This letter is in response to your request for evangelization. I don't know if my experience will be of help to anyone but here it is a first Friday and I can't go to Church anywhere so I thought this might be of help to our Lord. God's will be done.
When I actually take the time to look back on how everything started I know that God must have some sort of plan for me. I'm a 42 (almost 43) year old wife and mother of two teenage boys. My oldest will graduate from high school in a few weeks and my youngest will start high school next September. On the 8 th of this Month I will be married 22 years to my spouse. I should tell you right off the bat that I will not use my name or any of my families names and I'm sure you will understand as you read on.
I've always felt close to Jesus as a little girl. I never really understood why He didn't come back and make the world all better. I was raised a Protestant, in an area of the country that was 90% Roman Catholic. My dear mother had a terrible attitude when it came to Catholics. And this I could never understand. Her own mother was raised a Catholic only to be forced to give it up when her grandmother (Irish Catholic) died. My grandmother would always kneel at her bedside and make the sign of the cross when she prayed at night. Once when I witnessed this action and told my mother I was told to pretend like it never happened.
I had a difficult time while a young adult and found myself unwanted by just about everyone. One day (I lived in the Lackawanna, NY area) in despair, for some odd reason I got off the bus at Our Lady of Victory Basilica and had the nerve to open the massive front door and go inside. I remember my prayer to this day. 'Please Lord, couldn't I have someone to love me?" Well, I don't think it was even two weeks later, I met my husband. We met in August, were engaged in December and married in May. He was a fallen Catholic who didn't really like religion at all. I was perfectly content to remain a Protestant. We married in my church, where I taught Sunday school and I never gave it much more thought.
I found out later that he had a very bad attitude when it came to God. When he was growing up in the Church his father would actually get up and walk out when it was time for Communion and let his children go with him. His father passed his sin onto his children.
For his sake we settled
on the Episcopal Church as a compromise faith. My husband felt
comfortable there and they actually looked and acted like a Catholic Church. It was more of an adjustment for me than for him. He felt he had to go even though he didn't believe in it much. I think he did it for our sons and the people were (and still are) very friendly to him. This is something he said he never felt in the Catholic Church.
One day when my youngest
was finally in Pre School and I had some free time. I found a
Catholic bookstore and felt a strong urge to go inside. This was about 1986 and the woman
behind the counter will never know how much she changed my life for me. She told me "I can't keep the books on the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in stock" but she had one left so I bought it, and needless to say, I belonged to Mary ever since. But it hasn't been an easy sell. (My non- Catholic friends still think I'm nuts). I believed instantly! I knew this was My God and My Master's dear Mother and I wanted to share her with everyone I knew. I must have bought every book that bookstore sold on the topic and I read every one and passed them onto my non- Catholic and Catholic friends.
It was a few years later that I actually meet one of my now best friends. She went to Medjugorje and came back and gave a talk. I took two non-Catholics with me. (Before this event I bought a little rosary for myself and was trying to teach myself how to pray it but I was having a difficult time). Well as the evening went on I had a wonderful time. I don't think my friends were impressed but I will tell you something very wonderful happened the next day. My rosary turned GOLD and I still wasn't sure how to pray with it! I made a new friend with that meeting and she helps me to this day. God is so very good to me.
I still had a hard sell with my husband who didn't care to listen to any of this. I prayed a novena for him to St. Rita (she had a husband and two sons like me). However, instead of converting him, God did something else. I really wanted to become a Catholic and signed up for RCIA classes at a church nearby. I managed to get to a few classes but my husband flew into a rage and forbade me to go. I tearfully went to the priest and explained to him my situation. He wanted to give it some thought and came back with a response that I have lived with for sometime. He made me a Catholic in secret. And this is how I live my life. I know that St. Rita had a hand in this. I spend my time alone with God whenever I can sneak away. Please don't try and figure this out in your head because you don't know all the details. I couldn't possibly tell you everything that has lead to this way of life for me.
I will tell you that it is a cross to bear. I can't always get to church and I even must go to Church with my family when they go to the Episcopal Church. I do have authority to do this from my priest and I thank God for him. I was actually lead to him by the Holy Spirit (St. Rita too).
I feel compelled to share how I feel about many of those who are Cradle Catholics. There are far too many Catholics out there who don't realize the privilege that they have been born into. There are far too many Catholics who don't really live their faith and far too many who think that the Church doesn't care if they practice birth control, don't believe in confession, and too many (far too many) who don't believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
I read, I pray, and I wait for God to make His move. I will be held accountable just like everyone else. I go to confession as often as I can, I read the daily scripture when I can and go to Church as often as possible. I know that the warning is coming and I fear for my husband's soul. I will be held accountable if I didn't do enough to save him. But I also know that he has free will and I can't force him. The sad part is we may be running out of time and if I am forced to make a choice I pray to God that it will be the right one. I might have to leave him. The Bible says that He has come to divide families and this just might happen. God's will be done.
I don't know if this letter helps anyone. There is much more to all of this but that would take a book and this letter is too long already. I hope you all appreciate your freedom to worship God in the open.
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