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.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Mortification, Schmortification, Who Needs Lent?

I do for one. I need anything that Jesus offers me through His Church that will help me to die to myself and live for Him. But,

"Many of my Protestant friends are uncomfortable with Lent. "It's all about mortification and self-discipline when we know that the Risen Jesus is joyful and alive!" they say. "We don't need to mortify ourselves to please God. That's why Jesus died for us, so we don't have be 'good enough'. Moreover, Catholics call it a 'holy season' and Paul says in Colossians 2:16-17 that we shouldn't observe any day as special. So hasn't the Church disobeyed the Bible by doing the Lenten thing?" ....... For Lent is not anti-scriptural. It is not something we give to God to earn his love, but rather his gift of love to us which he wants us to share. It is not primarily about fasting. Or abstaining. Or dryness. Or doing without. To be sure, it involves these indispensable things, but it does so as health involves exercise."

The above is from an article by Mark Shear discussing the season of Lent from a convert's perspective. Good reading.

I am so thankful for the seasons that are set aside for us by the Church to grow holier and closer to Jesus. Again, it's another tool that I did not avail myself of as an evangelical. There was truly a tendency to think that these special times and seasons were "works-oriented" Christianity and there was no "grace" in these practices. The Bible talks about fasting in prayer often, so far be it from me to decide: "I am free from the Law and am a child of the New Covenant so these things don't apply."

Lord Jesus, I ask that you would use these next forty days in a special way in my life. Grant me a desire to let go of the things that keep me from you. Give me the strength to take hold of the things that will transform me to your likeness and image.
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.


Blogger Moneybags said...

Jesus's words in Luke 13:3 "Unless you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish."

February 20, 2007 2:24 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Whoa Moneybags!
That wasn't one of the "memory verses of the week" for us as teenagers in our Bible Study.
Yet it is from the mouth of our Lord and God who insists that we do penance. I never did penance or thought about the concept for the past 30 years. It is strangley left out of our modern "feel good, be prosperous Christianity."
Thank God that Lent is time that reminds us of our need to do penance to grow close to God, and at the same time avoid perishing(to quote Jesus).

February 20, 2007 3:47 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

show off! *wink*

Many Protestants see the greek word 'metanoia' as some form of self confession which requires NO firm purpose of amendment. As long as they confess the sin, they are forgiven and many Protestant translations translate that word (penance) as 'repent', which requires no restitution or penalty for the sin already committed. It's a pretty slick way to get around that whole 'take up your cross daily' thing.

February 20, 2007 5:17 PM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

And, lest we forget, Our Lord went away for 40 days of fasting and prayer before beginning his ministry.

I'd say if it was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for us.

Hope your Lent is a time of great grace, TJ.

February 20, 2007 7:28 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks for the comments folks.
I think that I need to consider laying off the blogging a bit for Lent as well because I invariably spend more time writing/researching and surfing than praying or reading devotional material, Scripture etc ! (Though sometimes I feel like it is penance to say the things I say)

Please keep me in your prayers and I will do the same. God bless

February 20, 2007 7:45 PM  

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