--always afraid, always unsure that you are making the right decision.

You see in this relativistic culture, nothing was really black and white. What I noticed from early on was that it was about how someone felt--their niceness and sincerity. That was the ultimate in righteousness. How someone felt--their sweetness was what mattered--not what they actually did. It was all VERY confusing to me growing up.

I have spent most of my life in excruciating confusion as to what is right, because I was going to do it... no matter if they persecuted and killed me. I would be one who didn't hurt Jesus. While the world was coming apart at the seams and my friends were cussing and being disrespectful to their parents and listening to rock music and smoking pot--- I WASN'T GOING TO HURT JESUS!

When He looked down and cried, I didn't want it to be over me. I wasn't looking for a pat on the back, or even a star in my crown. I just didn't want to add to the pain all around that I knew God was in heaven crying about. Blending in and disappearing was just fine with me. And doing what was right wasn't heaping pain upon the Cross adding to His sufferings. So, life became all about doing the right thing.

I didn't want to leave my beloved church--the Seventh-day Adventist church--but I did--because it was the right thing.

I didn't want to spearhead the Adventists For Life movement and be labelled rebellious and wave-maker and zealot--but I did it because it was the right thing.

I didn't want to home school my kids--but I did it because it was the right thing.

There were many times I thought I would rather die than stay married and even moments of suicidal temptations, but I stayed married and alive--because it was the right thing!

And it has been a struggle of epic proportions for me. It has at times felt like death. I know hell, I've been through it like so many of you out there.... Life can be hell. And doing the right thing also feels like hell. People don't look at you with pity and tenderness for doing the right thing. They look at you like you are arrogant, prudish, mean, cold.... You are hated. And all you ever really wanted was to NOT cause more pain... for anyone....

Then when people hate you for doing what you think is the right thing, you become even more confused because you are not sure if you are thinking correctly. If EVERYONE out there seems to be pro-choice--even your parents and church and all your church leaders (that was the situation when I started the pro-life organization in the SDA church) what on earth makes you think you alone of all these wonderful people are right? You start wondering if the labels people thrust on you are correct. Maybe you are rebellious on some subconscious level?

Then one day.... I began living happily ever after....

Jesus showed me the Catholic Church.

Besides my kids, there has never been such a breath-taking and overwhelming surprise in my life as the Catholic Church. If we have all been mistaken and misunderstood what heaven is....
If nothing is literally eternal...
If heaven is not an actual place somewhere up in the cosmos...
If all  heaven is--are the few years I have had in the Catholic Church, then that is enough for me.

My only wish is that I can see Jesus for just a few minutes face to face that I may thank Him for the Catholic Church and for allowing me to be a part of it. That is all I desire of heaven.--Just five minutes to fall at His feet and kiss them for letting me join His church. And Jesus, you know that I am speaking absolutely from the deepest part of my heart on this one.

I truly feel as if all I have ever done for Jesus, all I have suffered and sacrificed that I might not cause Him any pain has been rewarded. He has let me, just like Moses, see the Promised land--the Kingdom of Heaven and that is His Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

I know I didn't earn it--nor do I think I can ever earn heaven. But I think Jesus looked down with pity upon this little confused girl who had tried with all her heart and soul for so long to do what was right and gave her a drink from His fountain of life.

The Catholic Church is the beginning of the Kingdom of Heaven. It is the first step and I don't feel a part of the world anymore. I have seen eternity in her masses and in her dogmas and rituals and rites. This beautiful Bride of Christ has lifted a tiny part of the veil between the seen and unseen and I have glimpsed the rapturous glories of God. I have experienced the bliss, the unfathomable bliss, of submitting to His will and dying to my own. Thank you, thank you Jesus!

Why other Catholics don't see what I see? I just don't know.... I don't understand. All I can say is that I have dedicated my life to understanding more and more and more of Jesus in the Catholic church. I have fasted and prayed and searched and read and absorbed everything I could--watching and listening to ETWN, scouring everything I can from, reading every book on Catholicism I can and attending daily mass at every opportunity. I eat, breath, and live Catholicism for in it I have found the miraculous. I have experienced a Christ that I cannot describe for words fail utterly to express His Holiness and majesty.

May I spend all time praising Him, for even if there is no heaven except the Catholic Church here and now, my praise to Jesus through His Bride will echo through eternity and my voice will be immortal. Thank you Jesus for the Paradise of seeing You as You are--with no more confusion.

I am home.

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