Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Saint Ignatius of Loyola Founder of the Jesuits


Ignatius of Loyola was a young soldier in the early 1500's who received a severe leg wound in a battle. During his convalescence he had nothing to read but devotional material about the life of Christ and the saints. This led to a conversion experience and a life-long devotion to Jesus Christ and his Church. Seventeen years after Martin Luther posted his 95 thesis, Ignatius founded a group of like-minded men who desired to serve the Church and put themselves at the service of the pope taking vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. This group became the Society of Jesus we now know as the Jesuits. They were great defenders of the Catholic faith and were a powerful force in the Counter-Reformation.
His approach to those who had left Catholicism for Protestantism can be seen in this quote:

“Great care must be taken to show forth orthodox truth in such a way that if any heretics happen to be present they may have an example of charity and Christian moderation. No hard words should be used nor any sort of contempt for their errors be shown.”

I realize his use of the term heretic is now considered pergorative and polemic, but at the time there had never been another Church in town, so to speak, and early Protestants were viewed as heretics by the Catholic Church. At any rate, my point is to illustrate his approach was "in charity and Christian moderation"; something I aim for but am not always successful at. By asking Saint Ignatius to pray to Jesus for me, I will get more grace as I learn to gently promote the Catholic faith. Who better to ask prayer from then a fellow believer who spent his life in defense of the Catholic faith?
As a young evangelical Christian (after I had left the Catholic Church) I was involved in a music ministry with a few young believers led by our pastor's wife. I played mandolin and my brother played upright bass and the ladies played guitar and sang. Thirty two years ago, we "cut" an album in a professional studio that never made it past the cassette stage. One of the songs we recorded was called "Receive Lord." It was hauntingly beautiful but I never realized until recently that we were singing word for word a song based on the prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola from 1530.

Receive, Lord, all my liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will. You have given me all that I have, all that I am, and I surrender all to your divine will, that you dispose of me. Give me only your love and your grace. With this I am rich enough, and I have no more to ask.”

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