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.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Happy Feast Of Saint Pio!

Today marks the feast day for Saint Padre Pio, a beloved almost-contemporary saint. He died in 1968 and was canonized by Saint Pope John Paul 2 in 2002.

My wife and I went down to the National Centre for Padre Pio, in Barto, PA today to celebrate and ask his intercession.
They were having a procession with his relics, (sadly no exposition of the Eucharist, a long story)
and there were a few hundred faithful there to celebrate his feast.

In his life, he manifested the stigmata, he could bi-locate( be in two places at once) and could read the minds and hearts of those in the confessional. When he celebrated Holy Mass, it would sometimes take upwards of two hours due to his slow and attentive approach to the liturgy.

He also wrote many tips for living a good spiritual life, which I enjoy learning about.

Here's a list of five:

1. Weekly Confession
"A room needs to be dusted once a week, even if nobody is in there." - Padre Pio to Maria Campanile (a spiritual daughter).
2. Daily Communion
"Unless you are positive that you are in mortal sin, you ought to take Communion every day." - Padre Pio to some of the ladies who were afraid they were unworthy of taking communion every day. 
3. Spiritual Reading
Pio urged them to study Scripture and suggested spiritual books from the friary library.  
4. Meditation
"Meditation," Padre told Maria, "is the key to progress in the knowledge of self as well as the knowledge of God, and through it we achieve the goal of the spiritual life, which is the transformation of the soul in Christ."
5. Examination of Conscience
Padre Pio urged two periods of meditation daily, as well as two periods of self-examination: in the morning, "to prepare for battle," and in the evening, "to purify your soul from every earthly affection that might have been attach itself to you during the day."  Each of these periods of reflection and recollection was to last at least a half hour.  
Source: Padre Pio: The True Story, by C. Bernard Ruffin

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Rich Mullins Died 20 years Ago Today

Contemporary Christian music lost one of its greatest writers and musicians twenty years ago. Rich was loved by the evangelical community despite the fact he was quietly making plans to become Catholic.
    We contacted his priest friend to finally clarify whether it was true regarding Rich's pending conversion. This is what Father Matt wrote to us:

Rich, pray for us.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Why Doesn't the Eucharist Change Everyone's Life?

About 10 years ago, I was sharing with a former evangelical church member the life-changing properties I had discovered in the Eucharist. I had just come into the Church and was so excited to experience the grace God has for us in this Blessed Sacrament. He then asked me, "If the Eucharist is so life-changing as you say, why then are there many Catholics who go up for Communion once a week not changed?"

I didn't really know how to answer him at the time but have thought about that question many times over the past few years. Particularly in my own life. How could I have been a young long-haired Catholic kid playing guitar in the folk Mass on Sunday receiving the Eucharist, but smoking pot and breaking the law the night before? Why didn't the grace in the Eucharist I was receiving change me or wake me up to see the hypocrisy in my life? This scripture from the gospel of Mark recently gave me an inkling of an answer to this question.

"A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak,28 because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed." 29Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed her suffering.
30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?"
31 "You see the people crowding against you," his disciples answered, "and yet you can ask, 'Who touched me?' "
32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."

Many were crowding around Jesus and even touching Him, yet he perceived that it was one particular woman's faith that lead to the release of His grace and her healing. The many other people crowding around him that day may have been just "going through the motions" following the crowd that day. Perhaps the grace received in the Eucharist is similar. When an individual receives Christ's body and blood but is indifferent, perhaps not even believing, they are not cooperating with God's grace, and hence will not receive the grace.
As St Paul said, it is so vitally important to properly discern the body of Christ at the Lord's Table. Christ works through His sacraments to the degree that we are open and docile to His work. The saints through the ages have written volumes on how to prepare one's heart to receive the Eucharist. So it comes down to our willingness to cooperate with grace of God. Many receive the Eucharist with no intention of cooperating with God. They may even be in mortal sin, God forbid, as I once was as a rebellious young adolescent. Perhaps they are just going through the motions, like some of the folks in the crowd that day who were carried along by the momentum of the crowd, but weren't sure who it was they were getting near nor understood what He was offering to them.