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.

Friday, August 24, 2007

News Flash! Christians Walk By Faith Not By Sight

Time Magazine has *breathlessly* released a review of a new book on the "true spiritual condition" of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. The news is this: She didn't "feel" the presence of God in her life, and sometimes had doubts, but plugged along in obedience to Christ! For most Catholics and many non-Catholic Christians this comes as no surprise and is well-known as the Dark Night of the Soul described by believers such as King David, Elijah, Jonah, St. John of the Cross and many others. Does it invalidate her testimony? Does it validate Christopher Hitchen's critical writing about her? Nah. I don't think so.

When I had my conversion experience as a 14 year old, I must admit for about one year afterward, I had quite an emotional rush. I do also distinctly remember when the "rush" left. It was sophomore year in high school-1974, I was in the commons area chatting with my girlfriend. I told her I didn't feel Jesus like I had previously, but had no doubts that He was with me. I remember that little tract with the tooty toot train that had Faith as the engine, Fact as the middle car, and Feeling as the Caboose. You had to be lead by faith, not feelings. It was a simple construct but certainly consistent with Christian belief and practice.Ironically, I experienced my conversion in a charismatic type of group but was probably the least emotive person I knew. Just the way God made me I suppose, a little less serotonin than average, leaving me enough angst to always drive me to Him! Well it turns out that many saints from biblical to modern times have wrestled with the lack of an emotional sense of God's presence. Mother Teresa had this persistent dark, dry lack of pious feelings towards God for most of her ministry of more than 40 years! Yet she, kept on trudging along seeing God in the poor but not in herself, never feeling his emotional consolations, but inspiring thousands to walk with Christ. A British agnostic, Malcolm Muggeridge converted to Catholicism after he finished his biography of her as a result of her life and spirituality.

So we press on, by faith. We go to Mass daily, and we pray. We offer up the suffering of our sad hearts for the salvation of souls. We receive Christ in the Eucharist, by faith. We receive absolution of our sins by Christ through the priest, through faith. We walk by faith not by sight.

St. John of the Cross, pray for us that the dark nights we experience will only lead us closer to Jesus.

Mother Theresa, intercede for us that we won't grow weary in well-doing despite a lack of consolations.

Lord Jesus, we offer up to you the sadness in our hearts, our pain, our emptiness, our lonely longing, and all our anxiety. Take them uniting them to your suffering for the sake of the body of Christ as you see fit. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,


Blogger Pilgrimsarbour said...

Yeah, I read a story online about her letters and I said, "What the? This is NEWS to Christians? Welcome to MY world, pal!"

August 24, 2007 9:24 PM  
Blogger St. Jimbob of the Apokalypse said...

I'd actually worry if the secular media understood true faith and obedience without consolation. As it is, they are still in the dark.

August 26, 2007 9:13 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

yeah I feel like most of my life has been a "dark night" emotionally, but I wouldn't trade my assurance that He is with me for anybody, anytime. Maybe that's how I experience Joy, not a laughy laugh kinda thing but this quite deep and constant pervasive sense that regardless of how I feel, I know He is with me. I have attributed it to what I believe is the indelible mark of baptism given to me as an infant, though, I don't expect all to agree with me here.

It seems the more godly one gets the more interior struggles rage on, and of course lest we forget, there is roaring lion who seeks the ruin of our souls.
In the midst of my late wife's diagnosis and long course of living with cancer, I never doubted he was with me, but felt pretty horrible and black inside, most of the time if the Truth be told. God will that I could "touch the hem" of M. teresa's garment regarding her sanctity and living out the gospel.

August 26, 2007 1:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the train in your graphic mislabled?

August 30, 2007 9:24 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

I always heard it was faith-fact-and feeling but the only pics I found were "fact faith feeling" trains.

August 30, 2007 8:20 PM  

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