I have been thinking much more fully about
my personal faith in God. It is a subject that I want to explore in some
detail. So I have decided to write some essays -- or at least some thoughts upon
this subject and put them out there for others to see. To truly love God is to want
to share a little of that love with others, in the hope that it will honor Him. So
that is what this section is about. I ask only that any reader respect my sharing
and take from it, only what I intend. That I -- personally -- Love God -- and
that I -- personally -- Love Jesus Christ. I feel blessed by His Presence Every Day
in a dozen different ways.
I am a Christian, but was born into a family that wasn't
affiliated with any church. I went to Sunday school only when I visited my
Grandparents at a lovely little Methodist church located in a small town. I loved
the music and the feeling of being accepted for who I was when I was there. It was a
wonderful little congregation with many near and far relatives mixed into the group.
I had a very basic belief in God and knew about Jesus Christ, though more the Baby Jesus
than the grown man. We sang the Doxology
"Praise Him from whom all blessings flow, Praise Him all creatures here below,
Praise Him Above Yea Heavenly Host, Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen."
so I had heard of the Holy Spirit, as well, but it was all very rudimentary and my Sunday
school teachers must have offered very benign lessons, for I remember no fire and
brimstone. Sermons must have been of similar impact -- 20 or so minutes to be gotten
through until it was time to sing again.
When I was in fifth and sixth grade in the public school
system in Kansas City, I was assigned to a really good teacher, one Mrs. Garrett, an
avowed Seventh Day Adventist, who, none the less, would have been considered a terror of
political incorrectness by today's standards. She had charge of a large, somewhat
rambunctious group of fifth and sixth graders. She motivated us to learn our lessons
and stay somewhat calm by the incentive of promising to read Bible stories to us each
afternoon, after recess. Now, today, this would no doubt be grounds for her
dismissal, but I guess, not then. All the children loved this time and a few choice
things that she read still lodge in some manner in my memory, though the exact details may
have been fuzzed by time and by a child's interpretation of what we were being read.
The one I remember most is the fact that sinners would be
forgiven as many of their sins as there were Angels in Heaven. After that magic
number, I'm afraid the poor sinner was in deep trouble. I remember wondering just
how many Angels there were and being concerned to stay on the plus side of the ledger.
In the mid-1960s I married my beloved John. He was from
a Catholic background and I had attended Mass, sometimes with him and/or other members of
his family before we were married on many occasions. Especially noteworthy was
Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. I loved the more formal rituals, the incense, the
white robed alter boys, the Latin. It seemed very solemn, very reverent.
For marriage to a Catholic to be accepted by the Church, it
was necessary to go to a series of instruction classes and also agree to raise the
children as Catholic. Since I had not considered myself to be a member of any
Protestant denomination, save a leaning toward Methodist in my childhood, I decided to
take instruction to learn Catholicism and become an adult convert. It seemed, to me
to be the best way of embracing a more fulfilling faith in adulthood than I had
experienced as a child and would have the added benefit of making the raising and
religious education of our future children easier to accomplish.
I completed the prescribed course of adult instruction and
was baptized at Easter time in 1967. Since that time, I've learned the Faith in bits
and pieces. Sometimes making good strides forward, at others falling a step or two
backwards. For many years I was able to rely upon my Mother-in-law for information
and guidance in church matters, since she was one of the more devoted practicing Catholics
that I knew. I find that "the more I know....the less I seem to
understand". This is really a good thing. It keeps me coming back for
In more recent years, the Church has instituted a new way of
preparing converts to learn more about the faith they want to embrace. Now, the
newly baptized can also be confirmed in their faith shortly after they are baptized.
My own journey was much more haphazard than this and took some 33 years to
As part of a special Jubilee Year celebration, the Diocese
arranged an adult confirmation for 79 of us "straying sheep". Each church
with candidates set the criteria for how their candidates would prepare and then we all
convened at the Cathedral on January 29, 2000, a snowy, blustery morning, to embrace this
renewal and enhancement of our faith within the Catholic Church.
It is with great joy that I came to Confirmation in my Faith.
Many helped me to prepare. And for all these people, I am very grateful:
Isabella, Darrell, Father Ken, the wonderful members of my Bible study group and of
the choir and my special friend and sponsor, Betty. Never, have I felt any more
close to these members of my faith family than I did this day. I have tried to
practice my faith with reverence and meaning for all these years and, Yet, my Confirmation
meant something very special and thrilling to me. I thank God for His Grace and will
try to live more fully each day in His Love. And I pray each day for opportunities
to learn more about my faith in all it's facets.
If I could live to be one hundred, I would still only scratch
the surface of the accumulated knowledge available for study on the Christian faith.
Scholars are learning new things every day. It is an exciting time in history
to be living.