Posted by: littletoe | December 21, 2009

I’m Home!

Approaching the altar

The day I thought would never come finally came.  I really have no words for my feeling about what has happened (which is very sad when you are attempting to blog about an experience.)  In a way I feel like I have discovered my true home and my true family but, since I’ve been away since I was born over 49 years ago, they are all new to me.

I didn’t have any doubts about the faith itself as other converts have reported.   My fears about confession were miraculously removed before the big day and although I was nervous, I was able to focus and enjoy the moments as they passed.  I had a very scary, passing thought the day before:  What if I lose my faith later on?  I will be so much more culpable….

Kneeling while Fr. Dupre chanted "Veni Creator Spiritus"

As soon as I had time to really scare myself pondering that thought, I had a vision of angels and a celebration in heaven over the lost sheep who had been found.  What grace I was given!

Renunciation of heresy and lifting of excommunication

Some people have asked me what my favorite part was and I am sorry to report that it was not the reception of the Sacraments but the act of being received into the Church itself.   The picture depicts me reading a very long statement of my renunciation of false beliefs and embracing the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.  As soon as it was done, I was given a penance, a blessing,  and congratulations!

I then made my first confession, received Confirmation, and the sacramentals that were part of the older Baptism rite—everything but the baptism itself as I was validly baptized in the Episcopal Church.

So that’s it!  I am now able to join my children for Holy Communion and am praying for the day that my husband will join us.

Confirmation

 

 

Posted by: littletoe | October 22, 2009

Meditations on the Holy Rosary

OurLadyRosaryAlthough I have traditional leanings and attend Mass in the Extraordinary Form, I pray the Luminous Mysteries on Thursdays.  I realize it may sound “Protestant” but in my opinion there is no part of Our Lord’s life that is unworthy of our contemplation.

I have been struck lately with how things were not as they seemed at the time they happened.  For instance the realization hit me a few weeks ago while praying the Glorious Mysteries that the Resurrection was not “glorious” at first.  Of course it most certainly is to us now!  But consider that it must not have been too glorious for the women going to care for His body the day after he was crucified only to find it gone.  It probably wasn’t so “glorious” for the apostles trembling in fear to see their Lord come through a locked door, saying “Peace be with you.”

Today it struck me that while the institution of the Holy Eucharist was the best thing to happen to humanity and the greatest sign of Christ’s love for us, it probably didn’t seem that way that Thursday night so long ago.   I don’t think the apostles knew what He was doing when He said, “This Is My Body….do this in remembrance of me.”    This holy Passover meal was the last they were to share with Him.  Their lives turned into a nightmare not long after those words were spoken.

The presentation of our Lord at the temple doesn’t seem so “joyful” to me when I consider the prophecy given to Mary.  I suppose it was joyful for Simeon.  But the mother of Our Lord went away contemplating what the prophecy of the sword passing through her heart might mean.

I wonder if that observation has any bearing on my life now, if perhaps I will be able to remember at difficult times that things are not always as they seem at the time they happen, particularly the unfortunate things.

Posted by: littletoe | October 21, 2009

Happy News!

Pope-Benedict-XVI--002

Pope Benedict XVI

So the day after I publicly consider the official closing of this blog, it’s all over the news that Pope Benedict XVI is paving the way for the Traditional Anglicans to be received into the Catholic Church.  How can I not express my joy?  Maybe I’ll keep the blog after all just to be able to share things like this.

Over a year ago I came across this video and was almost moved to tears by the humble petition of Archbishop John Hepworth to the Vatican.  If there had been a Tradional Anglican parish anywhere near us we would have joined it long ago.  I am glad I am “home” now but I have a great admiration for these people and am happy to be part of the group that will be welcoming them home, too.

Archbishop John Hepworth

Archbishop John Hepworth

Posted by: littletoe | June 16, 2009

Miss me?

I wouldn’t blame you!  I have been considering that it might be time to shut down the blog since the truth is that my conversion is complete.  I am a Catholic—at heart.  I still have not had the status of my previous marriage officially adjudicated, so I can’t “officially” come into the church.  But there is not much to add to my conversion story, except maybe a summary.

Posted by: littletoe | May 26, 2009

Indulgences: A Sure Sign of Error in the Catholic Church

Whose Sins You Forgive 2A friend of mine suggested I write some thoughts about indulgences.  Since the rain is preventing any serious garden work, blogging seemed to be a good rainy day activity.

Before my internal conversion (I’m still waiting for the external, official one) the mere existence of indulgences was proof positive of why a person could not be Catholic and a faithful Christian at the same time.  When I read Martin Luther’s biography I saw him as a hero of the true faith.  As with much of my conversion I discovered there is a “rest of the story.”

Luther’s problem at the time he tacked his theses on the church door was the sale of indulgences.  Most Christian people would agree that he was right about that—even Catholics! When I was Protestant I had an extremely vague and incomplete understanding of what an indulgence was.  Let’s take a look at what an indulgence is.

An indulgence is:  “The remission of the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven.”  —My Catholic Faith, p. 318.  The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus empowered the Apostles to forgive sins.  It stands to reason that they could also pardon the temporal punishment which is a lesser power when you stop to consider it.  As a Protestant, I didn’t understand the concept of the temporal punishment for sin.  I understood that we sinned and that we could be forgiven—completely—by Christ and because of His sacrifice.  I had never considered the concept of a temporal punishment, although I had certainly experienced it and had even commented to friends about the “consequences of my sins.”  It was described to me this way.  Let’s say you hit a baseball through a neighbor’s window.  You go to your neighbor and apologize and he forgives you.  There’s still a problem, though.  No matter how sorry you are, your neighbor still has a broken window.  You need to do something to repair the damage you did.  That something is the temporal punishment.  God’s justice demands that we make reparation for our sins.

It is important to know that in order to receive an indulgence, a person must be in a state of grace.  The temporal punishment cannot be pardoned if the sin hasn’t been forgiven and absolved.  A person cannot have an indulgence granted for future sins.

In order to be in a state of grace one needs to have confessed his sins and to have had a “broken and contrite heart” about his sins in order for the Confession to have conferred sanctifying grace.  (Catholics:  don’t think too hard about that one or if you do, resolve to be ever more contrite!)  If you make a poor confession, the indulgence thing is all a joke anyway.

The Catholic Church teaches about a spiritual treasury that is made up of the infinite merits obtained by Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, the Blessed Virgin’s superabundant merits obtained by her unjust suffering and the merits of all the saints.  Think of these “merits” as currency that is used on your behalf to repair the broken window.  (see Catechism of the Catholic Church 1477, 1478).

As I write this I can see that many cans of worms can be opened with this topic, among them purgatory, the communion of saints, plenary vs. partial indulgences, who can grant indulgences of which type, etc.  I suppose it goes without saying that the concept of indulgences is no longer offensive to me.  It’s simply a concrete way of acknowledging God’s justice and separating the concept of the forgiveness of sins from the reparation owed because of the damage sin causes.

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