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, December 17, 2007

The "Christ-Shaped Hole" in Every Heart


My frequent commenter Theo posted some comments to my "Catholic Church-shaped" post. Once again, too rich to leave in the combox. Thanks Theo. I have recently had very similar thoughts when I read the blogs of our brothers and sisters in Christ who have not yet come to understand the Church. I too was one of them for many many years. My hope is that we can say along with Jesus: "forgive them Lord, they know not what they do."
Anonymous theo said...

TJ, PD and all:

As most of us know, there is an old Christian adage that we each have a Christ-shaped hole in our heart. I was contemplating how this truism relates to the Church-shaped hole you describe, when it occurred to me that there is a scriptural basis by which those who nevertheless are Christian but out of full fellowship might still feel a void in the heart--and in recognizing it, I also found some concern for my non-Catholic Christian friends that I'd not had before. To wit: It occurs to me that when Jesus appeared on the road to Damascus to Saul who was persecuting the Church, our Lord said, "Why do you persecute me?" The implication is astounding.

Although it ought to be obvious, it hadn't hit me that there is a sense in which the Church, being the mystical body of Christ, stands in its entirety as a vicar of Christ. To embrace her is to embrace Christ in yet another meaningful way. There is indeed a Church-shaped void in every human heart, because by definition it is part of the Christ-shaped void.

This is why it is such horrible scandal when anyone should lead "even the least of these" astray. It is also why it is a scandal that so many of our fellow Christians attack the Church.

Those who actively seek to defame the Church while ignoring truth (which would otherwise merely be seeking to correct her), risk offending God.

Pray for them that their eyes may be opened as were Saul's. For their sake, may we all be even more vigilant in our imitations of Christ, so we do not scandalize His mystical body.

Speaking as an expert of sorts: as one who has so often been a poor example, I ask forgiveness of all of you whether or not you are in full fellowship. That which I have done to the least of His brothers, I have done unto Him. May the Holy Spirit mend whatever harm I've ever done.

10 Comments:

Blogger tara said...

"Those who actively seek to defame the Church while ignoring truth (which would otherwise merely be seeking to correct her), risk offending God."

Very nice comment--very heartfelt.

"May the Holy Spirit mend whatever harm I've ever done." --ditto!

December 17, 2007 4:37 PM  
Anonymous theo said...

"My frequent commenter Theo posted some comments to my "Catholic Church-shaped" post. Once again, too rich to leave in the combox. Thanks Theo."

You're too kind, bro. God bless you.

December 17, 2007 5:14 PM  
Blogger MMajor Fan said...

Hi tiber. Insightful two posts; I hope many people read them and reflect on them.

Interesting icon of St. Paul. I didn't recognize it as him at first because of the youthfulness of his face. Even when he was young, his persecution of Christians and the zeal had aged him, like a man who had seen too many battles. But an insightful writing of an icon for him nontheless. I suspect if he viewed the icon he would suggest adding some dirt on his hands as reminder of how he fell from his high horse!

December 17, 2007 11:27 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Hey MMF!
Good to hear from you.
Yeah it's St Paul. "Adding some dirt on his hands" great comment.

December 18, 2007 7:39 AM  
Blogger Pilgrimsarbour said...

"It occurs to me that when Jesus appeared on the road to Damascus to Saul who was persecuting the Church, our Lord said, 'Why do you persecute me?' The implication is astounding."

That's a wonderful point you make here, Theo. It really drives home the serious nature of the (fallen) human tongue and written human language, or at least our misuse of these things.

Christ's identification with His people is so fixed that we all should think very carefully before opening our mouths and our keyboards, especially to those of other communions from our own.

I constantly must seek grace to speak kindly to others, being under constant temptation toward sarcasm and a general all-around wiseguyness. (May God be praised that you and TJ are not burdened by such temptations!) ;)

Needed also is the grace of forgiveness from God and from others when I fail.

So like Theo, I confess my failings to other readers and pray forgiveness and reconciliation where necessary.

In any case, may God grant us all repentance in hope in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Best in Christ,

Pilgrimsarbour

December 18, 2007 6:22 PM  
Blogger Joyful Catholics said...

To quote MMfan:
"I suspect if he viewed the icon he would suggest adding some dirt on his hands as reminder of how he fell from his high horse!"

And maybe a bloody nose? I've never seen an icon written with a bloody nose, but if there's ever one of me someday, I'll be the first!

Much to ponder and chew here. Thank you all.

December 18, 2007 11:42 PM  
Anonymous Theo said...

"Christ's identification with His people is so fixed that we all should think very carefully before opening our mouths and our keyboards, especially to those of other communions from our own."

Well said.

I constantly must seek grace to speak kindly to others, being under constant temptation toward sarcasm and a general all-around wiseguyness. (May God be praised that you and TJ are not burdened by such temptations!) ;)

We aren't? ... Oh! You're kidding! What a wiseguy! :^)

Your Bro,
--Theo

December 19, 2007 4:19 PM  
Anonymous theo said...

As PA said so well, the way we treat our fellow Christians should give us pause in how we account for ourselves before God who identifies Himself with them. Yet even on-line snarkyness between and among Christians does not compare with the great scandal of untruth knowingly proffered as "truth" for the "sake of the Gospel."

This past week, I heard a report of a conservative Princeton student being assaulted because of his Mormon beliefs and advocacy of morally conservative behavior. I was outraged along with many others who heard not only the story, but the account that the university had known he had been threatened, and did nothing; and adding insult to injury, did not deem the attack a "hate crime" is it would had the victim been morally liberal.

It turns out that the "victim" had actually sent threatening emails to himself and subsequently banged himself up enough to be slightly bloodied--all to advance his case against leftward bias.

Obviously, he did wrong. Even if we grant that he did bring about an illustration of his campus' double-standard in reacting to threats against conservatives vs. liberals, this misguided young man is to be pitied and his behavior is rightly condemned.

I am concerned for his soul not only because he offended by lying to those who heeded him, but even more so because he did so in the name of "righteousness."

So too, when Christian attackers of another Christian denomination or person or of the Church herself present their cases using unsubstantiated propaganda or ascribe beliefs to their opponents they know their opponents actually do not have, they commit fraud: evil in the name of righteousness. What horrible irony that Satan should tempt us to even imagine using lies to testify to the truth!

May God have mercy on me,
Your servant and brother in Christ,
Theo

December 19, 2007 4:58 PM  
Blogger Pilgrimsarbour said...

So too, when Christian attackers of another Christian denomination or person or of the Church herself present their cases using unsubstantiated propaganda or ascribe beliefs to their opponents they know their opponents actually do not have, they commit fraud: evil in the name of righteousness. What horrible irony that Satan should tempt us to even imagine using lies to testify to the truth!

Theo me bro,

Your statement is beyond reproach, and oh so timely. Having been accused lately on another blog of believing all kinds of wicked falsehoods about Catholics, I come running to you for a measure of comfort. I thank God for you and that He has granted that you should recognise truth, especially as it pertains to human nature and the way we treat each other. I confess to giving in to the snarky temptation over there recently.

December 20, 2007 9:00 PM  
Blogger Pilgrimsarbour said...

Theo,

Sorry, I clicked on publish instead of preview. What I was saying is that I love and appreciate the way you deal with people.

May God bless you as you continue to help lay bare the hearts of those who claim the name of Christ.

In Christ,

Pilgrimsarbour

December 20, 2007 9:02 PM  

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