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.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Catholic Guilt

I was playing a musical engagement recently and between songs told the story of how I acquired a 35 year old Martin Brazilian rosewood guitar. I shared with them how I felt a little guilt for the amazingly low price I paid. Someone from the audience piped up and said “Catholic eh?”

So on the way home from the gig I started to think about this idea of Catholic Guilt and my conclusion is that I am proud of Catholic Guilt!

I never hear of non-denominational Christian guilt, but often hear of Catholic Guilt. Perhaps because Catholicism has moral standards that have been quite codified and turning away from these precepts causes a sense of guilt or shame? Alas, that’s a good thing if that guilt draws our hearts in repentance back to Christ. The Bible calls that godly sorrow.

In our present culture, there is a wholesale attempt to abolish the concept of sin. Sadly, in many churches, what used to be called sin is no longer sin. For example, abortion and same-sex unions had been considered grave sin in every Christian denomination up until 30 years ago. Now there are major Christian denominations in the US (as well as dissident Catholics) seeking to promote and legalize these sins.

Returning to Catholicism hasn’t made me feel guiltier, but has enhanced my desire to please God and increased my awareness of the sins in my life that keep me from Him. I am not scrupulous and any religion wrongly taught could lead to that. Quite honestly, I have been freer in mind and spirit since receiving the sacraments of reconciliation and Eucharist than I have been for 30 years before my reversion to the Church. I am thankful that I feel guilt when I sin because I trust that it is the Holy Spirit that is pointing me back to Him and convicting me of wrong doing. We should allow guilt which is godly sorry to always lead us to repentance. The Catholics have a spiritual exercise called an examination of conscience which allows the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and illuminate any areas of sin which hold us back from experiencing the grace of God more fully in our lives. So when I hear “Catholic Guilt,” I think two things:

To me it points to the fact that Catholicism still stands for unchanging truth and right living according to God’s moral standard. A sense of guilt comes from walking in disobedience.

Christ’s death on the cross was for our sin and shame and He continues to apply His shed blood through the sacrament of reconciliation. He gives me the anti-dote for guilt through sacramental confession.

Jn 20:21-23
He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you.
22 When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost.
23 Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.

PS: I feel a little guilty for being proud of Catholic Guilt......just kiddin'


Anonymous Anonymous said...

To own a 35 year old Brazilian Rosewood guitar - oh the sounds she makes must be heavenly!

My wonderful husband gave me two Martin HD35. They're only 6 years old and ornately beautiful! One was a gift for Christmas, the next one was given to me at Easter. I am so blessed. Unfortunately I don't play them as often as I would like to...nevertheless, I can still hear the deep sounds of my Martin's ... which is breathtaking...

My fondest childhood memories was sitting for hours listening to my father play his 12 string Martin and hear him sing Spanish music. He had the best male singing voice I've ever heard in my life, TB! ... Later, he learned to play classical guitar and took lessons from the Romero Brothers. He purchased a guitar that was owned by one of the Romero brothers which I inherited.

I remember when my Martins and I traveled 3,000 miles in order for my dying father to examine my HD35 Martins -- they were purchased in memory of my father. My husband videotaped my father and I singing a duet together.. And he was quick to state he wasn't impressed with my dear o'l Martin, :( which saddened me. :) I kept trying to persuade him otherwise.. but his first love was given to his Romero classical guitar. I suppose I can't blame him, the Romero's are exceptionally gifted musicians...

The guitar resonates sounds which does something most special for the soul which is difficult to describe... (selah!)

November 16, 2006 12:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the Catholic guilt too, especially compared to the Church of Christ guilt I had growing the CoC, there weren't always clear guidelines about what was sinful or not, and so sometimes I would feel guilty for things which I really didn't need to...and if I asked anyone or wanted to read up more on it, the answer would always just be, "The bible is all we need, read the bible," and certain things just weren't talked about among people, and were left very ambiguous. In the Catholic Church, there is so much I have learned about what is sin and what isn't, it's taught clearly and precisely, and now when I feel guilty I know for sure it's for a good reason!

Vive la Catholic guilt!

November 16, 2006 10:57 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks for that sweet story about your Dad and the HD35's. Two HD35's no less wow! They do get better with age for sure!
I live about 20 minutes from Mecca(Martin Guitar factory) and have several musician friends who work there. They constantly tempt me with prototypes for sale.
The brazilian is actually an employee Martin, a cyustom job that an employee made during their lunch hour when they used to let every employee make a guitar of their own. It has a d35 body and a d28 neck, sort of hybrid, but the sound is unlike anything I have heard. A recording of it is on the index page of my music link.

thanks again for posting

November 16, 2006 3:05 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Hey Steph! THANKS !

I was hoping to see what other converts thought about Catholic Guilt!! Too many folks think the Church focuses on sin to the exclusion of grace, but the reality I have found is that the Church does everything she can to encourage and help people to get to heaven and walk closer to Christ here on earth. That's what the sacraments are all about, empowering us to live godly lives and to become saints. What's not too love eh?

November 16, 2006 3:13 PM  

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