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.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I Love Penance!

This week I had the opportunity to spend part of two days in a Catholic high school in eastern Pennsylvania. My friend who is a priest and director of spiritual life at this school asked me to give a short talk after Communion. It was Homecoming Week and they wanted an outside speaker, so in front of 800 Catholic high school kids, I explained how I left the church and why I came back 30 years later. I let them know that the Church they are a part of is an amazing treasure and never take for granted the opportunity to get to know Jesus better through this Church. I got a little choked up talking about it, because I was overwhelmed with the fact that I had not been in a Catholic school since the first grade and here I was talking to all these students who hadn't abandoned ship on their faith and their Church! I was very humbled.
The next day I was invited back to speak to their pro-life group from a Catholic physician's perspective. As I entered the classroom, I saw crucifixes, posters of saints, scripture, textbooks called "Understanding Scripture", rosary beads and a poster of Our Lady of Guadalupe and pro-life banners and slogans all over the walls of the classroom.
Sister Margaret introduced herself and I met with about ten students. I had the opportunity to share with them the Catholic perspective on end-of-life issues as well as my own experience as a geriatrician caring for the frail elderly. The beautiful thing for me is that I had a wealth of information and guidelines provided to me by the Catechism, the writings of John Paul, so I wasn't just flying by the seat of my pants.

So where does penance come in? As I have mentioned before in my blog, when I returned to the Church and went to confession for the first time in over 30 years, my penance given to me was to tell folks that I meet what Jesus has done for me through His Church. These past two days were redemptive for me and God was so kind to allow me the opportunity to talk to Catholic kids about how great a Church they have. In some small way, it makes up for my high school years that I spent witnessing to Catholics to convince them to leave the Church. God is good!

2 Comments:

Blogger Adoro Te Devote said...

AMEN, BROTHER!

My penance after 12 years or so was only a couple Hail Mary's. which I multiplied in thanksgiving.

I just began teaching RCIA, and last night (referencing the reading of the Gospel about Bartimaus), I spoke about this very issue, just wanting to praise God for what He had done for me.

It's amazing how many of us, who have been brought home, forgiven, etc...return to share our stories with others, and our testament as to what greatness God has worked in our lives.

October 26, 2006 10:31 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks for the comment!
I think it's the daily sense of "late discovery" that has us revert/converts trying to make up for lost time. When I see the progress of spiritual growth in my life in 2 years compared to the last thirty(outside His Church) due to God's grace in the sacraments of confession and the Eucharist, I wish I had never left and want to tell others not to.
Thanks again, God bless your RCIA. They are fortunate to have you teaching them.

October 27, 2006 9:18 AM  

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