One day each and every one of us will stand before Jesus for our judgement. It should be a moment that we are preparing for with the most urgent fervor and intent. After all, this judgement will determine where we spend all of eternity. It will determine whether we live on forever in Heaven with our Lord, or if we will be lost to eternal damnation, an eternity of suffering and separation from God. That should terrify us, so, why doesn't it even seem to be a concern to so many, or worse yet, why do so many embrace the dark side, the side of Satan and a future of perdition. I just don't get it, and perhaps never will. At least entirely, I don't get it, but I can say honestly, that I was in that spot at one point, and am beyond grateful that I saw the light and turned toward it, and not away from it as so many other do.
I have always been Catholic, growing up in the 1970's and graduating high school in the early eighties groups me in with so many others who were very poorly catechized. We grew up in the hippy Jesus phase of formation, and learned that Jesus is our friend and we are to be nice, yes, the Church of Nice was in full force at that time, and continued on that way for many years. I sang in music ministry through high school and most of my adult years with a music minister who preached to us continually that Satan was not real, and denied the Fatherhood of God, introducing songs referring to God the Father as female even. I sang those songs, regretfully now, but at the time i didn't know any better, and honestly, that was my own fault, and so I own responsibility. Yes, i was poorly catechized and exposed to church leadership, even among clergy who taught me heresy, and led me down some treacherous pathways, but I failed to question. I failed to investigate. I failed to learn the why's of the faith, and i just accepted what those around me said and taught. You see, I was blind.
Then something truly remarkable happened. Our parish got a new pastor. Oh boy, the buzz started weeks before he even started and moved in. The word was, we were getting a priest who wore a cassock. I don't think many of us had ever seen a priest in a cassock before, it was that alien to us. Our pastor of over a dozen years was most often spotted with a t shirt and black blazer over black pants or blue jeans. Wow, a priest in a cassock, it was rocking our world! Needless to say, that priest had a pretty rough go of it, and many long time parishioners left. It was an interesting time. That first year our new pastor introduced some different programs and reading materials. One of the first books passed out was Rome Sweet Home, by Scott and Kimberly Hahn. I picked up the free copy, and placed it on my bookshelf at home. At the time I was a pretty avid reader but preferred James Patterson type novels, and the church book didn't seem all that enticing. One Saturday morning I completed my James Patterson read, and had finished up my latest stash from the library. I didn't really feel like going out, and then I spied that church book on my shelf. I figured, what the heck, and decided if the first few pages didn't grab my attention, I would take a shower, dress and hit the library for a new stack of mystery thrillers. I never made it to the library that Saturday, i actually didn't get my head out of the book all day, and finished it the very next morning. When I read those last few words, i sat back and was absolutely blown away. I realized right then and there just how ignorant I was, and just how prideful I had been. I was the epitome of a cafeteria catholic, and I felt ashamed. It was more than that though, i felt robbed. Reading that book and experiencing the passion and love of the Faith that two converts had, and that I never did, really moved me and lit a spark. The Faith was something that had been mine since birth, yet I realized at that moment, i never really embraced it, and i certainly did not understand it as I should. Honestly, the social and musical aspects and groups are what i had embraced, not so much Christ and His Church. So, what did I do? I dove in head first, I read anything and everything i could get my hands on. I started reading books, taking classes both online and in person, and i started learning the whys. When I started to learn the whys, I started to understand God's plan, and my thinking started to change, and I started to accept those teachings that i was had rejected, and honestly thought it was okay to reject. I really did think it was okay to pick and choose, I was taught that was okay. That was a lie though, i lie perpetuated by the Evil one, who I then realized was indeed a real creature, and not just the personification of evil in the world. As i grew in knowledge and wisdom, my passion for God and the Church grew as well; and continues to each and every day!
So, I am so eternally grateful, literally for my reversion. I know that it was Grace, that led me in that reversion and through it my life changed, and with those changes so to did my friends, my habits, my relationships, and my outlook. When I began praying the Rosary, things really began to change even more, and a fire was stoked. Not too long after that fateful day I read Rome Sweet Home, i started teaching Bible Studies, and even began one in my home. I led pilgrimages to Conferences and Shrines. I have been given opportunities to evangelize that not only hopefully is touching others, but has profoundly changed me as well.
This kind of reversion is possible for everyone, we just need that crack or revelation in our hearts to allow just a tiny sliver of Grace to get through. If we are truly open and we truly desire relationship with God, He will make it happen, and in glorious ways. It really is all about choices, and those choices God has given us to make. So. if you haven't been struck with that Grace yet, pray for it. Pray for wisdom and understanding, but know that it isn't easy, this trek to Heaven takes a lot of effort, time and dedication, and it isn't something we can develop just once a week. If we are not praying daily, seeking out Christ's present in Eucharistic adoration, and trying to get to Mass more than just on Sundays, we just won't get to where we need to be. We may still make it to Heaven eventually, maybe, but what most of us don't understand is that we can realize Heaven right here and now. God's kingdom is present for us right here and now on Earth. We go to Heaven when we go to Mass, and we carry Heaven with us into the world if we are truly living as devout and faithful Catholics. It is why, if we all lived as truly devout Catholics we could and would change the world! I didn't know what a fake Catholic I was until my blindness was healed and the scales fell from my eyes, and there are many, many of us who are still blind to their own abandonment of the Truth in favor of our own version, which is absent of God's Truth and will for our lives. And it is leading many to an eternity absent from God's Truth and what was God's will for them as well. Pray for conversions and reversions. Let's lead others to Heaven, even while still residing here on this Earth. It is our mission as disciples, to preach the word, and take it to the ends of the earth, and the depths of hearts so in need of it. Our world is mess, our nation is a train wreck, because our leaders are catholics in name only and blind to the Truth. They reject God and His church and follow their own brand of Church and their own definition of God. Every day, they fall deeper and deeper under the spell of Satan. So many of us have determined to define God for ourselves in falsehood instead of letting God define us. There will be repercussions for this. There will be repercussions for us as well, if we do not try to convert. We are not required to convince, but we are required to inform. That takes great courage; courage that comes from identity with Christ and Truth. Truth will always win, Goodness will always win, because Christ has already been victorious!