I am a Christian, who through the grace of God, has had the privilege of having a faith in Jesus, the Eternal Father, and God's Spirit (Holy Spirit) for many, many years. In 1983, I had the privilege of being led by God to join the Catholic Church, where I found a wonderful Spirit, and have made many friends.
In 1993, I embarked upon a "renewal" spiritual journey, because my faith was faltering. This journey will have a lasting impact on my life. I began searching again for meaning in my spiritual life....seeking God amongst the confusion of "multiple religions". My journey began when I started to review religious and "spiritualist" literature. Questions abounded about who is God? Is God really alive? Where was His presence in my life?
After reading many books, including some which one would regard as New Age, I turned to God in prayer, and prayed: You tell me in the Bible that if I seek, I will find; if I ask the door will be opened ---- well, I'm asking: what do you really want....what's it all about?
And the Lord opened the door, and answered my prayer with the following:
For the next week, each morning I would wake up and hear repeatedly an inner voice say: "I want you to love God with all your heart, mind and soul, and love others as yourself".
The Lord was telling me the "heart of His Gospel". He led me to Matthew 22: 37 to 40 which reads:
Jesus said to him "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like it, Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets" (including Church tradition and law).
A couple days later, I received an additional message: "If you must judge others, then judge them through the eyes of love".....for God wants us to look at each other with love and act according to each person's needs. (This message was later confirmed Biblically when I studied Exodus. For in Exodus, the site of judgment on God's priest was the "breastplate of judgment"....over the heart. This is how God wishes us to judge each other!!)
My journey continued.....I asked God to demonstrate to me that He was a living God and that He was active in the world. For I had lost the intimacy of a relationship with God.
Within days, God sent to me a man while walking on the street, who had a profound faith in God. This man told me that he, a divorcee, and his second wife had both been healed through prayer and faith....one of cancer of the ovaries, and the other lung disease.
I thanked God for his revelation and continued to ask for His guidance. One of the great gifts at this time was the gift of "conversational prayer" that was taught to me by this man of faith from the Pentecostal Church. This type of prayer involves having a conversation from your heart with one of the Holy Triune (Jesus, the Eternal Father, or the Holy Spirit). A great example of this is found in John 17 where Jesus speaks from His heart to God, the Eternal Father. Well, I started to pour out my heart to Jesus each and every moment of the day, and Jesus answered each of my prayers, one at a time....sometimes within hours, sometimes many days, even months.
The following are some of the special blessings that he provided to demonstrate to me what He wanted and of His real presence:
He provided me with a group to study the Bible with. In this Catholic Bible study, I was taught that Jesus was mostly interested in our hearts.....whether we are motivated by loving God and loving one another.
He led me to a healing Mass, where I witnessed 40 people being healed, including some who walked down the aisle with crutches held high over their heads.
Twice I heard before the Holy Eucharist, choirs of angels who were giving praise to God, along with the congregation.
He healed me through faith and prayer. First, a lung infection at a healing Mass. Then, of all things, a toothache - in the car (he took away the pain until I went to the dentist....6 months later!!). The tooth had a 1/4 inch hole in it.
One of the special lessons that I was taught was God's definition of humility. You see, I attended the Mass of a woman of great faith. A friend of mine, a woman in her forties who had died of cancer. This lady had an enormous faith who prayed the Rosary daily, who taught others the Bible, who witnessed to others in the hospital of God's love and brought them hope. And she had an enormous love for others....expressed daily through her prayers on behalf others. Days before she died, she told a friend of mine that she wanted to move on, that her immobility and bed ridden state was very boring. She was completely at peace. Well, her death was far from boring. God brought out the angels and His Holy Spirit to meet her. Her Mass was filled with an outpouring of the Spirit that I have yet to experience again. The singing was like that of angels, and the Holy Spirit moved with such love that it made me cry.....not from sadness, but from the feeling of being such a "small heart" beside the "heart of God". That day I learnt "humility" because my heart is but a "raindrop" in God's "river of love". The other lesson: choirs of angels will meet you, if you listen and act on Jesus' Gospel of love.
I have many other stories that have occurred in my parish...of love, of suffering and the many blessings that flow from suffering to those who turn to God in prayer, of healing broken relationships, of people being filled with the Holy Spirit, of a job offer received out of the blue because of prayer, etc.
Why do I LOVE the Catholic Church? Because, I have found the very "heart of Jesus", and the Holy Spirit together with the many gifts of God there amongst Christian Community who truly believe WITH THEIR HEARTS.
ALL of the gifts that are described in the Bible are to be found here. St. Paul describes these in the Bible's Galatians 5:22 love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, and self control. And from these gifts come wonderful relationships and communities where people seek to live in harmony and compassion with one another.
Because I have been given a strong faith through the revelations from God, I have experienced the presence of God's Holy Spirit, together with His love and peace that accompanies those who truly believe. I have seen and experienced the power of prayer and worship through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.
For anyone who has lost their faith, or has never been a Christian, I would recommend that you seek out a heartfelt "prayer relationship" with Jesus. For as I have experienced, by seeking a prayerful relationship with God, by seeking to love one another, by seeking to come closer in faith with Jesus, you will be blessed with God's gifts of healthy bodies, minds, and souls...leading to a better life, relationships, and a sense of peace that is found within the hearts, minds and souls of God's people. And best of all you will have eternal life....in Heaven.
To begin a life with God, all one needs to do is the following....pray a prayer of commitment to Jesus and mean it with all your heart...."Lord Jesus, I come to You and seek Your Holy Spirit of love and compassion. I desire to be saved from a life of sin, to be saved from a life filled with obsession, self indulgence, untruthfulness and harm to others. Please forgive me for committing these sins. With Your help, I will try very hard to turn away from sin, and try very hard to seek Your love and seek to love other people. Please guide me, lift me up, and hold me close to Your Heart, so that I may become one who seeks to love You, the Father, the Holy Spirit, and one who loves others"
Then become a member of a loving Christian Community....one who will help support you in your faith. My RECOMMENDATION is a Catholic Church, for you will, if you associate yourself with loving faithful Catholics, experience some of God's gifts that I have spoken of. These experiences are "freely given" by God. And I am not the only Catholic to have experienced them. Further, I recommend STRONGLY that you seek out within the church that you have chosen, a small group of Christians....a prayer group or a Bible study or a small group that visits the sick, etc. You will find people there, in the intimacy of a small group, who will help you in your faith.....and help you to grow strong in God's love and become wonderful friends.
I pray that your Christian journey will be filled with love, peace and joy....and that you will find the "heart of Jesus", as I have in the Roman Catholic Church.
May the love and peace of Jesus Christ be with you always.
PS...the best gift of all that I received from Jesus in response to prayer: the gift of a "singing praising heart"!! Ask, and the Lord will open your heart to His many blessings.
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