Coming Home

Many years ago, when my children were young, a neighbor invited our family to attend Catholic Mass with her. I must say at the time, my eyes were closed and all my prejudice towards the Catholic faith prevented me from appreciating the experience. Now many years later, I can honestly say that I was ignorant. I was blinded by many wrong ideas about the Catholic church.

Now, I can humbly say I was wrong in all my misconceptions of the Holy Mass and of the Holy Church of God.

What changed?

When Covid-19 forced Christians to stay at home and churches were closed worldwide, I found that my quiet time with God was littered with a restless and wondering mind, and I was sometimes at a lost as to what to study or mediate on in the scripture. I felt a lack of self discipline. I prayed for help. I search and watched YouTube steams from different evangelical denomination, from Dispensationalist with their fear inducing fire sermons on the one hand, to feel good meditative scripture reading with a positive vibe, and to mega churches and their use of contemporary music and multimedia to draw in our tech savvy youths. All these magnified a gap for me. I was missing the feeling of a home, and of being a part of a family.

Writing in down my thoughts and prayers, and asking for guidance, I found I was serendipitously being guided towards books by Catholic writers, live stream of Catholic commentators, and other Catholic YouTubers. I remember my exclamation at the time was, “really God, the Catholic Church!”

I read Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberly Hahns, and although I am not a Bible academic, I understood the issues in doctrine that He addressed along with what moved him towards the Catholic church. I recall asking much of the same questions as I went from one Protestant denomination to another, always feeling something was missing. I could relate to his experiences.

I grew up within an Alliance tradition and returned to the Alliance tradition (when St. Stephens closed), but did not feel a sense of belonging. My own family was divided. My husband and son wanted a church like the Anglican one we use to attend, but this church has long closed. They both loved the family feel as well as the all cultural and socio economic diversity of St. Stephens Anglican Church. For myself, I longed for the feeling of family, and a total experience of worship. I wanted a Church that encompasses discipleship, discipline, structure, history, and true substance. Please note these are my experiences and am not trivializing or criticizing Evangelicalism Christians. My daughter still favors Churchome and their style of sharing God’s words. I encourage her to continue to be a part of Churchome. She is also in a teen Alpha group member of a Catholic parish. In the end, I think what’s important is getting closer to Jesus.

I recently confessed to my siblings of my walk towards Catholicism. It’s a walk that requires acceptance by the Catholic Church, and a journey into a deeper understanding and relationship with Jesus. After much prayer and asking God for signs, and being the proactive person that I am, I looked for a Catholic Church in my parish. They also have a 7 day live stream of their Mass.

I recall my child like “awe” when I heard the scripture at the beginning of Mass, and I recall thinking to myself, “Wow, the Mass uses Bible scriptures!” When I think about it, I can honestly say, “I was so ignorant, what else would the Mass be about if it’s not the Scriptures?”

It was during the Holy Eucharist and partaking in the Body and Blood of Jesus, that I realized this is what I have been missing. For the first time, “communion” came alive for me. After Covid-19 I felt it was so trivialized when I recall one Pastor telling his congregation any carb would do for the Body, and any drink would do for the Blood as long as we imagined it to be just that – the Body and Blood of Jesus. I was quite annoyed when my daughter went to get a muffin and juice saying it was what she was using. I didn’t want to scold her as she was participating. For myself, I felt it was a trivialization of a Holy experience, especially as the next time we had virtual communion, my daughter grabbed a bowl of chips and juice because the Pastor said it was ok as long as it was carb.

I had to put my foot down spiritually, and found myself in front of the Catholic Church.

My post today is especially for members of my family, to understand why I am here. To guide them in understanding that the Catholic Church is a home coming experience for me. I feel I am now a part of a Christian family with members world wide. I share with all of them the same daily Scripture readings, and participate with all of them in the daily Holy reunification with Jesus in partaking in His Body and Blood. It is a family that respects and acknowledges the history of the early church. Moreover, it looks to the early church as a bedrock for it’s faith and commitment to Jesus.

The living Jesus is with me in my daily prayer. I find myself having a deeper understanding of His sacrifice for us as I pray the Rosary. Each day my appreciation deepens for Mary the Mother of Jesus. Just as I have renewed respect and appreciation for all the Saints who have sacrificed themselves for Jesus.

Praise be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

Exploring The Christian Faith

As a starting point, I suggest Alpha. I have taken this course 30 years ago, and will redo it in January as part of my journey into the Catholic Church. It is an awesome course with a limited number of people to maximize on sharing questions about life as well as a journey in the exploration of faith in the Christian faith and in Jesus. Try Alpha | Find an Alpha Course Near You to Try

Different Christian groups regardless of denominations have Alpha courses available. It may take a little research to find one in your area.

For Newbies to the Mass

I suggest you look for a Catholic Church near your neighborhood. A local parish takes care of believers in their area. They also provide programs and charity work for the needy in their area. This is way to support your community.

The Mass for new comers can be a bit confusing and intimidating, but if you prepare ahead of time, it will be less daunting, and you will find yourself having a deeper experience. The Mass starts off with Daily Readings. All Catholics worldwide have the same readings. All readings are from the Bible. Although my parish sends me out a weekly reading list, I also use an app on my iPhone: Laudate – CatholicApps.com, or you can subscribe to a number of Catholic sites (in the U.S.A.): Daily Bible Readings, Audio and Video Every Morning | USCCB.

I am lazy so I like to have these readings on my iPhone. I read them in the morning before Mass. This helps me follow along.

In Canada, the readings come from the The Revised Standard Version Catholic Bible or the NIV, while in the U.S. they used the The Ignatius Bible which is a Revised Standard Version. There are free Catholic Bible apps. The one I use is One Bible. I like this apps as I use a few different versions, and sometimes will read a few interpretations for better insight. If I am online using Microsoft Edge, I use BibleGateway.com.

After the Readings, the Priest proceeding over the Mass reads from the Gospels followed by a short message based on the readings. My Priest always leaves an opened ended question at the end – food for thought. As I am a visual learner, I follow along by using the Sunday Missal, which has a collection of all the Eucharist, special Prayers, etc. for the year. Your local parish supplies this.

To help me understand that I was not the only one looking for home, the program The Journey Home with Marcus Grodi | EWTN helped me when I needed signs from God. I had read Hahn’s book, so watching His interview on this program was an affirmation for me.

Dr. Scott Hahn’s First Interview:

Dr. Scott Hahn 2020:

This is my personal journey. I wanted to share this with my readers, especially my own family. During quiet time this morning I had asked the Holy Spirit for inspiration and guidance. I have been feeling a bit “blah” yesterday and felt I had nothing to write about or share. While I was making lunch, images of my family flashed in my mind along with this feeling of light bursting out from within. I was ready to share with them my story.

Thanks for reading, and God Bless!

(Chinglish-I’ll edit later:p)

Guided Prayers with God

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16 KJV

One of the challenges I’ve had is finding time for God each day. Before our national wide shut down and self quarantine, my daily routine was jam packed with family and work. I am a workaholic (OCD) at heart, often time’s I don’t stop till past midnight. I use to joke to my kids I can survive on 4 to 6 hours of sleep🙃

Where is God?

There are a lot of vehicles that can help with our daily worship – from online bible studies to booklets, to more serious discipleship. There is actually something out there to meet our different styles of learning and lifestyles when it comes to drawing nearer to God.

For myself it’s different depending on my mood. There are days I read and contemplate over Gods word. There are days I watch teachings by certain pastors online. Then there are other days I listen to Christian music. There are some days I feel more needy for God.

I think as long as God is in our heart, He will always guide us as we search for truth, and as we strive to deepen our relationship with Him. Keeping it fresh keeps it from becoming a stale relationship.

These days I use the Churchome apps developed by Judah Smith. I first came across this pastor through his book: “Jesus is ________”

The guided prayer in the Churchome apps is a good way to start my day. For myself, since using this apps, not only does it fits into my zany day, but I find my mind drifting back to God. Sometimes it means exploring and reflecting upon a specific incident or memory that require inward reflection and purification (asking for forgiveness and maturity). Some days I dig deeper and read the chapter related to the Bible verse, or I read the whole book from which the verse was drawn.

Gods word is also an inspiration for my daily living. There is immense joy in His words, just as it can trigger a reflection and inward understanding of “self” (ego). Gods’ word can humbled me, give me insight, and open my heart to His immense love.

Why do I like this apps? I like the fact that I can spend 6 to 10 mins each morning in guided prayer with God. It guides us with scripture and prayer to think and meditate upon Gods words. This apps is able to capitalize on technology and embrace God within our popular culture. It’s tech savvy and easy to use. It is a good vehicle in welcoming and sharing the Gospel with the young. It passes on Christianity to the next generation…

There are a lot of online platforms – online Churches using apps and online platforms like YouTube to spread The Gospel. Some are better at reaching our young children and youth than others. Regardless of our prejudices towards technology (especially us older folks) – our youths are immersed in technology – and the only way to reach them is through multimedia platforms that sparkles with their type of hip and flash.

God bless and thanks for reading❤️I think at the end of the day it is personal discernment. I teach my students to use the shopping cart method. There are a lot of different critiques and “isms” out there. Pick and chose those that suit your personal learning style and mind frame. At the end of the day, God will guide you. Ask for His guidance to help you make the right choices.❤️